How To Make Your Boat Faster

Pro angler Aaron Martens reveals his tricks for maximizing boat speed and performance out of today's bass boats.
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Yes, yes, the one thing that makes your boat go faster. I've got a 921, 250, the new one that has that new Torque Master. What do they call it? It has the fins on the lower unit. The motor's detuned seven or eight horsepower, but it's faster than my last year's boat, so actually, just the lower unit made it quicker, even with less horsepower.

   The biggest thing that you can do is distribution of weight, in your boat. It is huge. I do have lithium batteries, four lithiums, the biggest ones you can get, 120 amp hour batteries. I can get about 20 miles on my trolling motor out of them, so they're really good.

   If you guys carry those, somebody would want them, but they're awesome. I don't want to talk too much about them, because they don't sponsor me, either, but I just use them.

   But the hole shot's huge with that. But see, I don't have a hole-shot issue, and I don't have much of a weight issue. I carry a lot of tackle. Usually I have 200 pounds of tackle in my boat. It's just extremely organized, so I don't have a 100 of a worm.

   The most baits I have is probably 25 of one bait.  And if I'm catching really good on a bait, I'll bring extra of that bait. But I keep most everything in boxes, and I have a few bags that have separate compartments. So I keep stuff in bags, like stuff that has to stay in bags of cellophane, keep the smell from going out, or whatever.

   But I keep just enough baits for if I'm like smoking them on a bait, like, say a Brush Hog or a Speed Crawler, or something, I'm really whacking them on it, I usually have enough, I can go two days, without having to... I'll have other colors, too, of that bait. So I'm catching them on one color, I'm not really a firm believer of, if they're eating a watermelon red, you know, I can't catch them on a watermelon candy. I still am not that much freaky about color.

   There are usually other colors that work just as well. But I do that because I carry so many different baits. And I know a lot of guys I've seen carry, you know, there are a lot of guys - I won't use his name, again - but he has 100 bags of baits, 100 bags. I mean I'll go pick him up, it's like five, six, seven pounds of worms, just one color. Like a year's supply, a year's supply, and he has like eight colors. And then it takes up a space this big in his boat. And all that, if you wanted to pick all that up, it'd be hard.

   So basically, I think it's about one-to-four, one-to-five. If you have one pound in the stern, it's like having five pounds in the bow. Or five pounds in the bow, the translation is like one pound to stern. So that's, basically, like a pendulum effect, your boat goes flying in the air. And any weight you put past the console's so much more than if you store it behind you.

   So that's how I have, guys have always thought I've had had really fast boats and I've done stuff to them. Which I did have reeds, one time, and I got disqualified. Do you guys remember that? Did you guys hear that? It wasn't my idea, either. Some guy put fiberglass reeds in my boat and I got in trouble for that. Dana probably remembers that. In an Open, I got disqualified.

   But I've never done anything like that, on purpose. My boats have all been stock, my whole life. But they're usually faster if I, especially guys who have the same boats as mine, mine are always faster. But I think it's because I put, I'm really careful about putting everything in the back that's heavy, behind me, like plastics, an anchor, if I have to carry an anchor, in the very back. My weight box is kind of centered. The Phoenix make it really nice, because I have that center, big compartment. I don't even know if I have a picture of that.

   The way I have my Phoenix laid out; it's awesome. I've got these snapper containers, with all my terminal tackle, and it's at the back of the front, big compartment, And then, usually, all the boxes in that front compartment are all my crank baits, top waters, buzzbaits are pretty light, and spinnerbaits are pretty light. I don't carry a whole lot. I carry enough of those to have all the ones I want, which, if I put all that stuff together, it's in the front, past the console, I can lift it with one arm. It's not that much weight.

   But the stuff in the back, it would take me two hands, and I'd be struggling to lift it. It's a lot. All my plastics, all my Senko-type bait. Everything that's plastic and heavy is behind me.

   And that might hurt your hole-shot a little bit, not too much. But you'll notice you'll get a lot more speed, top-end, out of your boat. The boat performs better. You get better fuel economy. Any time you get better speed, you're going to get better fuel economy. But just remember, when you're rigging your boat up, or setting your tackle up, try to put everything heavy in the back.

