Jump to content
zachb34

Need help setting up my Carolina Skiff

Recommended Posts

I know this isn't really the typical boat for this forum, but I live in Florida and this really lets me fish everything I have near me. I have a 2003 J14 with a 2016 Mercury 25 HP electric start. I just added a jack plate which helped a lot as far as the lower unit causing some extra spray, but I really didn't gain any speed (26 MPH) I think trimming one tab out would help me get some more speed, but it porpoises when I do so. I had a 15 HP 4 stroke on the boat before and it did 20 so I honestly expected more out of the extra power. I've also heard of other J14s getting into the 30 MPH range pretty easily and J16s doing the same 25-26 mph speed with the same power. I had the dealer prop it for me and I don't know how well he did with that since I don't have a tach. Any cheap recommendations for a tach? I see some hour meters on ebay that have them. Currently I have a 46# thrust Minn Kota powered by a group 29 battery which is stored under the front deck (still need to secure it better) and a 35 quart yeti I keep on the front deck. I have to move the gas tank as far forward as possible in order to prevent porpoising as well which is annoying since it gets in the way and I rather keep it under the rear deck. I also still need to buy a starting battery and would like to keep it as light as possible (looking into the odyssey PC625) I'd also have a Powerpole micro connected to that battery but it doesn't use much power at all. Would smart tabs solve my porpoising issue? Or am I forced to stick with weight distribution? What are the cons to smart tabs? I heard they can break off in shallow water or in reverse, as well as they make it difficult to handle rough water. I considered a hydrofoil, but it seems like those are just a band aid to the problem. I could always buy a tiller extension to distribute the weight instead of the smart tabs wouldn't help me out much. 
I realize there was a lot of questions and a lot of them are going to be more opinionated than anything but I'd appreciate as much help as I can get before I start buying parts and drilling holes. I've included a picture of the boat and the cavitation plate at full throttle to see if anyone has any opinions on how it's set up so far. 

IMG_2644.PNG

IMG_2537.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay so you added a manual jack plate or hydraulic one?  What prop did your dealer set you up with.  The tachometer is important, but you will need to build a custom panel to even use one.

Here is my suggestions. First park your trailer on level ground. Next raise or lower your trailer jack till the entire trailer is level front to back. Now tilt your engine down till it is straight up and down, not necessarily tilted all the way down where it would tuck under.  Now there is a measurement known as the pad to prop.  Measure from the ground or floor to the bottom of the boat in the center of its v. Now measure from the ground to the center of the bullet or nose cone ( actually where the center shaft is for the prop.  This is easiest to do by taping a yard stick to the bottom of the boat. This height difference tells you is the prop shaft above the bottom of the boat or below the bottom of the boat.. Knowing this plus knowing the exact prop you have will help you discuss your set up with the boat factory. They should know what that boat needs to work well.  If you are running am aluminum factory prop check out the performance props made bu Turning Point Propellers. They are called Hustlers. They helped me dial in my Lowe bass boat. Stainless would offer me the best option but I did not want to run one in the Chesapeake Bay, too many things like crab traps and junk in the water to run one in my 75 hp Merc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, fishnkamp said:

Okay so you added a manual jack plate or hydraulic one?  What prop gig your dealer set you up with.  The tachometer is important but you will need to build a custom panel to even use one.

Here is my suggestions. First park your trailer on level ground. Next raise or lower your trailer jack till the entire trailer is level front to back. Now tilt your engine down till it is straight up and down, not necessarily tilted all the way down where it would tuck under.  Now there is a measurement known as the pad to prop.  Measure from the ground or floor to the bottom of the boat in the center of its v. Now measure from the ground to the center of the bullet or nose cone ( actually where the center shaft is for the prop.  This is easiest to do by taping a yard stick tot he bottom of the boat. This height difference tells you is the prop shaft above the bottom of the boat or below the bottom of the boat.. Knowing this plus knowing the exact prop you have is will help you discuss your set up with the factory. They should know what that boat needs to work well.  If you are running am aluminum factory prop check out the performance props made bu Turning Point Propellers. They are called Hustlers. They helped me dial in my Lowe bass boat. Stainless would offer me the best option but I did not want to run one in the Chesapeake Bay, too many things like crab traps and junk in the water to run one in my 75 hp Merc.

