With MotorGuide’s BASS Electric series drawing a loyal band of followers across a dozen eastern seaboard dams in the last five years, we’ve started to see some pretty specialised craft turn up at these events. On lakes (and tournaments) that allow electric power only, anglers strive for that extra percentage of speed, but still want the bass fishing comforts offered by larger craft.
As a result, we’ve seen nearly everything competing – from the ironman like John Costello bolting from the field in a paddle-powered canoe at the Hinze Dam event through to boats with up to four electrics bolted onto them at some Wivenhoe comps.
Of course, the rule of diminishing returns applies to electric powered craft – the more electric motors you put on the boat, the more batteries you need to power them. The more batteries you put in, the more the boat drags in the water, and of course, the more money you spend.
So we considered this when putting together Fishing Monthly’s BASS Electric project boat. And since BlueFin Boats and MotorGuide are giving away three BASS Electric boat rigs at the 2007 BASS Electric convention in October, what better rig to put together than a close replica of the prize boats.
Mark Johnson from BlueFin suggested the 3.45m Trekker as an ideal BASS Electric craft. It’s a punt, which means that a short length of boat can have a reasonable beam and remain very stable. The hull is able to take outboards up to 15hp, which is good for getting into skinny estuaries and creeks. We opted for a painted hull (so it looked good) with some carpeted battery trays in the back, a drop-in floor and front casting deck.
From the MotorGuide Digital stable, we selected a single, transom mounted 54lb motor coupled with a Digital Wireless bow mount. Even though they are both 12volt motors used to travel the furthest distance, we powered this with a pair of high-capacity 6volt lead acid Trojan batteries from Steve Eldred’s Battery Traders at Slacks Creek.
“If you want range from your electric motor without having to swap batteries around all day, the pair of 6-volters is definitely the way to go,” Steve said, “You just rig them up in series to make it a 12 volt power supply and you’ll have the equivalent of over 200a/h to burn up. This is pretty hard to do in a standard fishing session.
Mounting a 130amp 12volt Trojan under the front deck means that it’s virtually impossible to flatten a battery while fishing, and it acts as an excellent back-up motor if you do manage to wear out your main bank. The BlueFin perfectly fits the big Trojan under the front casting deck, with some room to spare for safety gear.
A fold-up anchor slots right up under the bow, and there’s a welded eyelet to attach the rope to.
Sounder-wise, a single Humminbird 777 sits starboard on the casting deck – the boat’s small enough to be able to use this unit for travelling when seated at the rear. The screen is bright and clear, and it’s even viewable with polarised sunglasses.
Keeping the internal fit-out simple, we opted not to build in a livewell, rather to attach a removable KeepAlive aerator with an on/off switch to the front battery. The cabling slots neatly through the floor and recirculates water for the fish you’re taking to weigh-in. These fish live in an insulated cooler on the deck.
When you’re not tournament fishing, the cooler doubles as an excellent tackle box and keeps your high-dollar Japanese lures out of the sun. Rods lay along each gunwale – I like them butt for’ard for easy access when you’re fishing on the front deck.
With two anglers and a boat load of gear, the MotorGuide 54 transom pushes the craft along at around 5km/h. This speed can vary depending on if you have a breeze assisting you or if you’re pushing into a wind chop. Deploy the bow-mount and you’ll find that you can add 2-3km/h, but I liken this to burning up your reserve tank at the same time you’re using your main. Maybe save this for when you’re racing a fellow competitor to your favourite snag!
After driving cable-drive electric motors for many years, I was unsure how well I’d revert to the servo-driven system of the wireless. The first time on water (and after screwing the remote foot pedal to the deck for fear of losing it) I instantly noticed that the stow/deploy mechanism on these electrics was intuitive and very easy to use. After you get used to the beeps that announce every button-push on the pedal, you’ll find the motor easy to use without looking at it.
The only negative was that if you forgot the speed setting on the motor when you last turned it off, there was no way to find out where you left it without hitting “ON” – and possibly holding on! The bow mount throws this little baby around with ease. It’ll put you in the drink if you’re not careful.
As expected, trailering is dead easy and launching also a piece of cake. If you don’t win a BlueFin/Motorguide combo at the BASS Electric convention at Wivenhoe in October 2007, you could easily buy one from your local BlueFin dealer. At QFM, we love ours!
Ready to fish – socially or in a tournament – if little Trekker’s a neat little platform.Reads: 8656