As far as fishing equipment goes, bait boats are amongst the most exciting bits of kit you’ll probably ever get to purchase. However choosing a bait boat is not an easy decision given the range, prices and sometimes confusing specifications. Here are a few pointers to help steer your decision and to just as importantly help you maintain your bait boat once purchased, keeping it prime for the water.
Propeller VS Jet Propulsion (Impeller)? A Propeller is an external outboard motor, whilst jet propulsion uses internal jets to propel the boat. Jets such as on the Technicat are considered superior as they are usually faster, quieter and thus more stealthy, as well as being effective over weedy terrain. As such jet propelled models tend to be more expensive.
However propeller powered bait boats are not without speed or stealth and can usually do the same job just as effectively. They can struggle in more weedy terrain so weed guards such as those found on the Waverunner Bait Boat are a great addition worth looking out for.
Size – Thinking about the type of conditions you’ll be using the boat in could save you in the long run when it comes to size and design. Generally, taller models fare better on wave prone venues but are more susceptible to the wind conditions. Shorter models such as the Procat MK2 will be less susceptible to the wind but will fare worse in wavey conditions. Obviously size also effects bait capacity, but some boats have the ability to carry bait and rigs in separate chambers and this is certainly worth considering if you use multiple rods fished in different locations. Size is also important when it comes to PORTABILITY as some models are much bigger than others.
Range – If you plan on fishing particularly large venues then you must take into account the range different bait boats can reach. This can vary dramatically (from about 100m to over 1500 metres) and the last thing any angler wants is their boat sailing off uncontrollably into the distance!
Battery Usage – Some bait boats, particularly the Angling Technics range, use a lot more battery than others and can run out of power quickly. A power supply to recharge at the venue is not usually an option, so its worth considering that for some bait boats you can get solar chargers, incredibly useful when down by a venue for a long session. There are also other extras that come with some bait boats…
Added Extras – For some models you can purchase extras that bring more functionality to the table. GPS systems, Echo Finder Attachments, and solar chargers, make it easier to find the fish, drop baits in exactly the same spots, map out the features in the water, and keep your boat powered and ready for action. Not all models are designed for these extra features so its worth sussing out before making a choice.
Problems & Servicing? Depending upon your confidence and engineering skills, some anglers might like to take a hands on approach to fixing a fault with their bait boat, particularly if they are already at the venue. However some bait boats are more Self-Serviceable than others (such as the Waverunner), while others, particularly the Angling Technics range, will need to be sent back to the manufacturer in order to fix.
A bait boat should last in your fishing tackle armoury for several years so its important to consider that during this time, the requirements and fishing venues you use your bait boat on may change.
Bait Boat Maintenance
Several manufactures such as Angling Technics offer a maintenance service for their bait boats which is perhaps worth taking after periods of prolonged use. It is also worth following these basic guidelines for keeping your bait boat and its performance optimal.
- After use ensure the boat is fully dried, otherwise water corrodes connections and the electrics.
- Leave boat in open airy conditions when not in use, particularly when its hot, to avoid condensation build up.
- Similarly ensure the handset is kept dry.
- There certainly seems a lack of consistency in the build quality of many bait boats. If you do encounter a problem contact the Manufacturer immediately. There have been a few complaints but generally the service from manufactures such as GrandSlam, Angling Technics and others is very good and helpful.
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