Category Archives: boats and boating

A Good Example Of Why I Have Problems With High School Tournaments

I was told “90 percent of our boat captains are safe.” In a 200 boat tournament that means that diretor knows there are about 20 dangerous boats out there!!

At Lanier the second weekend in November, on Saturday when a clerk at Hammonds told me there was an 80-boat high school tournament the next day I instantly wondered what dangerous, stupid and inconsiderate actions I would witness.

On Sunday I didn’t see many boats, I guess most stayed up the river due to the cold wind.

BUT – I had gone back to Balus Creek to finish up the day. I was fishing the bluff bank past the ramp at 1:00, about 3/4 way out to the point. I had been fishing there for about 15 minutes, slowly working out toward the point fishing a jig.

A bass boat came out of the cove on the other side of the ramp with one kid riding illegally in the butt seat up on the front deck and the other illegally in the chair on the back deck.

The “captain” was at that speed where the front of the boat stays way up, half on plane and making the biggest possible wake. And no way he could see ahead of the boat with the kid up there, too.

If I had been tournament director, they would have been disqualified for illegal and dangerous boating.

They came by me about 100 feet away, rode past me halfway into the cove, made a U turn without slowing down, passed me a second time and stopped on the point ahead of me and started casting. I guess I was fishing where they wanted to fish.

I had to hang on to the butt seat to not get thrown out of my boat from their wake.

I don’t know what they caught, but when I got to the point where they stopped and started casting ahead of me, I caught my third keeper and two 13.5-inch throwbacks.

    I try to support youth and high school fishing teams, but things like this are all too common and make it difficult.  I don’t blame the kids, the adult boat captains drive the boat and make the decisions where to fish so safety and courtesy are up to them. But too many of them are teaching the kids bad habits.

I fear it is “when” not “if” there is a serious problem.



Be sure to buy from a reliable source, not just the cheapest lithium battery. I made the mistake of buying a ECO-WORTHY battery and charger and had constant problems – never worked right. They are sitting on the floor in my garage now.

Why Lithium Batteries Should Be In Your Boat

New Hope, Minn. – Many early adopters of lithium marine batteries have strong opinions. It’s true—a lot of the first products to hit the market were prone to failure, offered questionable performance, and were very expensive compared to lead acid, AGM, and gel cell alternatives.

Despite these growing pains, it seems the entire world has gone the way of lithium battery power. It’s all around us, from inside the computers and phones we rely on every day to medical devices implanted in the human body. Power tools, lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators, and anything you might have in the garage that once took fuel or AC/DC can now be efficiently and safely powered by lithium batteries.

With chemistries changing for the better over the past couple years, lithium batteries are not only being used in our homes, they are the backbone to many mission-critical industries—from medical devices to aerospace. And it looks like the marine electronics/boating markets are next…

If lithium batteries are so great, then why aren’t more anglers and boaters using them?

Many anglers—even guides and pros—have only a limited understanding of how lithium battery technology works and its many benefits. First, potential customers shy away from the price tag, having no idea that it’s actually more cost-effective to operate lithium in the long-run. Amortized over 10 to 12 years, the cost of running lithium is actually less than having to replace a boat’s lead acid battery banks every two to three years.

Another issue? A lot of anglers are still living in the past, and rigging their boats each season like they did ten years ago.

Problem is, power consumption on your typical fishing boat has drastically increased as fish-finder screens have grown larger, brighter, and like technological leaps in personal computing, now operate with faster but power-consuming processors.

Same goes for the progression we’ve experienced with trolling motors, electronic shallow-water anchors, forward-facing sonar, and other imaging technologies and their requisite power requirements. Not only do these technologies require a lot of power—they need a clean source of power with steady voltage for optimum screen resolution, brightness, and on-screen fish/structure imaging. Compare the imaging on a graph being powered with lithium versus lead acid; the difference in picture quality is very noticeable.

Yes, running today’s fishing electronics requires a lot of juice—and you better have it or you’re destined for compromised performance, short days on the water, and sad songs back at the dock.

Battery Types Explained

First, let’s walk through the three major types of marine batteries so we can compare the benefits of lithium to what’s traditionally been used for onboard, marine power.

12-volt marine batteries fall into three main categories: Starting (aka “cranking”) batteries, deep-cycle batteries, and dual-purpose batteries.

Hence the name, starting batteries are designed to start the main boat outboard; deep-cycle batteries are intended to power accessories, electronics, and trolling motors; and lastly, dual-purpose batteries will power both outboard engines and accessories/fishing electronics.

Marine starting batteries allow quick bursts of power via cold-cranking amps (CCA) to turn over an outboard; then, when the engine is running, they provide power for accessories, with battery power constantly replenished by the outboard’s alternator.

A starting battery does not work well in a deep cycle application because of the internal arrangement of the plates and its inherent design.

Deep-cycle batteries—as opposed to starting or “cranking” batteries—are designed to provide lower amp draws over a longer period of time to marine accessories like fishing electronics, trolling motors, livewell and bilge pumps, radios, etc.

*Note: Your outboard does not need to be running for deep-cycle batteries to do their job. They are not replenished in any way by an outboard’s alternator.

In terms of construction, a deep cycle battery has fewer bulky and thick lead plates than a lead acid starting battery. A starting battery has thinner plates but more of them. Operation-wise, starting batteries require ample surface area through which to release more current in a short amount of time—what is required when starting an outboard.

A dual-purpose battery has a mixture of both starter and deep cycle battery plates, and, as is true with most products intended to serve double-duty, the dual purpose battery makes a serviceable starting or deep cycle battery in a pinch but isn’t perfectly designed for either application. The attraction to some anglers to the dual-purpose battery is thinking that, if they need to start their outboard in a pinch, they could start their big motor with a dual-purpose battery that is primarily used to power accessories.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are the marine standard and have been used by anglers for countless decades. Design-wise, lead acid batteries are composed of big, heavy lead plates that are surrounded by acid which is the medium through which the charge travels from one plate to the next.

