Hints & Tips on Using Your Bait Boat

Bait Boats tick many boxes for the enthusiastic angler, everything from boys (and girls!) toys to improving catches through improved bait placement and accuracy.

The following hints and tips are intended to help make using your bait boat more enjoyable and successful and will hopefully help you avoid the mistakes that we had to make as novices.

Your Bait Boat Hints and Tips

Never reverse your bait boat while your line is attached. Unless you have a boat with water pumps or an excellent weed guard, the act of reversing your boat can cause your line to picked up by your propellers and get tangled. Best not to do it at all and if you over shoot just stop the boat and tighten your line to pull your bait boat back to the position or before the position.

Take care with twin propellor bait boats. Twin props give you great manoeuvrability, but do so by reversing one of the propellers for tight turns which runs the risk on tangling your line around the prop. Just take it easy with the transmitter stick and don't throw full left or right stick while taking your rig out.

Always turn on your Transmitter before your bait boat/receiver. This is standard with all radio controls as turning on your receiver first can cause unpredictable results, such as bait dumping and the act of turning on the transmitter after the receiver can also cause unpredictable behaviour.

Use a heavy rig tube or leader to reduce the risk of prop tangles. Just adding rig tube will reduce the risk of your line tangling around the prop, but tungsten or other weighted rig tubes make tangles extremely unlikely. I am not an advocate of safe zone leaders or lead core, but both of these serve the same purpose and reduce the chance of tangling your line around the propellor.

Use a line marker for accurate rig positioning. One of the most effective ways of using your bait boat is to repeatedly positioning your rig and freebies in the same spot. Your bait boat makes this easy as all you need to do is find the spot to fish with an echo sounder or marker rod and then choose a far bank marker, take your bait boat out to the spot and drop your rig right on the money, then just add a marker to your line (either a small piece of electricians tape or tie some marker elastic). Then too put your rig exactly back on the same spot all you need to do is to run your bait boat out towards the far bank marker while watching the spool of your reel and drop your bait as soon as the marker comes off, simple! Just a tip: pick your far bank marker from the same position you will be standing to watch the spool while taking your bait boat out.

Fully charged Transmitter/Receiver batteries. Don't take the rick of loosing control of your bait boat with sickly batteries, always change them out for new ones or fully charged batteries if you have the slightest doubt in their charge.

Always use fully charged main batteries. I know this sound obvious and it is more on a problem with some boats than others, but as soon as you boat appears to be struggling, change or charge the main batteries. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) or jelly cells as they are sometimes called, are extremely forgiving and tend to tell you they are running low by gradually loosing power and they will usually get you back to the bank with a little tender persuasion, just use small stick movements to conserve what power is left. Other types of batteries (NiCad and Ni-Mh) can be less forgiving and will just go from enough power to no power very quickly, leaving you with a drifting bait boat.

Rescuing your bait boat. If the worst happens and you do end up with a drifting bait boat, don't panic! Given time and a little luck it will drift into the bank where you can get it, failing this it will need rescuing with either another bait boat or casting over it. Casting over your bait boat is achievable especially if you have a suitable big treble with points removed, which are available commercially for just this purpose. Unless you know the water to be shallow, I would not recommend wading or swimming, as the retrieval of your bait boat is not worth your life.

Your bait boat and weed. Weed is the major weakness of bait boats by either blocking the water intakes or wrapping around the prop shafts. Water jet powered bait boats are not immune to the effects of weed and suffer from blocked intakes, but if you have a very weedy venue to fish they will give better reliability than propellor driven boats. Weed guards help reduce the effects of weed, but also make it more difficult to clear weed that does get around a propellor. weed. My preference is to have a single guard in line with the propellor shaft, primarily to stop line fouling the prop, which makes it easy to clear any weed that does get wrapped around. If you do loose control through weed, try reversing thrust (especially with a jet powered boat) or apply power every time your bait boat is pointing towards you. Don't just charge around trying to trow it off as you will probably just make it worse!

Rain and Moisture. Nothing shortens the life of your bait boat as quickly as water on the electrics and it is always best to keep the water on the outside of your bait boat, where it belongs! Most bait boats are sealed against bad weather and will survive a little wave action without taking on water, but it is always wise to check inside your bait boat after a particularly wet usage, or if it gets left out in the rain, and mop out any water that has made it inside. Take special care with your transmitter in the rain as they are NOT waterproof and will fail if they get wet. Use a waterproof cover (or even a plastic bag) if you plan to use your bait boat in the rain.

The best advice I can give you would be to use your bait boat with consideration to other water users and anglers and have fun!, that's what we are there for.