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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I hope I don't get my balls busted to hard in regards to my post, but I feel like you all are my best resource for my questions. I own a Ranger RT188 that I have set up/working on setting up for fishing the Texas gulf coast (see pic), I know it is not a traditional micro skiff, but it is doing a pretty good job meeting my demands. I have a 4" jack plate with the motor raised in what seems to be the optimum height for the best performance.

I want to make any additions that will improve my shallow water performance. I am debating on adding trim tabs, so that I am able to hop up on plane much easier/faster. Like a traditional bass boat, I get quite a bit squat when I initially get on the throttle. My question: would trim tabs be a good option to help improve my hole shot out of shallow water? Am I thinking about trim tabs in the right way/proper function? TIA for any feedback you guys can offer!
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Give us some more details. Length power etc ...
Tabs help a lot of things, but won’t over come everything
In my experience ,most bass boats are way over powered. I’ve fished shallow water my whole life and I have never worried about a holeshot I ease in and I ease out. Stealth is the key.
Changing balance of boat may help as well. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Give us some more details. Length power etc ...
Tabs help a lot of things, but won’t over come everything
In my experience ,most bass boats are way over powered. I’ve fished shallow water my whole life and I have never worried about a holeshot I ease in and I ease out. Stealth is the key.
Changing balance of boat may help as well. Good luck
Thanks for your response... My boat is 18'8", it has a Merc 115 ProXS CT. You are right, that is pretty much what I do now, ease in/ease out. She floats in about 8" of water no problem, I was just wondering if the tabs would improve jumping out of shallow holes. As far as weight distribution, my gas tank is in the back, which adds quite a bit of weight in the rear.
 

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Tabs will help some on hole shot, but remember they really don't do anything until you have some forward momentum. If you're drafting too deep to begin with and can't really get moving forward well, the tabs won't help. Having the right prop is more important for hole shot. The tabs are really useful for trimming the boat while already up and running, and that's really their primary benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tabs will help some on hole shot, but remember they really don't do anything until you have some forward momentum. If you're drafting too deep to begin with and can't really get moving forward well, the tabs won't help. Having the right prop is more important for hole shot. The tabs are really useful for trimming the boat while already up and running, and that's really their primary benefit.
Thank you for responding... That is great info! I just recently changed out my prop, I was running a prop that was really to big, and I couldn't spin enough rpm. Ranger sent the boat with a 24p Tempest +, but according to Mercury the correct prop should have been the 21p, so Ranger sent me out the 21.

I really don't want to spend money where I am not going to see benefit. I only draft about 8"... But I get quite a bit of squat when I go to jump up on plane, I would say that a 1' 1/2 depth or so is what I need to get her up and going.
 

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Jumping up.... is actually something I know a little about.... Yes, tucking your motor in tight then trimming your tabs all the way down will aid in dealing with "squat" problems - but you might also consider moving that fuel tank forward (if at all possible - bass boats are pretty much "fixed builds" will little room for mods..).

Two other points to make... the first one is that you're definitely NOT in the too much motor category with a 115hp on an almost 19' hull (like to hear what they claim the hull weight is...). The second is something you'll only learn by experience. Jumping up on plane all tucked in and trim tabs down means a squirrely ride for sure - at least until you're up on plane and able to ease off on the tabs and the motor trim... The first few times you try it I wouldn't want any passengers aboard (or any loose gear)... Once you learn the routine it can almost be automatic on your part (and your passengers won't feel like they're on Mr. Toad's Wild... -you get the idea...).

One last thing comes to mind for quick hole shots -the standard remedy is a well cupped four blade prop... but it comes at a small expense - less top end... Talk to folks you know that have four blade props - they'll tell you whether there's a noticeable benefit (or just a "maybe" benefit...).

I won't go into how we were taught years and years ago to come up spinning back when everyone bragged about "running or jumping up onto spit" - and cutting horrible trails across shallow grassy areas before we learned not to do that sort of stuff... No one that runs over hard bottom will be tempted to do that sort of stuff at all (at least not more than once...).
 