Prior to AGM, gel cell, and lithium, lead acid was the only game in town. The drawbacks? Limited longevity/charge-discharge cycles, weight, and outdated technology for producing DC current. But the major drawback with your average lead acid battery is you can’t use it to its full capacity, something most anglers and boaters are completely unaware of.

While big, heavy lead acid batteries may give a boater or angler the impression they have a significant power supply, the reality is you can only utilize about 50% of the capacity before you start damaging a lead acid battery. Frequently discharge your lead acid battery beyond 50% of the capacity and the damage occurs rapidly–and the damage is permanent.

The result? Before long, if you’re fishing long and hard, you’ve got a battery that needs replacement. The average life of a lead acid battery for an angler who fishes long days is just under two years. Toward the end of its life, a lead acid battery is apt to only provide 5 or 6 hours of on-the-water runtime, which is unacceptable to most serious anglers.

Lead acid batteries’ power curve – how they discharge current – exhibits a huge voltage drop when you apply a load. The voltage will go from 13 volts into the low 12s, even with small loads, in a very short amount of time. Thus, the battery you started with at the beginning of the day is not the battery you end up utilizing in your boat by lunchtime.

Depending on how you use the lead acid battery—like if you’re powering lights—you’ll notice that the lights dim and aren’t as bright over time. You also see that a lot with trolling motors. As that voltage curve drops, the trolling motor power head and prop will start to slow down so the user experience—even fairly early in the day—is already starting to suffer. Fish-finder screen brightness and image clarity also diminishes as lead acid voltages drop.

Of course, the other big drawback to lead acid batteries is weight. Average marine lead acid batteries weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, while a comparable lithium battery weighs between 22 or 25 pounds.

Absorbed Glass Mat Battery (AGM) Batteries

AGM batteries are an improvement over standard lead acid batteries. They are non-spillable, maintenance-free, and feature separators made of fine fiber Boron-Silicate glass mats between the internal plates. Most AGMs are pretty hardy and will not leak acid if broken and feature a much longer lifespan. However, the lifespan is still only measured in hundreds of discharge cycles, much like a lead acid battery.

AGM batteries also feature low internal resistance so the battery doesn’t overheat even under heavy charge and discharge currents. An improvement over standard lead-acid batteries, AGMs offer a low self-discharge rate, which allows for storing the batteries without a maintainer or charger.

On the downside, AGM batteries are heavy—and they’re not “smart”—so if you’re not careful you can over-discharge and destroy an AGM battery and essentially discharge it to the point that it will not accept a charge of any kind no matter the charger used. It is simply dead and beyond resurrection and you’re off to the battery store to spend good money to replace another AGM battery rendered useless after being accidentally over-discharged.

Gel Cell Batteries

In terms of construction, gel cell batteries are an improvement over both standard lead acid and AGM batteries. Like it sounds, gel cell batteries feature an internal gel within the electrolyte that reduces movement inside the battery case, making its non-spillable design more suitable for vibrations-prone environments.

On the downside, gel cell batteries must be charged at a lower voltage than standard lead acid and AGM batteries. Many gel cells have been destroyed through charging at too high of a voltage with typical automotive-style garage chargers.

While AGM and gel cell marine batteries offer slight improvements over lead acid, there’s a jump in cost. An AGM of similar voltage and amperage of a comparable lead acid is double to triple the cost—and you still haven’t really solved many of the problems with lead acid batteries.

When you then compare the cost of AGM or gel cell to lithium the answer is pretty simple. Don’t make incremental steps in solving problems. Solve it right when you buy the boat. Start with a set of lithium batteries and you’ll find they probably outlast the life of your boat.

Why Lithium Batteries Make Sense

While trolling motors, fishing electronics, and outboards get all the press, it’s the quality and reliability of your boat’s batteries that make all the fun stuff happen on the water. Think that’s an exaggeration? How much fun is that shiny 250 horsepower outboard when you turn the key and, instead of being greeted by the growl of an outboard roaring to life, you are left with nothing but the disappointing “click” of a starter starved of the amps it needs to bring those 250 ponies to life? In that moment, the boat ramp or tournament weigh in has never felt further away, while your boat has never felt smaller due to those uncomfortable stares coming from your fishing partner.

And what role do quality, reliable lithium batteries play in making all the advancements in sonar technology possible? As all too many anglers have experienced after they’ve made the investment to upgrade their boat’s electronics, if you overlook how they’ll be powered on the water, you’re in for a very disappointing first trip putting all that fancy sonar to use.

Fact is: You cannot power three big graphs at full brightness all day with a lead acid battery and avoid the dreaded low-voltage alarms popping up time and time again on your sonar screens. Sorry, ain’t gonna work. Collectively, those big screens simply draw too many amps for even the largest lead acid battery to handle and, if you add in MEGA Live, LiveScope, or Active Target, you can tell your wife when you leave in the morning that you’ll be home for lunch and actually keep that promise, albeit reluctantly.

NORSK Lithium CMO, James Holst, remarks: “With our LifePO4 chemistry, we guarantee 80% percent capacity will remain after 4000 discharge cycles. You’d have to be a retired person who fishes every hour of every day for over a decade to get to those numbers. To get that out of lead acid batteries you’d be looking at replacing your batteries 8 to 10 times.”

“Who wants to spend that much money on a boat and fish-finders so you can fish for half a day? Personally, I want to control my experience completely on the water. Cutting yourself short by choosing subpar batteries as foundational power is ridiculous. After a lot of bad experiences on the water, a lot of anglers are waking up to that and moving to lithium.”

