Ask any touring pro if a hydraulic jackplate is worth the money, and I’d bet their answer would be an emphatic “yes!” On the Bassmaster Elite Series, they’re considered essential equipment … for multiple reasons.
Although they may be a bit pricey, hydraulic jackplates can vastly improve the performance of your bass boat — both at the top end and in the ability to run shallower at low or high speeds. They can even improve the ride.
A simple touch of a lever or toggle switch allows the operator to raise or lower the outboard engine while under power, at any speed. Combine that with the engine’s power trim and you’ll realize advantages beyond the obvious.
Skinny as she goes
Consider bedding season when, on some lakes and rivers, you’re dealing with vast, shallow flats — places where the fish may concentrate only in small areas.
Covering water is required to find those fish, and using a trolling motor to do it can be tedious and time consuming. Idling with the main engine makes much more sense. But without a jackplate, you would have to trim the engine up, which squats the stern and bogs the engine down, making maneuvering much more difficult … not to mention the added disturbance it causes in situations requiring stealth.
With a hydraulic jackplate, you can raise the engine up high and adjust the trim to give the boat a flatter attitude. This not only improves maneuverability, it allows you to increase idle speed to cover more water while creating less disturbance.