What does a Jack Plate on a Bass Boat do?


When you’re going out on a boat, you definitely want to be able to have what you can that will help you get the best shot that you need, especially if you’re in a tournament of sorts. So, what can a jack plate do to help you better your luck?

A jack plate is a hydraulic system that can raise your motor up, allowing you to use the motor in shallow waters. It does this by creating space between the engine and the transom–and by moving the prop further from the hull turbulence, helping with the propellors bite and optimization.

Now that you know the standard answer for what a jack plate is, what exactly can it do for your boat? We’ll keep answering your questions as we go through this article. We’re going to look at what we can benefit from with a jack plate. From boating in rough water, shallow water, holeshots, and more. Keep on reading to learn.

What does a jack plate do for your boat’s performance?

When you have a jack plate that’s set up and away from the transom, this will significantly help with the handling of your boat. When you’re putting your engine as far down as the jack plate will allow this helps give the propeller more traction in the water.

Upon lifting the engine, you’re able to reduce drag and help the propeller avoid the boat’s turbulence when you’re headed through the water. When you don’t have a lot of drag that’s going on with your boat, that helps to consume less fuel than you would normally with drag.

You can either purchase a hydraulic or an electric-powered jack plate that will help you to change the position of your engine when you’re headed into different types of waters and such.

Jack plates can also help stabilize your boat while it’s running along the water. So if you look through all of these things that we’ve gone through so far, there’s really nothing that can be bad when you’re thinking about installing a jack plate. There are many other ways that a jack plate will help your boat as well. Including in different water circumstances.

Another thing is when you’re wanting to get that holeshot for the tournament when you raise your jack plate to the maximum height, you can take off quicker and get that holeshot.

The fact that you’re able to get better bang for your buck in regards to fuel. With a jack plate, they are able to make it even more economically friendly and that you can trust that you’re not going to be wasting your money when you’ve installed a jack plate. That’s one of the best things that you can get when you’re adding something to your boat. Better mileage.

Although you may need to adjust the jack plate when you’re in rough water, being able to go in smooth water with the engine lifted will help with your fuel burning. Also by being able to adjust the length and depth, you’re able to keep moving through cleaner water which is going to help as well. That’s something that you can always benefit from–going through clean water and having it pass through your engine.

One thing that was said on floridasportfishing.com was: “Watch your gauges and you’ll notice that slightly raising the jack plate without increasing the throttle will increase RPM and overall speed.” The fact that you’re able to just increase your speed by lifting the plate is something that I think is pretty genius.

When you’re out on the water, you’re not necessarily worried about how you get to a certain spot. You’re worried about finding the right spot for fishing and doing what you need to in order to get there. With a jack plate, you’ll be able to get there faster and all while using less fuel.

But like it was said before, you have to be aware of all the things that are going on around you in regards to water pressure, the height of the jack plate, the depth, just being cautious is a good idea. When you’re cautious, there’s no such thing as being overly prepared.

How does a jack plate help in rough water?

You never really know when things are going to turn rough, especially if it didn’t seem like it would when you checked the weather before you left. So, a jack plate can definitely help you when you’re in the rougher water.

If you trim down the jack plate, you’re able to keep your bow up, stay smooth, and avoid smacking into some waves that could cause more problems if you didn’t have a jack plate.

With the jack plate, you’re going to have more reach as well in rough water, which will help you be able to maintain control and continue to move forward through the water.

Some people have suggested that when you’re in rough water you go and make sure that the nose of your boat is up more so you can plane and just know that you’re going to be okay.

You can also get more bite when you’re in rough water and trust that you’re going to be able to work on it and get a better holeshot as well. The way that the propellers work with your jack plate help you to keep moving through that water in a smooth way.

Obviously, if you can avoid the rough water, you definitely want to do that. Even if you think that there’s a chance that you can make it through with your jack plate, or just with your boat, don’t risk it. That’s really just common sense, but at times, we all need to be reminded of that. With the jack plate, you will lower down into the water, allowing for some more drag which can help you slow and stabilize in the rough waters.

How does a jack plate help in shallow water?

If you’re curious how a jack plate can help you in shallow water, there’s a couple of things that you’d probably like to know. If you have a jack plate, this allows you to go in even shallower water than a standard mount for your engine.

When you’re trimming your engine, having a jack plate is going to give you the option for even better fuel economy as well as helping keep your boat up to it’s best performance. Jack plates are able to channel the thrust in the best direction in regards to fuel economy.

