How to Handle Big Water with Your Outboard

Elite Series pro Chris Zaldain shares some big water outboard motor operation pointers that’ll help your overall boat control and safety.

Common sense and the right equipment are the rules of the game when it comes to boating on big water. Performance watercraft, like competitive bass boats, are designed to be paired with short shaft outboards. This is fine in calm conditions to modest waves, but you’ll gain better handling characteristics in big water by mounting your outboard to a hydraulic jack plate.

Chris Zaldain demonstrates this on Minnesota’s windswept Mille Lacs Lake. His Yamaha V MAX SHO is paired with a T-H Marine ATLAS Hydraulic Jack Plate, which allows for raising and lowering the engine in the water column. Chris very clearly explains how this vertical adjustability helps in both big waves and shallow water situations.

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