The prop is a OEM Black Max 9.25" 12.5 pitch aluminum prop. I didn't take the prop to pad measurement yet, but the jack plate is a manual one with 3" of vertical movement and 5" of setback. Carolina skiff recommends to have the cavitation plate .75-1" below the bottom of the boat with no setback. With the 5" of setback that would change, wouldn't it? I have it set about 1/2" above the bottom of the boat. I could go higher, but I'd need to mount the motor up another notch on the jack plate. This is the type of tach I'm talking about. 

IMG_2647.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree with your thoughts on raising it up a 1/4 inch at a time but there are four components to making test runs. First is knowing where your measurements begin at. Measure the height before you change anything so you have a baseline. You need to measure top speed (easily done on a gps/fishfinder.Next the tach reading and this box may do that well. Lastly you need to have a water pressure gauge to protect the motor and visually see if it changes from going to big with your adjustments.. I would call Turning Point and get their opinion.  I think a 10 x 11 might be a hot prop. Take a few minutes and do some research on Turning Point Propellers and the Hustler in particular. The hubs are specially tuned and they also have tuned vent holes for quicker hole shots.  I really like mine. It is on my 2010 Lowe 17.5 foot aluminum bass boat. With it it comes out of the hole strong and level and top end increased about 5 mph at wot. The boat goes over and just sticks nice and level running down the lake at mid to full  throttle. Best of all it runs around $100 so it is not like I am running any expensive prop of I hit something.  In tidal water that is not hard to do, since there are literally tons of stuff to hit just laying on the bottom. Four times a day the water level is either dropping or raising about 2 foot or more depending on the wind direction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get the prop to pad measurement as fishnkamp suggested,  the rpms would be good as well. Make sure it's an accurate tach. You could just temp something up with it if you don't feel you need it long term and permanently mounted. 

When you hear about a boat like yours making more speed, first make sure the speed numbers are accurate, then try to get info on their setup. What outboard, what prop, setback, etc.  If you can find someone with the same hull it saves a ton of time on getting a good starting point. Definately don't throw parts at it till you have  more info. 

As an aside, I really like your boat. I've always wanted a Carolina Skiff.  One of these days when I wise up move further south I plan to have one parked next to the glitter barge in the driveway. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jack plates can be risky business without a water pressure gauge so I do hope you have one.  If not, I strongly suggest you get one before you fry a power head. 

While you are installing a water pressure gauge, you can also install your tach.  It's pretty hard to get one setup without one. 

A good stainless prop is another must have if you want top speed.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Way2slow said:

Jack plates can be risky business without a water pressure gauge so I do hope you have one.  If not, I strongly suggest you get one before you fry a power head. 

While you are installing a water pressure gauge, you can also install your tach.  It's pretty hard to get one setup without one. 

A good stainless prop is another must have if you want top speed.

Spot on advise right there

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Way2slow said:

Jack plates can be risky business without a water pressure gauge so I do hope you have one.  If not, I strongly suggest you get one before you fry a power head. 

While you are installing a water pressure gauge, you can also install your tach.  It's pretty hard to get one setup without one. 

A good stainless prop is another must have if you want top speed.