If you don’t have a jack plate and you’re headed into shallow water, you have to remember that the propeller is representing the lowest part of your boat in the water. Usually, you need to push the throttles forward, turn the wheel hard, and then use your trimming tabs to keep going forward.

You’re relying on the force from your prop to help push you up and out onto a plane so that you can move out of the shallow water at full speed. With a jack plate, it’s definitely easier than that when you’ve got a jack plate installed on your boat.

With a jack plate, you don’t have to worry about tilting the engine. That’s something that you have to worry about if you don’t have a jack plate. You can run your prop and start-up in even shallower depths than you thought you could. This means that you’re not going to tear up the bottom habitat of the water, or cause damage to your equipment.

A jack plate gives you the chance to be able to raise the skeg and propeller on your boat up higher, which is a great way to ensure that you’re not going to cause damage to your boat or the homes of those creatures below.

When you’re in shallow water, it’s normal for you to want to trim the motor so that nothing happens with your propeller. But when you do this, it causes the thrust to not go in the direction that you want necessarily. So, you really have to pay attention when you’re in the shallows.

Because of this, there are definitely some benefits, especially with safety. A jack plate allows you to have easier access to the shallows as well as a safe way to get up and out of the shallows.

If the fish that you’re looking for goes into the shallows, now you know that you’re going to be able to follow where they go and still be able to get the “big one”. The jack plate helps you to avoid your propeller hitting the bottom of the bed, stirring up the sediment and causing a loss of clarity when you’re trying to catch that fish.

Does a jack plate improve my speed?

It depends on the size of your boat, but with this jack plate now installed, you can find that your boat is getting higher top speeds. The reason for this is because you’re able to adjust the prop and how deep or shallow you want it in the water.

If you’re in pretty calm water, you want to pull up your prop more out of the water, this will help you to get some more speed. Not only will that help in speed, but that will also help you with your fuel usage. Which is always a benefit to any boater.

Because a jack plate allows you to raise and lower your propeller and engine, this helps to be able to increase the speed. Not only will you be able to go faster, but when you have your propeller up, you’re able to put your prop in cleaner water which in turn will help your engine work even better.

With the raising and lowering as well, you’re able to avoid things in the water that could potentially cause some damage to your equipment, as well as being able to adjust the speed rather quickly with the advantage of having the hydraulics and/or electronic. This is a device that’s going to be able to help improve your experience overall on the water.

Pairing your jack plate with some trim tabs can help even more when you’re wanting to gain some more speed and more flexibility on the water. Like we talked about earlier with the clean water, it’s something that you’re really able to notice the difference that it has on your boat, especially in shallow water. So, check it out!

What other advantages will I gain from a jack plate?

If you’re wondering how you’re going to get the Power Poles on the back of the boat, because you now have this plate attached to your boat, don’t fret. You can attach the Power Poles to the plate! So that’s able to help you if you were concerned about not being able to have that feature.

Honestly, when you purchase a jack plate, you won’t have to worry about some incidents where your driveshaft can potentially be snapped. That’s definitely not something that you want. Especially if you’re getting a new boat.

Jack plates can be added to new or old boats so you can either already have one added to your new boat, or you can keep going forward with your old boat and just teach an old dog new tricks.

With a jack plate, it’s also really helpful in creating a better feel and have the operation go smoother. You have to be careful though, because if you’re raising the jack plate too high, you have to keep your eye on the water pressure, or you could risk frying your engine, and that’s definitely something that you don’t want to have happen, especially if you’ve got a new boat.

Raise your performance

As you can see, if you’re someone who has been questioning if you should get a jack plate or not, there are lots of reasons why you should. This article has said how it can not only benefit your boat, but it can also benefit your wallet as well.

Whether or not you want a hydraulic or electronically powered jack plate, that’s up to you. But based on the information that has been provided, you will still get the benefit of maneuvering through the shallows in a way that you never thought you could.

If you’re big into the holeshot, this is a benefit as well. Speed, fuel economy, range, depth, all of these things are added to your experience when you’re out on the water looking for that perfect fishing spot, wanting that win in the tournament, all of these can certainly help with those aspects.

Going out on the water is a calming thing, and it’s definitely something that you would want to be able to know that you can trust as you continue to move forward and hope that you’re going to get what you paid for.

If you’re someone that wants to brave the shallows and see what you missed before, there’s nothing that you can get better than that with a jack plate. You can move forward and even place your Power Poles on the back. With that, you’re able to know that you’re going to be able to have the equipment that you need, as 9well as the ability to go to places that you never thought you would need to.

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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