Holst continues: “I’ve used the same set of NORSK lithium batteries in my past four boats: two Skeeters, a Lowe jet boat, and now a Warrior 238, and they still pull like a tractor. I have not seen any reduction in capacity over this time. I fish long and hard days, deeply discharge my batteries, and there’s no chance I’d be able to say the same thing about a set of lead acid, AGM, or gel-cell batteries. I would have plowed through numerous sets in that span of time and had multiple days on the water ruined due to batteries that were no longer up to the task at hand.”

An additional and often overlooked advantage of lithium is the voltage discharge curve of a lithium battery is very flat, ensuring that your first 10% of discharge will be almost the same as the last 10% of the discharge cycle.

Why does this matter? A flat voltage discharge curve means the trolling motor head and blades will turn at the same speed at the end of the day that they did at the start of it, giving you the control and speed you expect from your expensive bow-mount trolling motor.

NORSK Lithium founder and Engineering Director, Derek A., interjects: “With lead acid batteries, as soon as the second and third year of operation you aren’t getting full utility out of your boat because your batteries are only running half as long as they did the year before.”

Derek continues: “It’s amazing how disabling but predictable lead acid batteries are. If you’re fishing like I do and constantly discharging them below 50% and recharging them back up, you probably need to change them annually. That adds up year after year. That’s precisely why I founded NORSK Lithium. As an angler, I knew there had to be something better. So I—along with a very knowledgeable team of other engineers and anglers—designed it.”

Gain Boat Speed

Given the decrease in weight from lead acid or AGM, anglers/boaters who have switched over to lithium batteries report an average boat speed increase in the neighborhood of 2 to 5 mph. Do we recommend you buy lithium batteries for a couple more MPH?  We conceded that likely shouldn’t be your primary motivation. But going fast is fun and, given all the other foundational benefits lithium batteries provide, who’s going to turn up their nose at being able to walk away from the competition at the next shotgun start?

Lithium: Lighter and More Compact

Lithium is also very light in comparison to lead acid, AGM, and gel cell batteries—what typically amounts to about 45% less weight than the similar size group size lead acid or AGM.

For example, a NORSK Lithium 100AH battery weighs approximately 25 pounds. A comparable battery would be a 31 series lead acid deep cycle that weighs approximately 60 pounds.

Lithium batteries often have a smaller footprint, too, which makes installation in a lot of boats easier. With NORSK’s new advances in starting/deep cycle lithium battery combinations, finding a spot in your boat for a fifth battery (frequently referred to as a “house” battery), is no longer required.

NORSK Lithium has done significant testing to design the ultimate starting/deep cycle lithium battery.

Company founder and Director of Engineering, Derek A., remarks: “We’ve figured out which cells can deliver that big, quick burst of energy in the shortest period of time to turn over very large outboard engines. We’ve also made sure the internal wiring as well as all the conductive cells can handle that current. Lithium batteries sold as starting batteries up to this point have had significant issues. If you don’t have the proper internal wiring to carry high current, that power surge can melt the terminals right off the top of the battery. It all comes down to managing the resistance, something we’ve been able to do with our new dual-purpose NORSK Lithium starting/deep cycle battery design.”

Holst interjects: “We took Mercury’s requirements for a starting battery—the specs that spelled out their stringent guidelines and warranty expectations—and used that as a starting point. We have the absolute best starting battery on the market in our 180Ah Starting + House battery and we added a lot of extra capacity to it so an angler struggling to find space for a “house” battery to power their sonar units doesn’t have to tear their boat apart and give up valuable storage space looking for room for yet another battery. Our 180Ah Starting + House battery performs both roles beautifully and frees up anglers to stop worrying about battery capacity and runtime and just focus on fishing!”

Holst continued: “With NORSK Lithium, anglers can uncomplicate things a bit and, in the case of a traditional 36V setup, pare down to three 12V batteries rigged in series for the 36V trolling motor set-up and one dedicated “Starting + House” battery for both your outboard engine and electronics. Our new design has plenty of capacity to run everything all day long. It meets and exceeds Mercury’s warranty requirements for starting batteries, offers up to 1200 cold cranking amps (CCA) and is going to last a long time—10 plus years, easy—or a minimum of 4000-plus discharge cycles. It’s a great solution. Solves two problems with one battery.”

Prismatic vs Cylindrical Cell Lithium Battery Design

NORSK Lithium is one of a few marine battery manufacturers offering a design consisting of prismatic vs cylindrical lithium cells.

What’s that mean?

“Cylindrical cell-based lithium batteries are made up of 80 to 100 cells, usually all spot-welded together—what amounts to a lot of components that could potentially fail,” says NORSK Lithium’s Derek A.

“We went the route of prismatic cells, which reduces the cell number from nearly 100 to four primary cells with large connection points, a whole lot less to potentially fail.”

Derek continues: “Obviously, anglers are attracted to the long warranties lithium battery companies are offering, which is a good thing, but what they’re ignoring is the actual battery construction—internal hardware and electronics that are continually subjected to a violent working environment of waves, water, wind, and cold/heat. Having too many small, weak parts is just a recipe for disaster. I saw this working in aerospace for nearly 20 years. All of the FAA-certified lithium batteries used in aerospace are prismatic cell-based for that same reason. The FAA has very harsh test requirements for vibration, and cylindrical assemblies tended to break down on the test table, whereas prismatic cell battery designs tested much better with fewer small, internal components.”

Buy Right The First Time

If you’re a buy-right-first kind of guy who gets only two years out of lead acid and is tired of dying batteries and fishing trips cut short, lithium batteries make complete sense.

The math is self-evident. For example, a standard lead acid battery costs around $200; quality AGM or gel cell batteries are priced between $300 and $500 each.

