Fuel efficiency matters

Gas prices have been increasing for the past few weeks, and according to the experts, there’s no end in sight. The trend is expected to continue into the fall, at least, and maybe beyond that. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can become a more efficient boater and save some money without sacrificing speed and performance.

Stating the obvious: If you back down your rpms, you’ll burn a lot less gas. At the same time, though, it’ll take you longer to get where you’re going. But there’s a happy medium. Pack your boat correctly, and you can save gas but still get a reasonable speed out of your rig.

One of the simplest things you can do is pack heavy things in the back of your boat and light things in the front. That’ll help keep your boat level from bow to stern and put you up to speed quicker. It’ll also let you stay there at lower rpms.

The next easiest thing you can do is level your boat from left to right — port to starboard — so that when you are running your boat it isn’t slipping through the water at an angle, fighting to stay on course. That’s seriously inefficient and burns fuel needlessly.

The one thing a lot of us do that we shouldn’t is carry tackle that we don’t need and aren’t going to use. As anglers we’re always thinking about what could or might be needed depending upon future conditions. That’s natural, but unnecessary. 

I carry a lot of tackle, some of it in my boat and some of it in my truck. During practice for a Bassmaster Elite Series event my boat is about as full as I can get it. But by the time practice is over I know that I’ll never use half of what I’ve been carrying — so I take it out. This lightens my boat, gives me better fuel economy and lets me get as much speed as I can out of my rig.

Your batteries are something else you might want to think about. Lead acid batteries are pretty much the norm for most recreational anglers. The thing is, though, lithium ion batteries are much lighter and they last a lot longer. They are more expensive to begin with but that initial cost is offset by increased fuel efficiency and a longer life. Take a pencil to it. You’ll see what I’m talking about. I’ve been using Battle Born batteries, and I’m happy with them. 

One final tip: The charger on my Phoenix is removable, and I’m happy with it too. It’s not a big a deal to set it up outside the boat at the end of the day, and it saves me a lot of fuel because I’m not carrying the weight. 

One more final tip: If you’re out fun fishing and you aren’t going to put anything in your livewell, don’t fill it. Water weight about 8 pounds per gallon. That’s a lot of needless weight.  

The bottom line is that gas is a substantial part of the expense of bass fishing. (FYI: I buy it just like you do and I pay the same thing for it.) Why make it worse than necessary?