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I'm not familar with your boat, but the technique for jumping it up very shallow is quite important too. If you're over sand or mud (not grass), you might try a "spin up" versus a straight jump. A general description would be:
  • put any passenger up front, ideally sitting on the front deck, port side - all the way, legs in cockpit.
  • you stand on port side by console. You're getting the passenger and your weight as far forward and to port as you can. You want the boat to lean into a left hand turn when you start.
  • turn the wheel counterclockwise all the way so the prop will be pushing to starboard, the boat circling to port/left.
  • Motor tucked in unless the skeg is already hitting the bottom. If so, trim it out till it's floating freely.
  • Jackplate fully up.
  • Tabs about half down if you have them.
  • Roll into the throttle slowly/smoothly trying to get maximum bite with the prop, not blowing out.
  • Hopefully the boat will start moving forward and into the left hand circle/spin.
  • Keep increasing the throttle as long as you're moving the boat faster and it should begin to lift/plane.
  • Then when you feel it starting to break onto plane, straighten out the motor and trim out a bit more if you need to.
When you first start trying this, it will feel like you have too many things going on or need another set of hands to do it all. It will become more natural with more practice. And all boats are different in terms of what works best for that hull, motor, prop, etc.
 

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Negative trim is your friend...use it...
 
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Tabs will make your ass hop on top and kill that stern squat, I promise as soon as you hit the throttle your boat is moving forward enough for the tabs down to create lift. You can also turn right with the right tab only down and hop up even skinnier. It’s physics and practice. A good cupped prop and compression plate too but it all has to be tweaked and set up right or it won’t help. The right prop and motor height (mounted too low is what I see a lot) are the deal breakers.
 

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Tabs help after moving a little as said. Not much if any until at speed. Test it. Just put them down at idle speed and putt along, they literally do nothing. Negative trim also pushes stern up and nose down. But needs movement. But be careful to quickly trim up so you don’t bow steer. Worse on some boats than others. You won’t like the effect when you feel it. Moving weight forward as mentioned aids in draft and helping get bow down. But nothing gets the prop further from the bottom and making pot holes better than a push pole moving the boat to a safe depth for getting on plane.
 

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Tabs help after moving a little as said. Not much if any until at speed. Test it. Just put them down at idle speed and putt along, they literally do nothing. Negative trim also pushes stern up and nose down. But needs movement. But be careful to quickly trim up so you don’t bow steer. Worse on some boats than others. You won’t like the effect when you feel it. Moving weight forward as mentioned aids in draft and helping get bow down. But nothing gets the prop further from the bottom and making pot holes better than a push pole moving the boat to a safe depth for getting on plane.
I can get up clean with no rooster tail of mud by dropping both tabs and leaving my motor trimmed flat and jacked all the way up. Without tabs you have to tuck the motor and that’s what causes blowouts in grass no matter if you are in 8” or three feet of water. That prop moves a plume of water that will leave a nasty blow out in grass. I like to pole into a mud hole or sand pocket to hop up if at all possible.
If your motor hangs 6” below the bottom of the hull it’s going to be 10” or more when you trim in and tuck the motor so add that to the resting draft of your skiff and you can see even then you’ll need a couple of feet of water to get up clean. It’s funny when guys claim a 10” hole shot and post photos of their rigs and there’s no damn way because their motor isn’t even high enough to get the prop off bottom in a foot.
 

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Not sure if you can spin up your boat, but was probably the most important thing I learned how to do with my boat to get up in shallow water. Practice first in deeper water by yourself before you try with passengers, especially if they are new to boating. It’s amazing how shallow you can get up in once you master the technique.When the choice is pole for an hour or spin it up you’ll really appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tabs help after moving a little as said. Not much if any until at speed. Test it. Just put them down at idle speed and putt along, they literally do nothing. Negative trim also pushes stern up and nose down. But needs movement. But be careful to quickly trim up so you don’t bow steer. Worse on some boats than others. You won’t like the effect when you feel it. Moving weight forward as mentioned aids in draft and helping get bow down. But nothing gets the prop further from the bottom and making pot holes better than a push pole moving the boat to a safe depth for getting on plane.
I actually ordered a Superstick Push Pole, just for those occasions that I need a little push... https://thesuperstick.com/
 
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