Today as I was driving from Stuart to my shop in Jupiter I noticed that our fuel prices are once again over the $3.20 mark.
Boating and fishing are inherently expensive hobbies, but fuel prices have really created a situation that is unmanageable for many boat owners.
Here are a few tips to help you save fuel and hopefully give you more opportunities to enjoy your boat.
First, give yourself more time to get where you're going and throttle back. Most boats have a sweet spot in the 3,000 to 4,000 rpm range. Going above that sweet spot, by even 1,000 rpm, can lower your fuel economy by 30 percent.
Secondly, remove unnecessary items from your boats. Lowering the weight of your boat will give more fuel economy, especially when on plane.
Next, make certain the props are the right size for your boat and in pristine condition. A prop too large or small will burn more gas and a worn or chipped prop will act like an under-inflated tire dropping fuel economy by up to 50 percent.
Lastly, do the speed limit when towing your boat. I tested this with my truck and learned that I can get up to 5 mpg more by obeying the speed limit and avoiding high-speed acceleration. Boating is expensive, but you can save money on fuel costs if you are willing to put in a bit of effort and employ these tips.
Offshore report: I hope the early forecasts are wrong and the weather will be good for the first weekend in March. We are forecast to have scattered thunderstorms and mostly cloudy conditions, but that may change.
The sailfish bite has slowed offshore, but they are still around. As the fish get more difficult to find, trolling will become your best option. Trolling dead ballyhoo on skirts may also yield kingfish and dolphin, as our water is unseasonably warm. Keep a spinning rod with a good cobia jig ready as the fish are still in the area with schools being reported from the beaches to 90 feet of water.
Yellowtail and mutton are on the wrecks and reefs, but bring your tape measure, as most fish are not legal size, yet.
Inshore report:The jetties and rivers are producing a good snook bite this time of year. Most fish are small, but there are plenty of keepers, if you put in the time. I would avoid Jupiter Inlet in the upcoming months as they have set up the dredge equipment, which will likely have fish seeking new spots in the Intracoastal and on the beaches.
Permit are biting at night when the tide is almost low or just incoming. Several anglers are also reporting a late season tarpon migration from the inlets. These fish are making their last push to warmer waters to spawn. Tarpon are attracted to live bait such as sand perch and blue runners, but will eat a plug if presented correctly. The fish I have seen on the beaches are in the 70- to 150-pound class so get ready for a fight if you hook one.
Tight lines, crystal clear waters and sunny days to all.
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Rob Fielding is an addicted angler and the owner of Sharkey's Tackle in Jupiter. For more information call (561)630-3100 or e-mail Rob.Fielding@SharkeysTackle.com.