This may be a stupid question, but wouldn't the alarm on the motor tell me if I'm overhearing it anyway? I don't really have anything to mount any gauges to on the boat in the first place. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm obviously not the expert here since this is only my second outboard powered boat and I'm the one seeking help, but I have the motor trimmed in one hole away from being parallel with the bottom of the boat. So basically the cavitation plate has a slight angle upwards. Wouldn't it be better if I got it level with the hull? I have it like that since it was the only way to stop the porpoising problem. FWIW the boat porpoises at the same speed that I get WOT but trimmed differently. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the time the alarm lets you know there is a problem the engine has already suffered damage. I know a Sting Ray Jr hydrofoil would eliminate your porpoising. I have run either a jr or a standard sized Sting Ray on several of my bass boats. I currently run one on my 17.4 foot bass boat with a 75 Merc. It costs me a touch of speed but also allows me to gain a bit since I can take advantage of wot and a bit more trim. Overall I like it because I can trim down a bit and run smoother in rough tidal water without porpoising or wave hopping. It is much more comfortable, i sorta like my kidneys to stay intact.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, fishnkamp said:

By the time the alarm lets you know there is a problem the engine has already suffered damage. I know a Sting Ray Jr hydrofoil would eliminate your porpoising. I have run either a jr or a standard sized Sting Ray on several of my bass boats. I currently run one on my 17.4 foot bass boat with a 75 Merc. It costs me a touch of speed but also allows me to gain a bit since I can take advantage of wot and a bit more trim. Overall I like it because I can trim down a bit and run smoother in rough tidal water without porpoising or wave hopping. It is much more comfortable, i sorta like my kidneys to stay intact.

 

 

I'm just wondering if the hydrofoil is the way to go over something like smart tabs. I know both are common on just about every model of Carolina Skiff with a heavy 4 stroke. Carolina skiff even offers them as a factory option now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The hydrofoil is less expensive, but is in use all of the time, good or bad.  It offers no adjustability.  i think your tabs are more effective, can be raised to have no impact and give you  the ability to adjust for changes in boat weight, ie another person, more or less fuel, different amount of gear etc. The obvious downside is they cost more. If I lived down in an area where there were a bunch of boats like yours in use, I think I would look around some marinas and see if I could find someone who has your boat and has the tabs installed. I have never met a boat owner who would turn down an offer of a good seafood dinner or juicy steak in exchange for a 15 minute boat test drive. See how it performs before you make any decisions.  A local dealer may have a boat to demo also. Most will be happy to help if they truly believe you would pay them to install a pair on your boat assuming you liked them. The problem for me is I only have experience with bass boats, so I have no real world knowledge of how well they work.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, fishnkamp said:

The hydrofoil is less expensive, but is in use all of the time, good or bad.  It offers no adjustability.  i think your tabs are more effective, can be raised to have no impact and give you  the ability to adjust for changes in boat weight, ie another person, more or less fuel, different amount of gear etc. The obvious downside is they cost more. If I lived down in an area where there were a bunch of boats like yours in use, I think I would look around some marinas and see if I could find someone who has your boat and has the tabs installed. I have never met a boat owner who would turn down an offer of a good seafood dinner or juicy steak in exchange for a 15 minute boat test drive. See how it performs before you make any decisions.  A local dealer may have a boat to demo also. Most will be happy to help if they truly believe you would pay them to install a pair on your boat assuming you liked them. The problem for me is I only have experience with bass boats, so I have no real world knowledge of how well they work.

Smart tabs are trim tabs but they're not really adjustable. They're supposed to adjust based on the load of the boat and the water automatically. They're actuallly pretty affordable at around $120. Either way I don't care about the price difference I rather just by them once and be done with it. I really can't find any solid research on them since everyone has their own opinions and a lot of people talking about them don't even own them. As far as looking for similar boats, the Carolina Skiff is a kit boat and there's two different front deck designs and you can set up the back decks in about 4 different ways, plus a lot of have center consoles 2 stroke motors, or it seems pretty common to exceed that 25 HP capacity plate in my area lol. I've seen one with a 50 HP 2 stroke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking of the more expensive adjustable trim tabs but now that I look at them I really like the idea of using the smart tabs in your circumstances. I watched  this video and I think they would help you the most. I also like them because you drill and mount them to the hull instead of drilling and mounting them on your lower unit. Check out this video  

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, fishnkamp said:

