Every single bass guy out there is all about performance, handling and most of all speed. We love to look good on the water, but beyond the superficial, we want our equipment to perform the best it can. Oftentimes we overlook a very important piece of equipment that allows our boats to perform the best they can with the flip of a finger — A hydraulic jack plate.
I have had so many people ask me if it’s worth the extra money to have the hydraulic plate on my boat. I’m telling you folks, it’s worth every penny This is one piece of equipment that I will never skimp on again and one will always be on my Nitro.
A few years back I was down on the Mississippi River (Pool 8) with some friends of mine watching the Bassmaster Elite Series guys fish for the championship. I was in the backwaters of Goose Island watching Edwin Evers flip laydown trees in 2-3 feet of water. My good buddy Doty and I were both in our separate Z9’s and were about 150 yards away from Evers. We decided we were going to change locations and go find a few other anglers. Doty took off right next to me with his plate all the way up. My boat wasn’t equipped with a jack plate. Needless to say, my outboard hit bottom and the incident snapped my drive shaft in half. The mishap cost me $1,400 bucks after it was all said and done.
Bassin’ 360 is all about honesty and being upfront and real within the sport fishing realm. This isn’t a sales pitch. If I were to have had a jack plate, I would have forgone the above incident and my outboard would have been running at peek performance. Do yourself a favor and make the investment. It will undoubtedly pay for itself through the performance the plate gives your boat.
With a hydraulic jack plate, the handling of the boat is so much more stable as well. If you are in rough water, trim it down. This allows you to keep the bow up, run smoother and avoid the potential of spearing a wave. With glass calm water or a little ripple, my Nitro Z21 ran best with that plate up, trimming the motor down and getting ultimate performance for ride and speed.
Depending upon the configuration and size (along with other factors) of your boat, you may also experience higher top end speeds with a jack plate. The plate allows you to adjust how much of the prop is in the water at any given time. In relatively calm water, trim the plate up to pull the prop further out of the water. This creates less water resistance on the boat and allows the boat to go faster. This decrease in resistance, at lower RPMs, allows for better fuel efficiency as well.
Another small aspects boat owners over look is the ability to trim the plate all the way up, but not tilt the outboard . It is not good for out motors to have them trimmed all the way. Additionally, you’re able to mount Power Poles or Talons directly to the plate. The further back the shallow water anchor is mounted, the better hold it will have on the boats position. Transducers are also able to be mounted on the bottom of the jack plate for unparalleled readings. These may seem like minuscule differences, but when added up, they make a huge difference.
There are a few different brands of jack plates on the market today. However, in my eyes there are only a few that deliver a quality product and even fewer that have solid customer service. For my money, I buy Bob’s Machine Shop Jack Plates. Their jack plates, no matter which one you choose for your boat, are made of the highest quality materials available. Additionally, their customer service is incredible and works tirelessly until your issues or questions are resolved. Not to mention, starting in 2016 Bob’s Machine Shop is offering contingency programs for anglers that run their jack plates on the tournament trails. That means if you do well on the tournament circuit, you get paid just for running a Bob’s Machine Shop Jack Plate.
So if you are thinking about getting a new boat, or looking at maybe adding one to your current boat, spend the extra money on a hydraulic jack plate. Once you have one, you will never go back. The added benefits of a jack plate are more than enough incentive to invest in one of these performance enhancing boat add-ons.