FLW Fishing Report - Buying a New Prop

Murray, KY – FLW Outdoorsman Scott Ellison has some advice on buying a new prop for your outboard.

Scott Ellison here, with the FLW Weekly Fishing Report. Though you might not be able to tell it from the recent weather, spring and fishing season are just around the corner. Even now, a few hardy souls are venturing out onto the lake and being rewarded with good stringers of crappies.

Bass fishing is more hit and miss, and relatively few people are going. But that doesn't mean they're not thinking about fishing, and getting their boats ready for the season. This time of year, one question a tournament bass fisherman asks himself is: do i need a new prop on my outboard?

And I'm not talking about the anglers whose props are all dinged up from running over too many stumps and too much riprap. I'm talking about the guys who, for whatever reason, have doubts about the performance that their factory-installed props deliver. It's a legitimate concern; after all, the shotgun you buy off the rack can't be expected to be as efficient as one that you have custom-fitted to you.

Unless you choose another prop as an option on a new outfit, the prop that comes on the outboard is one that will perform well for most needs, but not necessarily perform the best for your needs. Would a three-blade or a four-blade work better? What's the right pitch and configuration for the horsepower you're running and the size and weight of the high-performance boat you're running? How important is the hole shot compared to, say, top-end performance and getting down the lake ahead of everybody else?

Those are good, important questions, but you shouldn't rely on the advice of your buddies to make a buying decision. Experience is a good teacher. But unless they've got exactly the same boat and motor as you and have identical engine mounting, they weigh about the same and carry about the same weight in tackle and extras as you when they head out for a day of fishing, it's apples and oranges.

Instead, do some research. Contact the dealer who sold you the boat and ask him for suggestions. Go to the websites of various outboard manufacturers and see what they have to say about the props that they sell and recommend. Even better, contact the boat manufacturer. Trust me, companies that make and sell high-performance boats experiment with various motors and props all the time because products change. So manufacturers have to keep checking various combinations because how well boats, motors and props work together helps determine how successful boat sales will be. Once you've compiled enough information from various sources on boat props, act on what you've found out. Shop smart. Besides, it might be that you discover you don't need another boat prop after all. The one you've got provides the best of all possible performance capabilities.

In which case, you'll have more money to buy fishing tackle, and that's always a good thing.

This is Scott Ellison, signing off for FLW. May the fish be biting the next time you head out on the water.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW College Fishing Promotions Manager.