How Shallow Can Bass Boats Run?


Some times the fish that you’re trying to catch decides to go into the shallows, but you aren’t sure how long your boat will last. So, how long can your bass boat go into the shallows until you have to struggle to get up and out?

If you’ve got certain accessories that are on your boat, then you can head into water that’s two feet or less. But with jack plates, you can head into shallower water. The important thing is to remember that you don’t want to rush into any situation where shallow water is involved.

We’re going to dive into what is needed to drive in the shallows well, but we’re also going to talk about the importance of being prepared in every way before you head out.

How do you prepare for the shallows?

Something that you really want to do in regards to preparing for the case that you might go into the water and venture into the shallows, you want to be sure that your equipment is equally balanced. Especially if you’re going to be out on the water for a long time and you’re in a tournament.

Be aware of the bait that you’re going to carry because this, in turn, can affect the weight when you’re headed into shallow water. So be sure that you’re not taking too much with you, not only in bait but in your tackle as well.

Make sure that there’s not a lot of weight in the nose of your boat so that if it’s needed you can get onto the plane quickly, and that’s going to be able to help if you need to get out of the shallows. But, you don’t want to rush onto a plane in the shallows. That can hurt more than it can help.

Understanding that you’re going to have a livewell that’s full of water as well, so that’s something that you need to take into consideration when you’re bringing the equipment on your boat as well. Try to carry the lightest load that you can when you’re headed out.

Bring a push pole just in case. Sometimes you can get stuck in the mud, and you’re not necessarily ready to hop out into the water with who knows what sort of predators in the water, that’s where the pole comes into play. Be sure that you check the material of the pole though because aluminum has the potential to crumble and bend with a lot of force.

Shallows with a jack plate

One of the best things that you can get for your boat is a jack plate. This is something that is attached to your boat which allows you to vertically lift your engine instead of changing your thrusts angle.

But what does this have to do with the shallows? Well, with a jack plate, you can change the height of your engine, which allows you to be able to have the propeller either higher or lower in the water. This helps with being able to continue to maneuver in the shallows. You’re also able to know that you decrease the chance of your engine or prop hitting the bottom and causing damage to the habitats beneath you.

A jack plate also allows you to raise the skeg and prop on your boat, which helps to be sure of the scraping avoidance. Even if your prop is higher than the bottom of the boat, you’re going to be able to have them still in the water. As the water moves under the boat, it’s going to be angled upward which is still helping the water reach the prop.

There’s really nothing that’s bad about a jack plate. It also helps you to be able to plane easier when you’re in the shallows. There can be a lot of problems if you’re in the shallows without the right equipment, so be sure that you’re prepared before you decide that you’re going to head out onto the water.

What should be avoided?

If you don’t have a jack plate, be sure that the shaft of your trolling motor is raised. If you see the mud that’s on the bottom start shifting around, you haven’t necessarily hit the bottom, but you’re putting your engine at risk because it’s going to suck in that dirty water, especially since it’s already shallow.

When planing, you want to be sure that you are in a little deeper water, and you don’t want to do this by just putting the throttle forward. Poling over into the deeper water is a good choice, this will help you to be able to get out a little easier. Raise your jack plate if you’ve got one. If you have people that are in the boat with you, have them move so that your stern lifts higher. That will also help you to avoid causing damage to your engine.

Don’t go in without a plan. That’s something that you need to have ready before you even think about heading out to the water. If you’re going out in rough water, it’s better that you didn’t. Especially if you’re suddenly in the shallows and you don’t know how to get out in a timely manner. In the case that the weather might turn ugly, it’s best not to risk it at all.

Don’t be impatient. There are times when you can be going through and suddenly realize that you’re in the shallows. If there’s a problem, sometimes it’s hard to be patient enough to think of the correct and easiest solution. Most will lose patience and just push the throttle forward, not caring. They will also try to take the shortest path, which is also a place where you can damage the shallow water environments.

Avoid going over areas that might be too shallow to go through without causing damage. Go around it. You’ll thank me later. Also, sometimes you might need to get out of the boat and push. The lack of the weight of people in the boat will help the boat to float higher which might help you to be able to get out of a sticky situation.

Benefits of the shallows for a bass boat

The shallows have always seemed to be something that’s a little intimidating, especially if you’re going to be going out for a tournament. But, with the proper preparation and tools, you’ll be able to become a master of the shallows, but you have to be sure that you’re in the right mindset as well.

Now you don’t have to worry about losing the big one anymore. You can trust that you’ll be able to work through the water as long as you’re smart about it. At times, the bass can be scared to the shallows, and now this is something that’s going to not be a hindrance to you any longer.

Be sure that you’ve got the appropriate equipment. That you’ve made sure that your boat isn’t overweight. That’s something that you want to be sure about before you head out in the first place.

Hopefully, as we’ve gone through this article, you’ve been able to learn a few things that you’re going to implement when you are planning to head out. Just remember to not get cocky.

If you think that you’re going to be able to make it through shallow water and you just go for it, don’t be surprised if suddenly you find that there’s a little something going on with your engine. If the water becomes murky, you already know that you’re doing some damage to your engine.

Be safe, be careful and most importantly be sure to have fun. A lot of fishers don’t necessarily just go fish in the shallows, so this is basically just something to be able to understand just in case you run into something that you never thought you would have.

It’s never a bad thing to be too prepared. It’s never a bad thing to not go out if the forecast doesn’t look that great. Don’t risk it just for a day of fishing, there are a lot of things that are more important than some fish.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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