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Good way to preserve boat engines: Slow down

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POSTED May 1, 2009 3:11 a.m.
A common gripe among boat owners is the dependability of their engines.

If you were to hang around boat owners long enough you would most likely hear them favor one brand of engines over another.

Personally, I’ve had good luck with my outboard engines regardless of the brand. What I believe to be the reason behind my good luck is that I rarely run my engine at its maximum.

I’ve always believed that just because an engine can push a boat over 70 mph it doesn’t necessarily mean a person should be going 70 mph everywhere they go.

Imagine driving your car at its maximum speed all over the place. Your car engine would definitely not last as long as if you drove it between 60-70 percent of its maximum speed. Most new outboard engines have a recording device that monitors how long the engine has been running at certain rpm’s.

If you’re looking into purchasing a newer used engine, taking it to an outboard diagnostic center is highly recommended, as engines that are less stressed generally last longer.     

Delta Report
There are not many places I’d rather be than fishing the Delta right now.

Fishing has been great, as baitfish can be seen throughout the system. Big fish are still being caught by anglers fishing beds, but a lot of post-spawn fish are also being caught. Anglers not sight fishing are tossing Senko’s, tubes, and chatter baits when the wind picks up. The topwater frog bite has also started to pick as spawning fish will attack predators that swim above their nests.

There have also been some reports of anglers doing well trolling broken back rebels in Whites Slough for Striped Bass up to10 pounds. Recently, I witnessed several schools of small striped bass feeding on the surface.

New Melones Lake
All the reports of trout being caught have been from those trolling deep from 25-50 feet. Not many bank fishermen are catching trout because they have vacated the shallows. Bass fishing has really started to pick up for a lot of anglers. Many fish have made their way shallow and have become very aggressive.

Anglers have reported catching anywhere from 20-30 fish per outing. An increased number of fish have also been seen lately preparing to spawn or spawning in the backs of coves.

Lake Don Pedro
The king salmon bite is improving for anglers trolling around Fleming Bay between 50-70 feet deep. Trout fishing has also been good for anglers trolling in the top thirty feet of water early in the day.

Some anglers are even reporting catching a few Kokanee mixed in while trolling for trout. Bass fishing is on and off as recent weather has moved many of the spawning fish deeper. The key to catching numbers right now is downsizing with smaller plastics.   

New Hogan Lake
With the increase in fuel prices how can anyone pass up this lake?

The fishing is great, as there are a lot of bass shallow up on beds. Small worms and creature baits are working well for those fishing for bedding fish. There are also schools of bluegill making there way into the backs of coves as they are soon to spawn themselves.

Lake Camanche
Trolling the west end of the lake continues to be the best technique for trout. Anglers are catching trout from Hat Island to the Dam. Bass fishing continues to improve as many fish can be found shallow.

Anglers are catching them right now on a variety of different baits. Crappie fishing has also started to improve, as anglers are catching crappie while fishing underwater bushes or trees with crappie jigs.

Tip of the Week
For those of you who don’t believe in paying a lot of money for boat wipe down chemicals, regular Lemon Pledge works great for keeping your boat looking nice and clean.

I’ve been using it for years without any negative side effects. I even use it to wipe down my seats and engine cowling.

What’s nice about Pledge is that it also has a pleasant smell to it. Just be careful when stepping in and out of the boat as the surface will be slick. I also was told to stick to Lemon Pledge as some of the other scents supposedly are bad for the finish.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail

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