I was thinking of the more expensive adjustable trim tabs but now that I look at them I really like the idea of using the smart tabs in your circumstances. I watched  this video and I think they would help you the most. I also like them because you drill and mount them to the hull instead of drilling and mounting them on your lower unit. Check out this video  

 

Definitely what I'm leaning towards more but I still need to find some deffinant answers as far as reversing and getting them stuck in the ground on sand bars and stuff. I also heard they drive the bow down into rough water. When I go out palm beach inlet the seas can be 2-4 feet through the inlet on any given day until I'm through it and don't want more issues with that than I already would have. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Driving the boat down into the waves should allow your boats V to cut the waves thus stabilizing it rather than wildly hopping over it. Running more level will be safer at slower speeds ( the bow won't be riding high so you will not need to add throttle to bring it down. That should be an advantage. As for digging in on a sand bar, if I understood correctly from the video, it is mounted basically even with the bottom of the hull and then adjusted so that the rear edge is angled slightly downward. We are talking maybe 1/2 an inch. Your lower unit will be way below that. I expect your outboard requires at least 8 inches below the hull to run and still circulate water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, zachb34 said:

Definitely what I'm leaning towards more but I still need to find some deffinant answers as far as reversing and getting them stuck in the ground on sand bars and stuff. I also heard they drive the bow down into rough water. When I go out palm beach inlet the seas can be 2-4 feet through the inlet on any given day until I'm through it and don't want more issues with that than I already would have. 

Definitely your answer!

I gave a pair on my 1652 Alweld, helps holeshot even in shallow water, increased top end & eliminated porpoising.

And yes they are adjustable!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The boat's V?  The few Carolina Skiff I've seen were all flat bottom.

My son has trim tabs on his 20' flats boat and they are great, but his are hydraulic and he can raise them any time he needs to.

Your concern over them getting hung in a sandbar when down is a valid one.  There have been a few times he has forgotten to raise his and they would hang the bottom in shallows when backing up.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Way2slow said:

The boat's V?  The few Carolina Skiff I've seen were all flat bottom.

My son has trim tabs on his 20' flats boat and they are great, but his are hydraulic and he can raise them any time he needs to.

Your concern over them getting hung in a sandbar when down is a valid one.  There have been a few times he has forgotten to raise his and they would hang the bottom in shallows when backing up.

I have a J14, which is a flat bottom. The JV and DLV series are much heavier and have a v bottom. I appreciate the info about your sons boat though, it'll help in my decision making. I fish freshwater 80% of the time anyway and don't need to get too shallow with it unless I'm on Lake Okeechobee, which is only a few times a year. 

2 hours ago, Catt said:

Definitely your answer!

I gave a pair on my 1652 Alweld, helps holeshot even in shallow water, increased top end & eliminated porpoising.

And yes they are adjustable!

Have you ever had any issues with them when in reverse or dragging in shallow water?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, zachb34 said:

When I go out palm beach inlet the seas can be 2-4 feet

I would NOT go out with a flat bottom boat in four footers.  And I'm nuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, zachb34 said:

I have a J14, which is a flat bottom. The JV and DLV series are much heavier and have a v bottom. I appreciate the info about your sons boat though, it'll help in my decision making. I fish freshwater 80% of the time anyway and don't need to get too shallow with it unless I'm on Lake Okeechobee, which is only a few times a year. 

Have you ever had any issues with them when in reverse or dragging in shallow water?

Going in reverse is only an issue if you use to much throttle, just be aware when backing they're back there.

I bought mine because of shallow water, I run a lot of shallow water marshes where getting on plane in under 25' is a must!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, J Francho said:

I would NOT go out with a flat bottom boat in four footers.  And I'm nuts.

It's not a typical thing to do but it happens. The inlet is only a 1/4 mile long maybe less

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Growing boating on Lake Ontario, I've seen similar conditions getting through the outlet from the bay to the lake.  So long as it's just "rollers" in the big water, it's fine.  Just be careful.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    bass fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing rods

    fishing rods


    fishing rods

    fishing reels
    fishing gear

    Truck Caps

    fishing reels
    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×