Loving my new Mercury Pro XS debut

The Bassmaster Elite tournament on the Mississippi River at LaCrosse, Wisc. has been providing additional excitement for two other Elite anglers and me.

Boyd Duckett, Skeet Reese and I will be debuting the new Mercury four-stroke ProXS V-8 outboard for the first time in a pro event.

Mercury chose this event because it’s close to the plant and officials could closely monitor its performance under stressful fishing competition conditions. Engineers knew we would do a lot of running here and encounter a variety of fishing waters so it made the perfect place to put it in play.

I had my 250 horse rigged on my 21 Nitro just before heading up here, and I can tell you I already know that this motor is really special.

And it should be. Mercury has been working on it for five years, and from a technological standpoint, it’s a huge introduction for the bass fishing world.

Naturally, the fishing is the fun part of my job, but I truly enjoy being on the front edge of new product development. There’s nothing more exciting than working with companies to develop new products that will make the sport more efficient.

I’ve been using the motor throughout practice and give it gold stars across the board. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my ProXS OptiMax, but this motor has provided remarkable improvements across the board.

While most four-strokes are so quiet you can barely hear them running, this baby has a throaty sound from start-up to top end – one that bass fishermen love to hear in an outboard.

It sounds like a muscle car!

Also, it weighs less than my OptiMax, is more fuel efficient and I don’t have to worry about adding oil.

Performance-wise, the hole-shot and mid-range power is incredible, and I’ve gained 3 mph in top end speed.

Frankly, I haven’t had time to play with the set-up by experimenting with props and jack plate adjustments, but I think I can improve top end even more once I get it set to my liking.

I’ve also discovered here on the Mississippi another major benefit – the 85 amp alternator.

As you might expect, there is a lot of current flowing through the river – more than I’ve ever seen - so I’ve been running the trolling motor hard. That puts a lot of strain on batteries.

However, I have a Stealth Charging System on my boat that replenishes battery amps off the engine to all my batteries when I’m running. I have a gauge on my console that allows me to monitor battery juice and charging.

With that big amp alternator, that gauge is showing just how quickly the batteries are charging even when I don’t run that far. It was exponentially noticeable compared to my previous Pro XS.

That is a huge advantage to those of us who run 36-volt trolling motors, four big screen graphs, HydroWave, livewells and all of the other accessories we utilize in our bass fishing.

Mercury has really done its homework, and I’m excited to learn other benefits as I see how it performs for the rest of the season!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.