While lithium batteries are more expensive ($900-$1000 each), you can buy right, once, making the investment up-front to get batteries that are incredibly light, have a flat discharge curve that provides consistent voltage from sunrise to sunset, offer a lifespan measured in many thousands of cycles instead of hundreds, while offering advanced monitoring with Bluetooth-connected apps, like the advanced Norsk Guardian App, that allows an angler to set up the batteries in the boat in logical groups and monitor them all simultaneously from a smartphone.

Changing Technologies

What does the future of lithium hold? For starters, lithium technology will continue evolving, becoming even more powerful, efficient, faster-charging, and lightweight.

“It would be naive to believe that LifePO4 is the chemistry we’re going to stick with forever,” says NORSK Lithium’s Founder and Engineering Director, Derek A.

“There are other lithium battery chemistries not currently on the market that in testing beat LiFePO4 in every single way, they’re just not commercially ready yet, but they will be. And our marine battery case design is intended to accommodate these emerging technologies. Any NORSK Lithium technician can open one of our batteries and repair or replace every single part in minutes.”

Derek continues: “First, our easy-to-service case design was intended to allow our batteries to be serviced if a component fails over the 10 Year Warranty period. We’re not worried about the cells dying during the warranty, it’s the other parts like the BMS module and other little electronic parts that have some limited potential to go bad. If you can’t open the case (like we can) if a small component does fail your lithium battery might just be junk. Secondly, we anticipated the emergence of better cell technology in our case design so we could support upgrading customers in the future with the latest and greatest lithium chemistries.”


It’s an exciting time in history to be an angler. Lithium has become the de facto power source for ice anglers; open water is next.

As you read this, countless anglers are getting boats ready for the season or re-rigging based on springtime experiences already on-the-water. Many are focused on replacing lead acid batteries for a more reliable experience.

While that’s great, the burgeoning acceptance of lithium power is also allowing the entire sport of sport fishing to evolve. Prior to today’s lithium batteries there is no possible way you could have run multiple 12-, 13-, and 15-inch screens and forward-facing sonar/live imaging sonar with lead acid unless you created a multi-battery grouping of the large, heavy, and outdated power source. Given the space in most boats, there is no way you would have been able to house that much lead acid power.

Trolling motor design and functionality is starting to evolve, too. Not only is the trend toward brushless technology, we’re starting to see the first 48-volt trolling motors and standalone electric outboards powered by lithium batteries–a design paradigm that may just replace small two- and four-stroke outboards. For walleye and muskie anglers, higher voltage bow-mount trolling motors may just eliminate the need for a kicker outboard on the bow.

So, you can start to see all the advancements, both here today and just over the horizon made possible by lithium batteries. The future is bright… and it will be powered by advancements in lithium battery technology with NORSK Lithium leading the way.


When it’s time to start catching fish and taking names, you want NORSK Lithium on your side. We aren’t some overseas battery manufacturer. We are open-water anglers and ice fishermen who traverse the U.S. and Canada chasing the best bites. We make the bone-jarring 50-mile run across big water. We live for the adrenaline rush of a 40-mile trek by snowmobile in the freezing cold just to snag the best ice fishing hits. Our lithium batteries have been tested in the harshest conditions by the harshest critics – us. We push our lithium batteries to the limit because we crave the finest fishing experience possible. No angler should be thwarted by second-rate battery performance. You don’t need to settle for your grandpa’s technology. Utilizing the super-efficient, unbeatable potency of lithium technology, NORSK Lithium batteries reduce cheap knock-offs to fancy paperweights. Every NORSK Lithium battery is built to endure. Our batteries outwork the competition every time. Norsk Lithium powers your passion so you can chase adventure. We personally rely on these same batteries to power our pursuit of an exhilarating outdoor experience. Our commitment to you is the same promise we make to ourselves – we will never cut corners, we will never stop improving our battery technology – and we will always take care of our customers after the sale. Your story is our story. We have intentionally tethered our business’s success to our customers’ satisfaction. Including us. NORSK Lithium exists to power your passion for the great outdoors.

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor Review

I bought a Minn Kota Ulterra self stow trolling motor a few years ago and hated it and all the problems I had with it. So I bought a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor that is manual stow and deploy. It is bad on my back but it has been reliable and I have had no problems with it until recently.

At an Oconee tournament, the steel pull cable broke when trying to deploy the motor. A grove had been worn in the cast aluminum block the cable passes through and had cut the cable

groove in my Minn Kota Ultrex that cut my pull cable

I replaced the cable but it stuck some in the groove and would get cut again so i contacted |Minn Kota. here is part of their response: Hello Ronnie,

this is normal wear from the stow/deploy cable. There is not a way to make this stronger and if it is getting bothersome to the operation of the feature, it can be changed out with part number 2992333 which can be ordered online.

So they know this is a problem, say it can’t be fixed and offered to sell me a replacement block that is the same as the one damaged.

I checked online and found this aftermarket part that seems to solve the problem for about $25. They were very prompt, i received the sleeve in two days!

It was fairly easy to install and i posted on the Minn Kota Owners web page to try to be helpful, several folk there said they had the same problem, but the keyboard warriors told me I did it wrong, even after I posted a link to the installation video on the designer manufacturer’s website showing I did it like they instructed.

Bottom line, I am disgusted with Minn Kota. They know about a problem with their $2500 plus motors that looks like it can be solved with a $25 aftermarket part, but they will not add this to their design. They probably could buy a stainless steel sleeve and put it on when the motor is built for much less than $20.

Traveling Two Thousand Miles In A Week To Fish Lake Seminole and Lake Erie

Two thousand miles later, I know largemouth are biting at Lake Seminole and smallmouth are biting at Lake Erie!

