A while back in “5 Tips for Kayak Fishing,” we talked about how the stealthy nature of yaks gives you a serious fishing advantage. Well, what about those of us who run full-sized bay boats and center consoles? Stealth counts for us, too. In fact, it can make the difference between a successful day of fishing, and spooking everything within casting distance before we have a chance to cast. Here are some tips on how to make your boat stealthy.
1. If you have a two-stroke outboard, shut it down before shifting out of gear. These engines make a lot more underwater noise in neutral, than they do in gear.
2. Don’t think electric motors are 100-percent silent – they create just as much prop noise as any other motor will. Prop noise is directly related to engine speed, so even when going electric, approach hotspots or finning fish slowly.
3. If your fishboxes, stowage comaprtments, and hatches aren’t lined with rubber gaskets, add them. You can pick up a rubber gasket at any marine supply store for chump change, and it’ll eliminate those slams and bangs that will spook the fish.
4. Always remind the crew to keep their voices hushed when approaching the fish. Yes, your voice does carry through the water! If you don’t believe me, the next time you see a fish finning near-by, just try yelling at it – then watch as it darts away.
5. Minimize shifting into and out of gear. This causes a loud “thunk” underwater, which will allert the fish to your presence.