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What year is the outboard?

If the carb has fixed jets, probably needs a carb rebuild.
Replace the float when you do the repair.

If she's an antique, needle valves may need to be adjusted.
 

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http://www.crowleymarine.com/johnson-evinrude/parts/44354.cfm

Looking at the parts diagram for an early 80's johnson 40 carb,
I'd guess that the low speed needle needs adjusting. If open too much
it'd be letting too much fuel past and acting as a choke all by itself.
Makes for an easy starting outboard, running that rich,
but is probably fouling your plugs very quickly.
 
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