   On a Thursday in Novmeber, 2016 I made the 200 mile trip to Wingates Lunker Lodge to meet Clint and Bowynn Brown to get information for the Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News December issues.  Clint and his son Bowynn live across the street from Wingates and Clint guides on the lake. Both fish tournaments there. Bowynn is a member of the Bainbridge Bass Cats High and Middle schools fishing teams.

    When I got there that afternoon they had been out fishing and had about ten bass in the live well. When they started pulling them out for pictures each held two up. Those four went from almost six pounds to about five pounds. And there was another five pounder still in the live well!

    We went out for a few hours looking at the ten spots to put on the map and talked about how to fish them.  Then I made the 200 mile return trip to Griffin, getting home about 11:00 PM.

    On Saturday Bowynn won his school tournament with three bass weighing seven pounds and Clint won a tournament with five weighing 18 pounds. Bass are feeding heavily at Seminole and it would be a great trip anytime until the water gets real cold around Christmas.

    Friday I left my house at 11:00 AM headed north. I thought leaving at that time would get me through Atlanta when traffic was not too bad. WRONG.  The traffic warning sign near I-20 on I-75 said there was a wreck at 17th street and all lanes were blocked.

    I started to try to go around it on surface streets downtown but I don’t really know my way around and was afraid I would get lost.  Sure enough I came to a stop near 10th Street.  It took me 30 minutes to get past the wreck on 17th Street. And apparently it had caused other wrecks, the police were working four wrecks between 14th and 17th Streets!

    The rest of the 400 mile drive to near Lexington, KY was uneventful and I spent the night at a Red Roof Inn. The next morning I drove to Lake Erie just south of Detroit, another 400 miles, and spent the night. I was within a mile of I-75, I took it all the way.

    Sunday morning when I got up just before daylight the windshield on my van was iced over. Not frost, solid ice. The air was at 36 degrees according to my phone weather report.  At 9:00 I met Bass Elite Pro Chad Pipkins and got my Cabella’s Guidewear, my heaviest winter suit, on.

    Chad said it was a nice day even if cold, and the wind was not bad. We put in at the boat ramp in a cove and rounded the point, and I said “I don’t think I’m in Georgia anymore.” There was nothing ahead of us but water as far as I could see.

    The waves seemed pretty big to me but Chad said it was not a bad day.  We stopped on a rock pile in 15 feet of water and he got on the front of the boat.  Every tenth wave or so broke over the front of the boat, soaking his feet and putting several gallons of water in the boat.

    He said on a bad day every wave would do that!

    We fished for about an hour and each of us caught a smallmouth on drop shot rigs. We then went back into the ramp cove and he showed me all the bells and whistles on the boat.  Pros at that level have an amazing array of extras on their boats. This one had four top end Hummingbird depthfinders on it!

    We took the boat our and I headed home. The boat followed me!  I hope Linda will let me keep it and give it a good home!

    I called and made reservations at the same motel in Kentucky where I had stayed two nights before.  When I got to Cincinnati I came to a stop about two miles from where I-75 splits and goes over the river.  Nobody was going the other way into town. Four miles and 90 minutes later traffic sped up to about 50 miles per hour and thinned. I never saw a wreck or any other reason for the traffic jam.

    Pulling a new boat through all that mess worried me a little but everything went fine until I came into Atlanta. As usual traffic was jammed up where I-75 and I-85 join, even at 1:00 on a Monday afternoon. One lane would stop while the one next to it moved, then that lane would stop while the other one moved.

    Even though the boat trailer has surge brakes I tried to leave several car lengths ahead of me, you do not stop immediately when pulling a boat. At one point the lane to my left was stopped and I was moving at about 20 miles an hour.  Some crazy woman in a tiny red car decided to pull into my lane just about the time my front bumper was even with her back bumper. I managed to slam on brakes and miss her.  If I had hit her with my big van it would have crushed her little car.

    She went about 50 feet to where the lane we were in was stopped, then jumped back into the left lane between two cars as it started to move, almost hitting them, too.  I saw her change lanes like that four more times in the next half mile or so.  She was about ten car lengths ahead of where she was when she first pulled out in front of me.

    Strangely enough, the most expensive gas on the whole trip was right here in Griffin, Georgia! I wonder why.  Long trip, 400 miles each of five days in a row, 800 of them pulling a boat, and I am glad to be home!

My Bass Boats Over the Past 48 Years

 The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

In 1974 I bought my first bass boat. It was a brand new 16-foot Arrowglass with a 70 hp Evinrude outboard on one end and a Motor Guide 12 volt trolling motor at the other. It also had one Lowrance depthfinder, a flasher.  The trailer for it had two 12 inch tires and the boat would run about 35 mph at full throttle.

    I looked at all the bass boats at the Atlanta Boat Show that January and liked the Arrowglass the best by far. It had raised casting decks front and back, a rod locker that would hold five rods and a livewell that kinda worked, if you poured water into it all day.  It was one of the most modern bass boats on the market and when I joined the Spalding County Sportsman Club that March I had the boat with the second-highest horsepower in the whole club.

    That boat had a 12 gallon built in gas tank and you had to pour oil into the gas and mix it before running the motor.  There were padded seats with arms on pedestals on the front and back decks, and two comfortable riding seats were on either side. I added a kill switch, a simple pull cord that turned off the motor if the driver left the seat.

    Eight bass boats and 42 years later, I am thinking about buying another boat. I currently fish out of a 2004 20 foot long Skeeter with a 225 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor on one end and a 24-volt Motor Guide trolling motor on the other. It has a Lowrance HDS 10 on the console and a HDS 8 upfront. Both show details on color screens that look almost like a photo of what is under the boat, and the built in GPS shows me details of a lake and how to navigate. It sits on a dual axel trailer with four car size tires.

