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Frisbie385

Covering New Territory

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About a month ago I upgraded my 98 Tracker to a 2013 Nitro Z7 and last weekend I finally made the trip to Smithville lake about 20 min north of Kansas City. I never took the Tracker there because of the rougher water on the main channel and the sheer size of this lake. Towards the end of the day I was fishing a very small cove right off the main channel at the north end with several submerged trees and stumps. I got far enough outside of the cove with the trolling motor to where I thought I was safe to lower the big motor and idle further out. Well that was not the case. The boat raised up slightly and I could feel the stump on the hull and my then lower unit clipped it as I went by. I got the boat out of the water on the trailer and confirmed that there was no damage done at all. When idling the boat runs between 3-4mph.

My question to all you experienced guys is how do you typically approach a new body of water and finding out where you should and should not use the large motor? We pretty much stayed on the main channel and fished the points but only covered maybe 25% of the lake. There were a ton of great looking spots that I would love to get to and fish (far north and southeast) but I would only feel comfortable using the trolling motor to get to. Some of these spots that I would like to go I watched guys hauling a$$ doing over 45mph flying up the channels with trees all over. Just curious as how you get comfortable enough to zip between trees? My thought is that if you trolled the path once you may have barely missed something submerged and they second time through you may be off your original path just a tad and smash something.

Finally I know these boats are designed somewhat to bump into things under water but how serious is it if you are idling with the big motor? Has anyone ever severely damaged their boat while idling with the big motor?

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Map study and GPS with emphases on GPS. I'm not familiar with your lakes but you can probably get a chip/download in a GPS unit that will show detail, including depth charts. GPS has saved my a$$ many times but I still learn to navigate using the brail system from time to time. When you travel to new lakes that is the gamble you take, but GPS is a large help. I even have a unit in my pontoon boat and would not feel safe without one, on any outboard powered boat. It has been my experience that the detail in these units is very accurate.

Idle speed damage is usually not severe but it depends on what you hit and where you hit. Rocks are harder than fiberglass or aluminum, or stainless steel for that matter. It you find yourself in that shallow water trimming the motor up can help, but you still have to keep the foot in the water. It really is just a learning curve everyone must experience.

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I have a small handheld gps that I use to "re-trace" my tracks back out of shallows and to the ramp. Which works well as I didnt have a gps mounted on the boat, I do now. The only way to feel confident is to go there and go there often, and learn whats safe and what isnt. Living down south you have alot of tree stumps to deal with in those "impoundments" being flooded, and Im sure thats no fun, especially with a new glass rig. I have a deep v tracker, and up here its boulders that mainly get in the way.,..they dont budge at all. Not many skegs are perfectly clean and straight up here unless the owner is a seasoned angler. Just be careful till you know where you are, and where your going,  Lake depth maps will help, but they usually dont show stumps, unless its a full on field of them. Keep fishing,.. not in fear but in caution.

Take care, and enjoy that new rig!

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16 hours ago, Al Wolbach said:

Map study and GPS with emphases on GPS. I'm not familiar with your lakes but you can probably get a chip/download in a GPS unit that will show detail, including depth charts. GPS has saved my a$$ many times but I still learn to navigate using the brail system from time to time. When you travel to new lakes that is the gamble you take, but GPS is a large help. I even have a unit in my pontoon boat and would not feel safe without one, on any outboard powered boat. It has been my experience that the detail in these units is very accurate.

Idle speed damage is usually not severe but it depends on what you hit and where you hit. Rocks are harder than fiberglass or aluminum, or stainless steel for that matter. It you find yourself in that shallow water trimming the motor up can help, but you still have to keep the foot in the water. It really is just a learning curve everyone must experience.

X2.

i rely heavily on my hot maps using my Lowrance and any navigational markers.

and it never hurts to ask for info from users here on the forum and at local bait shops and marinas.....take it all with a grain of salt and use it with the maps chip.

EDIT: I agree 100% with Fishing Rhino below. I should have added in my post that I watch the sonar and give myself plenty of 'cushion' by using my map chip depth as a general guide and confirming with my sonar/depth finder.

 

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What is the accuracy of the GPS?  Five feet at best?  And that's according to an article dealing with the best of the best equipment used for surveying.

The Z-7 is about eight feet wide.  You can miss a stump by a foot along your route/track, and on the next pass that stump may be under the dead center of your hull.  And that's using the finest GPS equipment.

Read the disclaimer that comes with map chips, and take it seriously.  "Not to be used for navigation" 

In my early years of commercial lobstering I did not have a Loran or Radar on the boat.  I navigated in fog using a chart and the compass.

I was at point A and wanted to get to point B.  Pull out the chart, study it carefully, and determine the compass heading I needed to follow.  Then it was a matter following the bottom depths along that route.  We are at the drop off, We went from four fathoms to two fathoms.  We never took a route that brought us close to dangerous shoals, or shallows.

Life was much easier when I got a Loran unit and a radar.  Even with those, I never stopped watching the depth finder when navigating at night or in the fog.

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I pretty much live in the backwaters of the mississippi river where coming off the main channel can go from 25 ft to 2 ft in 10 yards. Go slow until you know the area. Even with new map chips, most backwaters arent mapped.  I would (and still do if im un familiar with the area) go to the opening of an area  and hop on the trolling motor until i got in to be safe. Save your track on your electronics and mark any and all stumps too. Always always always trim the motor up (prop out of water) in those areas and you wont hit it. I have a 19ft glass and have no issues idling in a foot of water but i will trim the motor to where the prop is just under the surface so i dont hit anything and the skeg doesnt get stuck. You'll be more than fine just trolling in and out of an area until you're comfortable. I know the feeling. It just takes time getting used to it.

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Idling in wood you aren't going to do a whole lot of damage, You will want to keep your motor trimmed up though. If I'm idling around in shallow water I haven't been in before, I'll bring my jackplate all the way up and trim my motor up and by doing that I shouldn't hit anything with my prop as the boat is basically shielding it. Bumping wood at idle might put a scratch in your boat but most of the time it won't, if it's a rock you won't be so lucky, you'll definitely be walking away with a scratch. 

As far as how to get around, you'll want to rely heavily on a gps. Although they can be off some, your far better off with one than without. Also, read your locators. If you have side scan sonar that can help you more as you can see what's out around you, but if not you can learn to look what trees look like on 2D. You'll get the hang of it eventually. Also, it's good to remember a planed out boat drafts shallower than one not on plane. If you're leery about running an area that you're going to be running multiple times, you can idle through it with your motor trimmed down. If you're clear that way you'll be fine on pad. 

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