   Basically, my boat is rigged up. I found on the Phoenix, that the Tempest do run the best. And I've had, this 921 is my second 921, I think, I've had two 721s, I think, the original one. Both the boats ran best with a Tempest. Most of them ran, when running a boat, you kind of want to push, the more RPMs, the better. And they do have a cut-off on them, so you can't really run them too much. You'll start hitting the rev limiter. You'll bump it, it'll start surging a little bit.

   I had my 921, at 78 miles-an-hour, two guys, and a full tank of gas, no current. In Florida, so, almost sea level. But that boat, Gary Claus says it's the fastest boat he's ever heard of. I was running over 80, by myself. It would run 80, but I was hitting the rev limiter, so I never got a chance to put a 26 on there. I had a 25 and 1/2 pitch Tempest.

   But the thing about, if you guys have a good prop guy, up here. Props make a huge difference. I mean, if you're looking for that extra mile or two. Also, it just feels like the boat just runs, compared to a prop that doesn't run, a prop that runs well, it makes the boat, everything about it, better. The way it gets up on pad, the way it performs on turns, it's just that you'll get a crisper performance out of it.

   Having your prop blueprinted will help, always. And I have every prop I run on my boat, usually I have a prop guy blueprint it, make sure it's perfect. And they always find something out of whack on them.

   And I imagine, over the years, if you use a boat for years, it's going to help your longevity of your lower unit. All that stuff is balanced, so if you have one blade that's off a half pitch, that's going to cause vibrations in your lower unit. And could cause your lower unit to break someday. So it's a good idea to have it blueprinted.

   And another thing I do all the time is with the diesel. The QuickClean, stuff, and there are other products out there. You don't have to use Mercury stuff. It really does help to put additives in your fuel, because the alcohol, the alcohol really is bad for the two-cycle motors, even the four-cycle. So using something like QuickClean in it, that's what I use, it keeps your cylinders really clean. It keeps the boat running crisper.

   I only keep a boat a year, and I still use all that stuff. I'm going to take care of them and, usually, by the end of the year, I've got 200- to 300-hours in the motor, and it purrs.

   You can tell when somebody just puts cheap gas in it and has the same amount of hours on it, and doesn't use any cleaner in it. You can tell pretty quick, usually it will have a little bit of sputter to it, or the prop will be black, too, on top of it. I know that inside of the motor is the same way.

   Guys who looked at my motor, at Mercury, they told me my motor, when they have looked at it for some reason - I may have had an issue with one of them - they said, "You're motor looks brand new." They always tell me that; I always run that QuickClean in it, and it keeps the cylinders polished-looking, and shiny, instead of getting that build-up on them.

   So all that stuff does work, because I do put a lot of hours on them, quick. That's all I really do.

   Have you seen that article I did on the waterproofing? Because it works on other boats, too, the way the lids are, and stuff. There's a picture somewhere on the Internet.

   I waterproof my Phoenix to the point where, if I stuff a wave, or I'm in big water, and I have water coming in the front, I have really minimal water get in my boxes. Like none, really. By using some half-inch, foam, work-out pad, high-density foam, that doesn't retain any moisture, and repels it. And then I put weather-stripping around my compartments.

   And the way that Phoenix is laid out, that works perfect. The insulation, I did first, just to keep the lids cool. Because a lot of lids, in a lot of boats, aren't cooled.

   When I go to the U.S. Open, it's 117, 125, and I've got hard baits in there. I'm not going to take a risk they're going to explode, and pop up. So I did that, originally for that, but then I found this weatherstripping, and I put it in there. And it actually bumped against the stuff I put on top, just perfectly. Actually, after a day, it just left a little bit of a groove, where it was sitting, and that stuff compresses.

   Then I found out I could stuff a wave and, if I didn't open a compartment up, where water dripped off the top of the lid, by the end of the day, I could look in there and it's completely dry. And I just stuffed a wave, had this much water in the deck of my boat, and it just ran off, and drained off, like it should. And then I opened it up at the end of the day, and there was no water in my boat, at all. Dry as can be.

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