    I have had this boat running 74 mph but never run it that fast unless I have to. It has two built in gas tanks that hold 25 gallons of gas each, and a two gallon oil tank. The oil and gas are automatically mixed as you run the boat. Two thirty gallon live wells have pump to fill from the lake and other pumps to recirculate the water to keep bas healthy and lively. Two rod lockers will hold 16 rods – each. It, like all bass boats now, has a built in kill switch and you can not crank the motor if it is not attached.

    I paid $3500 for the Arrowglass outfit. Thirty years later the Skeeter was $30,800 – without the electronics. Those two Lowrance units on the Skeeter alone cost more than the Arrowglass outfit!   I just priced a used 2016 Skeeter that a pro fisherman is selling – for $52,900. List price on that outfit the way it is rigged would be around $76,000!

    Do I catch more bass with a more expensive boat?  NO.  I can go a lot faster between fishing holes, or when running from a thunderstorm, and the ride is much better in rough water. And I can see what is under the boat in detail and never have to worry about getting lost on a lake.  And I fish in much more comfort. But I definitely do not catch more bass.

    The new boat I am looking at is a 20 foot Skeeter with a 250 horse power motor. It has a four stroke motor, just like in cars, eleminating the need to mix oil with gas. It has four depthfinder/gps combination units that sell for about $3000 each!  You can see everything under the water and one of the features shows you a 360 degree view of everything around the boat.

    Most folks think it is crazy to spend that much on a fishing boat, and I agree. But I spend at least 24 hours a month in my boat and having more comfort at my age is definitely important.  Some buy expensive cars. Nice boats make me happy and it is what I worked and saved for all my life.

Boat Fuel Economy

Optimize Your Boat’s Fuel Economy and Range
Advice from the fuel experts at Chevron
from The Fishing Wire

If you’re an avid power boater or fisherman, what truly fuels your passion for time on the water is, well, fuel.

While they are unquestionably the most fun way of getting from Point A to Point B, boats are inherently un-economical conveyances when it comes to fuel consumption. Not only do boats consume a lot of fuel (measured in Gallons Per Hour rather than Miles Per Gallon), they operate in a dynamic environment where wind, waves and currents can cut “normal” fuel economy in half on any given day.

On land, the maximum fuel range of your car is rarely of critical concern — cars are generally fuel efficient and there are gas stations everywhere. Boats are different. Once you leave the harbor or launch ramp, you are generally limited to the fuel your boat carries onboard. On the water, fuel range is the limiting factor that dictates everything — from how far you can run to find fish to how long you can stay out looking for and/or catching them.

There are some simple steps all power boaters can take to squeeze every drop of fun out of their boat’s fuel tank, whether it’s an aluminum walleye rig, high-performance bass boat or multi-engine offshore fishing machine that holds 400 gallons.

1. Always start full. Well, duh…but you’d be surprised how many fishermen try to save a little time or money by not fueling up before each trip. You never know what a fishing day will bring, and you don’t want to have to stop short if the fish are farther away or the weather comes up. Also remember the rule of thirds when it comes to estimating your boat’s range – a third of a tank for the day’s fishing, a third of your fuel to get back, and a third to keep in reserve. Smart boaters who’ve learned from past mistakes know that “empty” can sneak up pretty fast when conditions change, so they keep a good amount in reserve just in case.

2. Lose some weight. Carrying unnecessary weight or having an unbalanced weight load can change the way a boat rides and drastically reduce fuel economy and range. Go through your boat and consider removing things you don’t really need, like extra fishing gear you never use, boxes of lead sinkers, extra anchors and chain, old expired fire extinguishers, and the like. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so it’s easy to see how filling live bait tanks and livewells when they’re not needed can really weigh you down and cut fuel economy.

3. Know your boat’s “sweet spot.” Every boat/motor combination has its own “sweet spot” where it’s operating most efficiently. In magazine boat tests, this is often referred to as Most Economical Cruising Speed. Depending on vessel style and hull type, it may be quite a bit faster than you imagine. Most modern boats/outboard engines come equipped with fuel computer systems, which allow you to track fuel consumption at various engine RPMs and boat speeds. You can compute your Most Economical Cruising Speed by looking at the Gallons Per Hour being burned and cross referencing it with the boat’s GPS speed. For example, if you’re burning 10 gallons per hour and traveling at 20 miles per hour, you’re netting 2 miles per gallon. You might find, however, that your boat burns 13 gallons per hour at 32 miles per hour, which works out to almost 2.5 miles per gallon. At this cruising speed, you’ll get where you’re going faster while ultimately burning less fuel. It’s important to figure this out with your boat loaded the way you normally use it, which might be loaded with a full tank, gear and fishing buddies.

4. Propellers matter. Your boat’s propeller(s) is responsible for efficiently translating the RPMs of the boat’s engine into forward movement of the vessel. There are a wide variety of propeller types and sizes, and finding the right one for your boat may require some trial and testing. One of the key propeller measurements is pitch, which refers to how much forward movement it provides. For example, a propeller with a pitch size of 21 will move forward 21 inches for each turn, while a “less aggressive” 18-pitch propeller will move three inches less. When you consider that high performance outboard engines can run at 5,000+ RPMs for sustained periods, this can make a huge difference. A propeller with too much pitch will make it hard for a boat to get “out of the hole” and accelerate from a standstill. A propeller with too little pitch might over-rev the engine and reduce top-end performance. Either one can negatively impact fuel range and economy. A well-matched propeller will allow the engine to fall within the manufacturer’s recommended maximum RPM range (say 5,000-5,500 RPM) when the boat is well trimmed and running at Wide Open Throttle (WOT).

