Running Too Shallow
are two things that will help put an end to shallow water boats. People
that run without clear clean water in their prop wash, and those that dig
their boat out of shallow water with pure horsepower. Boats that run with
mud in their prop wash or dig their way out on takeoffs are scarring the
bottom and destroying sea grass.
One way to judge water depth is how much of the crab traps are visible.
A little darker or greener water is a good indicator of deeper water. While
running your boat if a mud trail is visible in the prop wash, move to deeper
water. Chances are the water is too shallow to hold fish anyway. Try drifting
or poling out to an area where your boat will jump up quickly and do minimal
damage to the bottom.
Staying Dry in Rough Water
There are several ways to run your flat bottom boat to stay dry. On
one occasion during a hard blowing southeast wind a friend wanted to cross
to the leeward side of the bay. He was concerned about the rough wet ride
across the bay. Taking a line changing from a quarter into and a quarter
with the waves I was able to cross the bay very comfortably and dry. This
takes a little experience but is well worth the time and effort to learn.
It took a few minutes longer but we stayed dry. Learn what angles of attack
your boat likes and use it to your advantage.
plate allows you to raise and lower the engine vertically. At the dock the
engine can be lowered to help with control. Raising the engine vertically
lets the boat run shallower. It can also be lowered while running choppy
water to increase the angle of trim to help raise the bow. By raising the
engine, fuel efficiency and speed will increase. Raising the engine to high
when not necessary, will decrease speed and fuel efficiency. Find the sweet
spot for your particular set up.
during a duck hunting trip we were caught in Power Lake near Port O'Connor,
Texas by a norther. Running the windward side of the bay near the shoreline
we stayed dry and safe. Crossing the channel of the Matagorda Island State
Park, a deep-v boat came out of the harbor and headed straight across the
bay. Miles later, reaching Fisherman's Cut near the ramp, the deep-v was
only a hundred yards in front of us. I'm glad I was not on that ride!
Run Shallow, Run Cautious
Be aware of other boats and fishermen while running the shoreline.
If you see a boat anchored locate the people fishing and avoid them. If
they are wading out and fishing away from the shore it should not be a problem
to run between them and the shore. Above all you should give them a wide
berth! Any doubt swing out and go around. Be courteous!
Finding the Sweet Spot
My friend Dale and I left Charlie's (between POC and Seadrift) and
headed for South Pass during a strong north east wind. After running out
far enough that South Pass was directly down wind we turned. Dale kept saying
we were running too fast. After finding the sweet spot the boat started
lying softly on the next wave. Dale and I settled back for a nice dry ride
running at optimal speed.
Try different speeds, trim, and angle of attack while operating your
boat. The same trim, angle of attack, and speed may not give you the same
ride an hour later. As your experience grows finding the sweet spot will
take less time.
There's much to learn to properly, and responsibly, operate a flats boat,
because there will be many different conditions and situations one will
encounter over time. Lessons can come at you fast in shallow water. Just
remember to always use common sense, courtesy and caution.
Forest Canion is owner of Marine Service - manufacturer
of Flatlander Boats, including the popular Chiquita flats boat. Marine Service
is located in Port Lavaca, Texas. www.flatlanderboats.com. 361-552-4975
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