Ultimate Bass

Save Gas while Bass Fishing

Bass fishing can get expensive for a dedicated bass angler. Buying a boat and a truck to pull it with can put you in debt quickly. Rods and reels have quadrupled in price over the last ten years. A simple pack of soft plastic baits can cost you as much as six dollars. Swing by the gas station on the way to the lake and there goes another 100 dollars. Here’s how to save gas while bass fishing to cut costs.

With bass fishing so expensive, I am constantly looking for ways to save some money. We all shop for the best prices and reuse baits until they simply disintegrate. I can’t give up my secret weapon baits so I started looking at my fuel costs. I could save a lot of money if I could reduce my fuel consumption.

I am fortunate and get to fish three, four, five days a week. Where I live in Louisiana there are several lakes and rivers within thirty miles of my home. My tow vehicle fuel costs are not exceptionally high compared to some; however, after a week’s worth of fishing it can really add up. Over past years, I have learned a few things to save fuel. None of them are significant on their own, even combined it takes several trips to see significant savings. I’m going to touch on a few things that will hopefully save you some money at the gas pump, allowing you to buy a few more baits at the tackle store.

Save Gas while Bass Fishing Tow Vehicle

First and foremost, keep your tow vehicle tuned up. A poor performing tow vehicle is costing you a fortune. Poor performance leads to more fuel being used. Simply staying on top of the basics, plugs, air filter, and oil changes create huge savings over the long run.

Under inflated tires are hazards; however they also rob you of fuel economy. Every vehicle is going to be different, but on my truck I’ve seen as much as a mile per gallon difference simply by checking my tire pressures weekly. Be sure to include your trailer tires when inspecting for inflation. As we move from summer to autumn, the cooler temperatures can have a dramatic effect on tire pressure.

It sucks, rather doesn’t blow, but turning off your vehicle’s air conditioner and using the 2/60 method for a refreshing breeze is yet another way to save fuel. On my truck, I noticed about half a mile per gallon difference in fuel usage. I know it’s very nice to jump in front of a vent blowing 68-degree air after a long day of summer bass fishing, but that is costing you money. So, you’ll have to decide if saving money is worth it. Personally, If I’m extremely warm after loading the boat and heading home, I’ll turn the air conditioning on for a few minutes to take the edge off. Then it’s back to 2 windows down and 60 miles per hour.

The nation has raised speed limits in many parts of the country. A 70 MPH speed limit is very common in my area, with a 75 MPH speed limit in some places. Speed kills fuel economy. While you can drive the maximum legally, lower your speed to increase your miles per gallon. You will notice a significant fuel mileage difference between 60 and 70 MPH. As an example, if I’m fishing a lake that is 30 miles away, driving 70 mph versus 60 mph gets me to the lake somewhere between 4-5 minutes sooner. However, it will cost me an extra gallon of fuel (on a round trip). With today’s fuel prices, I’ll leave the house 5 minutes earlier and not worry about the exact time I get home.

The last adjustment I’ve made providing noteworthy fuel economy is changing the overall weight of the boat. We all love tackle, the more the better; however, trimming your tackle to just what is needed for your specific outing will reduce the weight of your boat. The amount of fuel you carry is another area to save weight in the boat. I know many anglers insist on keeping their boats topped off. There are benefits to this. One, you always have enough fuel. Two, with a full fuel tank, condensation cannot develop. However, at somewhere around 6 pounds per gallon, this increases the weight your truck has to tow significantly. I keep only the fuel necessary for the outing. For pre-fishing, I gauge how much fuel I need for the day and try to only pump that amount plus two or three gallons extra. If fishing a tournament, I will fill up. When towing your boat on long distance trips, wait and fill up the boat’s fuel tank at your destination. There is no sense in dragging all the extra weight hundreds of miles. NOTE: using fuel additives in your boats fuel will prevent the condensation issue.

We can also save money with our boats fuel costs. Just like with your tow vehicle, keeping the weight to a minimum will improve your fuel economy on the water. Removing tackle you don’t need, filling up with only enough fuel for the day, and leaving livewells empty until necessary are all ways to reduce weight in your boat and increase fuel economy.

Fuel additives are a must to keep your outboard motor running at peak performance with today’s ethanol fuels. Using fuel additives will increase how efficient your motor runs and prevent component damage. Not only do fuel additives help decrease the gallons per hour you’ll use, they also help prevent costly repairs caused by poor fuel. The money spent on fuel additives will come back to you exponentially.

Just like with your tow vehicle, speed kills fuel economy in a boat as well. There is no specific rule of thumb as to the best fuel efficient speed. It’s actually not going to be a speed but rather a RPM and trim setting. You’ll have to experiment with this, or buy a monitoring system. I personally get the best fuel economy at 4300 RPM and about 1/3 trim. This is the point that I have a significant amount of boat out of the water, yet the RPM’s remain low. Sure it’s fun to drive a boat as fast as it will go, but it’s also expensive.

It takes a lot of traveling in order for these tips to show you significant savings. While I don’t travel 150 miles to the lake to fish, I certainly travel that many miles in a week of fishing. For me, it doesn’t take long to save enough money to buy a few extra baits. Use these tips and you will see improvement in your mileage, your truck and boat will love you for it.

Get the Net it’s a Hawg
Mike Cork
Ultimate Bass

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