5. Keep the engine and fuel system clean. Techron Marine Fuel Treatment provides boaters with the cleaning power they’ve long counted on in their automobiles and tow vehicles. The fuel experts at Chevron developed this specialized formula to clean gasoline engines used in the harshest marine environments. When used with every fill up, Techron Marine restores power and maximizes fuel efficiency by cleaning fuel injectors, throttle bodies, carburetors, intake valves and combustion chambers, preventing corrosion and removing gum, varnish and carbon deposits. It also keeps the entire fuel system clean, preventing gunk, corrosion and deposits in the tanks, fuel lines, filters and fuel pumps from interrupting fuel flow and compromising performance. A fuel system kept clean with Techron Marine will also deliver quick and easy starting in any weather, smoother idling and faster response when it’s time to hit the throttle. With a range of economical bottle sizes and a treat rate of just one ounce per 10 gallons of fuel, Techron Marine is a cost-effective way to stretch the fuel range of any gasoline-powered boat.
Doing these things will help maximize your range and time on the water between visits to the fuel pump. It’s also important to remember to treat your fuel when you won’t be using your boat for an extended time. In addition to cleaning your engine and fuel system and keeping everything running like a top, Techron Marine Fuel Treatment provides best-in-class corrosion protection and stabilizes fuel up to 24 months.

To learn more about optimizing your boat’s fuel efficiency and range, while protecting your boat’s fuel system and engine in the harshest marine environments, visit

Boating Safety Violations and Danger

Memorial Day week I jokingly mentioned sitting at a boat ramp over the weekend and watching the comedy show. Too many folks get a boat and don’t have a clue about backing a trailer. And they don’t go to an empty parking lot to train, they wait until they are at a busy boat ramp to cause problems for everyone else.

Some of those same folks on the water are no joking matter. Far too many people drive boats without a clue on safety rules and laws. And boat wrecks happen every year because of it.

Last year I got run out of a marked channel at Lake Guntersville by drivers not following the most basic rule of boating two different times in one day. Both were by boat ”captains” in an Alabama High School tournament.

I was running down the right sides of the narrow channels and they headed right toward me, forcing me to either go to my left and their right, violating the law, or run out into the grass. I chose the grass partly because if I went to their right and they suddenly changed course, I would have been the one in the wrong if we hit.

A picture of a bass boat that had obviously been hit on the port (left) side by another boat was posted on Facebook a week ago. I found out they were running about 40 MPH at night in a tournament when another boat in the tournament, coming across their path from the left, hit them.
Apparently, the young driver in the boat that hit the other bass boat either didn’t see them or didn’t know they had the right of way. To make it worse, they boat in the wrong did not have front running lights.

Front running lights tell you which way a boat is facing in the dark. There is a green light on the starboard (right) side and a red light on the port side. So if you see a red light the boat is going to your left and it has the right of way. The white light at the stern (rear) of the boat confirms this and is easier to see from a distance.

Red and green lights on a boat are like the traffic lights at an intersection. If you see the red light, the other boat has the right of way. A green light gives you right of way, but since so many people don’t know the rules it is best to avoid getting near another boat day or night.

At Lake Eufaula a couple of weeks ago I idled from the campground to the boat ramp in the dark on Saturday morning. A steady stream of boats in the BFL idled from the ramp on my left to the boat basin on my right to get ready for blast off. It took me about ten minutes to make the trip, and about 50 boats went by.

Boat after boat showed their green starboard light to me. Then one went by showing a red light on its starboard side, opposite of what it should be. Either it was installed wrong or someone working on the boat somehow got it changed backwards.

Imagine running down the lake in the dark and seeing a red and green light ahead. The lights tell you to go to the right, justly like in a car on the highway. But with lights reversed it would be confusing.

For years I would go to Clarks Hill during the summer and sleep all day and fish all night for a week at a time. I always enjoyed fishing at night when the air is cooler, the fish are feeding and there are few boats on the water as opposed to fishing on hot days when the fish don’t bite and the lake is crowded.

My bass clubs used to have night tournaments every July and August but several members are afraid to fish at night now due to idiots on the water.

I saw a good example of how dumb folks can be one night at Jackson. I was fishing a point near the dam in the dark when I barely made out a boat idling past about 100 yards out from me. As it went by a spotlight hit the two young girls in a tube 100 feet behind the boat, being pulled along. There were lights on the boat but not on the girls.

A game warden had seen them and put his spotlight on the girls. He stopped the boat and I heard him lecture the adults in the boat about the danger of what they were doing and that it was illegal. He said he would not give them a ticket but they must be safe.

The game warden left, the folks in the boat cranked up and merrily went on their way towing the two young girls in the tube behind the boat in the dark.

The closest I have ever come to hitting another boat happened just after dark at Clarks Hill. I was fishing up Little River, planning on fishing most of the night, when lightning in an approaching thunderstorm made me head to my mobile home at the boat club.

Going in, a small island sits about 100 yards off the bank just above Raysville Bridge. The water is deep enough out between the island and bank to run through there, and it saves a couple minutes off going around the island. Since the lightning was getting closer I was running about 45 MPH as I turned to go between the island and bank.

Suddenly a flashlight came on just feet ahead of me. Someone had paddled a boat out there and anchored to fish in the dark, without lights. I am sure I soaked the folks in the boat as I went by, I could not have been more than five feet from them.

Follow the laws and rules on the water and be safe out there.

Do Not Put E-15 Gas In Your Boat!!

Several new gas stations in our area carry the new E-15 15 percent Ethanol gas. DO NOT put it in your boat – or any other small engine.  It will ruin an outboard motor if you run E-15 in it.

    For years we looked for “white gas” to run in our small outboards.  It ran cleaner but was more expensive.  After I got my first big outboard, a 1974 70 HP Evinrude, I ran regular gas in all my outboards but then around 2010 E-10, ten percent ethanol gas, gas with alcohol in it, was mandated by the federal government.

