Don’t go overboard paying gas prices
Don’t let the rising price of a gallon of gas stop you from using your boat this year. Savvy boaters have learned a lot over the years about reducing fuel costs.
Hopefully, the suggestions below will help save you a few dollars.
Try fishing with a friend. The reasoning is simple. One angler pays all fuel costs. Two share it 50-50. And with a third fisherman, the cost is split three ways.
Long runs waste fuel and reduce fishing time; therefore, select a launch site near the area you plan to fish. If your boat gets three miles per gallon at cruising speed, it costs $1.33 (excluding the cost of oil) to go one mile when gas is $4 a gallon.
To reduce gas usage, plane the boat as quickly as practical. The longer it takes to reach planing speed, the more fuel a big engine will guzzle. Once on plane, optimize fuel consumption and speed by trimming the motor and tabs, if your boat is so equipped. Boaters who do not have trim tabs often opt to install a hydrofoil to the motor’s cavitation plate. This wing-like addition allows the boat to stay on plane at lower speeds and improves gas mileage.
A clean hull bottom will result in improved handling performance and better fuel economy. Make certain the underside of your vessel is free of algae. If you keep your boat in the water, use a premium bottom racing paint to help impede growth and keep the bottom slick and smooth. Waxing the bottom of an unpainted fiberglass hull will also improve gas mileage and handling.
Reduce cruising speed. Every boat is different, but for optimum fuel consumption, the motor should turn at 60 to 80 percent of its maximum rotations per minute capability.
When towing a boat, make certain that vehicle and trailer tires are properly inflated and that the vehicle’s overdrive feature is turned off.
Other gas-saving tips from Gus
• Don’t let the motor idle when tied at a dock or when anchored.
• When slow trolling, use an electric motor.
• Have your propeller rebuilt or replaced if bent, nicked or chipped.
• Reduce boat weight by removing all non-essential gear.
• Save as much as $0.50 per gallon by filling a gas can and taking it to the boat.
Hot spot of the week
Crappie are hitting small jigs and minnows in shallow water.
White perch are being taken by drifting minnows and bouncing Sabiki rigs off the bottom in 15 to 30 feet.
Bass fishing is very good around docks and brush.
The surface water temperature varies by location, but is mainly in the 60s and 70s in open waters not affected by power generation. The water level is about 2.7 feet below full pond on Lake Norman.
Capt. Gus Gustafson, of Lake Norman Ventures, is a full-time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Details: 704-617-6812 or www.Fishingwithgus.com.