What is the secret in keeping 18′ plus boats under control?



A couple tips I can give are:

1) Learn to use a bow mount. Modern day bow mounts come with long shafts and lots of power and have the advantage of 360 degree turning. This allows the angler to move the boat a foot left, a foot right, a foot forward or a foot back – whatever it takes to get precise boat control. I rarely use back trolling – a boat was built to move forward.

2) A kicker engine is important because often 18 foot (and larger) boats come with big engines. Any engine over a 50 hp will typically not troll down slow enough for walleye fishing. Often we need to troll down to .8, 1 or 1.2 mph. A 8 to 15 hp kicker can do that with ease. I would look for a 4 stroke kicker – they are smoother, quieter and don’t have any smoke fumes. Find one with a strapping system – or devise one for yourself. Often kicker brackets are not made to handle the rigorous runs in big water. Last get a kicker with shifting in the handle. Most of the new walleye boats have some type of rear deck on them – without shift in the handle it is difficult to bend over and shift the engine. By the way, these exactly the main features we helped design into the Mercury Pro Kicker.

3) In situations with strong cross winds, “dual” boat control is the ultimate in control. Even though a longer boat is great for running waves – this added length can make it hard to control the bow – especially from the back of the boat with just a kicker engine. With “dual” control we use both our kicker and bow mount to maintain a depth. On my boat I have a bow mount called a Motorguide PTSv. It actually tracks depth. So, I can set it for whatever depth I want to stay at – if the wind pushes the bow out deeper, the PTSv pulls shallower, if the bow swings in too shallow, the motor turns out deeper. This keeps the bow on course and I can concentrate on speed control with the kicker. If a tracking motor is out of your budget, then there are a lot of nice Wireless Motorguide motors available. The Wireless Series have a wireless remote control. This small key pad can be used anywhere in the boat and can turn the motor left and right, speed up and slow down and even turn the motor on and off. So, the angler can now run the kicker from the back and at the same time control the bow with the remote control – sweet!