    Starting in 2004, I was running a 2004 225 Yamaha fuel injected motor.  It locked up om 2011 during a
West Point tournament.  I was lucky, Yamaha repaired the motor for free even though it was two years out of warranty. They got me as a customer for life from that service! I am now convinced ethanol gas broke my motor.

    When 2004 motors were made, ethanol gas was not popular and my owner’s manual said nothing about using it, so I ran it.  Apparently, Yamaha stood behind many of their motors during that time although it was not their fault!

    Now, as E-15 becomes popular and may be mandated by the federal government, we may have to seek out non-ethanol gas for our outboards. It is more expensive, of course, and harder to find, but may be the only way to keep running outboards.

I understand every small motor, from chainsaws and lawnmowers to four wheelers and generators, may have the same problem.

WARNING – 15% Ethanol Gas Will Ruin Your Boat Motor – Don’t Get Confused

Confusing and Ineffective Fuel Pump Warning Labels a Risk for Boaters

from The Fishing Wire

SPRINGFIELD, Va. – Efforts by the ethanol industry to create a new federal rule that would weaken or eliminate important warning labels designed to prevent boaters and consumers from misfueling with prohibited higher-ethanol fuels at roadside gas pumps has Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) concerned. The national recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group recently co-signed a letter to EPA Administrator Elizabeth Dermott addressing the proposed “E15 Fuel Dispenser Labeling and Compatibility With Underground Storage Tanks” legislation (EPA-HW-OAR-202-0448) and urging the federal regulator to side with consumers on its Misfueling Mitigation Program (MMP) to ensure transparency in the sale of fuel to consumers.

“Ethanol manufacturers are pushing to blend more ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. To accomplish that, consumers are not being fully informed at the roadside pump about the type of fuel going into their boats’ gas tanks,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “New marketing schemes to brand these prohibited 15% ethanol fuels as ‘regular 88,’ promoting them as a low-cost alternative and, at the same time, attempting to drive federal rulemaking efforts to reduce and weaken warning labels at the pump is an anti-consumer one-two-three punch that should not be tolerated.”

The proposed rulemaking provides no new data on a theoretical basis to support the proposals to either decrease the stringency of the existing E15 warning label or eliminate it altogether. A 2020 Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) poll shows that only about one in five consumers know that “regular 88” — or 88 octane fuel — has more ethanol (15%) in it than 87 octane (10% ethanol) fuel.

Use of ethanol fuel blends with more than 10% ethanol, such as “regular 88,” in recreational boat engines, motorcycles, off-road vehicles and power equipment is prohibited by federal law. E15 fuels have been proven to damage engines and fuel systems, and its use in a marine engine voids the warranty.

Consumers have indicated the need for a better, more effective higher-blend ethanol fuel warning label design as well as more prominent placement of the warning label on the pump. A recent national poll shows that just 18.25% of consumers think the current E15 label used at gas pumps across the country is very effective for warning that E15 is hazardous to certain types of engines.

EPA has also worked to broaden the availability of E15 fuel in the U.S., including most recently with the 2019 repeal of summertime restrictions on its sale. These restrictions were originally implemented years ago to address concerns over the higher ethanol fuel’s contribution to ground level ozone (smog) on hot days.

“Visit a local gas station dispensing higher ethanol fuels and look for the warning label on the pump,” added Kennedy. “It’s often hidden or buried along with a mountain of promotional signage. EPA should help consumers make the right fuel choice, and efforts to weaken the Misfueling Mitigation Program, such as stripping away label elements that indicate a warning message or exclude mention of 15% ethanol altogether, only accommodate the interests of ethanol producers and harm boaters.”

Boat Trailer Steps

picture of my boat steps

    My first bass boat was a 1974 16-foot Arrowglass with a 70 horsepower Evinrude motor on it. It sat on a single axle trailer and I pulled it for the first three years with my Cutlass Supreme Convertible before buying my first van in 1977.

    With the car, I could back the boat into the water, slide across the trunk and stand on the trailer tongue to unhook he winch. As I pushed the boat back off the trailer I would hop on the front deck.

    The van was as little more difficult.  If I had to back in until the back tires were in the water I would hang on to the rain gutter, step up on the tire then swing around to the bumper. Then I could get on the trailer tongue. I did that through three different vans until I got a pickup.

    With the pickup I often have to climb into the bed, step over the tailgate onto the bumper then onto the trailer tongue.  It has gotten harder and harder to do this then crawl rather than hop up onto the boat deck as the boat slides off the trailer.

    My current Skeeter came with a flat tool boat on the trailer tongue, about 18 inches square and a great place to stand while unhooking the winch. It had one step to the side of the front of the trailer by the boat and that made it a lot easier to get in and out of the front of the boat.

    Recently, boat manufacturers have been putting steps on their trailers. Some have three or four steps, and some have a pole to hang onto beside them. I wanted a set like that but the ones I priced were just too high, many over $400 and that did not include shipping or installation.

    A month or so ago at a tournament at West Point, Donald Wells gave me some business cards for James Hewitt and his Boat Steps. James lives in LaGrange and will come to the boat ramp and install the steps he makes for $250, a great price.  Two guys in the Sportsman Club had him install steps on their boats last month. They were very pleased so last week I called James and he met me after the Flint River tournament weigh-in last Sunday and put steps on my boat trailer in just a few minutes.

    The three steps and pole allow me to hold on and ease up and onto the front deck without much trouble.  I have seen a 300-pound guy use the steps and they flexed very little. The steps are well made, welded and heavy steel. 

    If you are interested in steps for your boat you can contact James at 706-668-3459 cell or 770-854-8713 home.  I put a picture of his steps installed on my boat on my website at