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Boat control/ iPilot performance and kicker questions


chowder

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Ok, my off season, walleye and river boat is an older 22' Crestliner Sabre SST outboard (I also have an older 25' Hard top Crestliner i/o kicker stup for main season Ontario). Hank at L&M did a repower to a 200 hp Optimax saltwater model before it even went into the water after finding the hull (which wasnt easy). He also installed a 72" Minn Kota 110 lb thrust 36 volt iPilot bow mount. I've been fishing with this boat now since March and I'm considering the following issues:

1.) There are times in early browns/ early salmon season (I work out of Wilson/Olcott) when, if it's rough the bow mount can struggle to maintain speed.

2.) Although the Merc has performed flawlessly so far, it is not a new motor (paid $4000 for it) and I have concerns about getting back with customers on board in the event of a failure.

3.) I am not sure that it is an ideal practice to subject the bowmount to long bouts of running 'hard' to troll but I don't really know?

4.) I have concerns that a 4 stroke 9.9 hp size kicker even at very low throttle would make the iTroll unable to perform as the autopilot.

 

So, I'm tumbling around a number of possibilities and would love to hear from anybody with experience trying any of these things: 

1. Adding a transom mount 80lb thrust electric with separate batteries from bow mount ( would be very quiet- which I love! and contribute some extra umpfh to get back and wouldn't overwhelm the bow mount's ability to provide autopilot function and the price is right ($500-600)

2. Adding a 4-6 hp 4 stroke kicker . This would have more ass to get back in the event of an issue w/ the Optimax but I'm guessing it would not overwhelm the iPilot bow mount and so I'd still have an autopilot. This option would cost around $1000 and it would not be quiet

3. Adding a 9.9 hp 4 stroke kicker. This option has pros and cons for sure: it would have significant superior performance in the event of needing backup but it would contibute a lot of transom weight to a boat that spends a lot of time on the Niagara river drifting in challenging situations. It would be quieter than a single cylinder 4-6 hp but it would also be quite expensive at somewhere around $2400+. i also have concerns that using it for trolling in the rougher water conditions that challenge the bow mount it might overwhelm the ability of the iPilot to effectively perform as an iPilot. 

Anybody got experiences with this conundrum? 

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I troll the fingerlakes mostly in all types of conditions from flat to heavy chop in 10-15 MPH winds using an 80lb thrust Terrova with I pilot. I run my 115 Vmax SHO at idle at 2.2 to 3.5 MPH and the Terrova has no problems maneuvering the boat at all. (18' Starcraft ). I run just the bow motor when I want to keep at 2.0MPH or below

 

Edited by Bad_Influence
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Posted (edited)

Thanks, that tells me quite a bit about the iPilot’s capabilities. I will try the iPilot in conjunction with the 200 Optimax and see how it steers that. The problem with doing that on Erie for eyes is that at idle the Optimax pushes the boat at 2.2 to 2.4 so there isn’t any room to have the 110 lb thrust Minn Kota turning at all. Guess I need to decide how much weight I want to add to the transom and how much money I can justify throwing at this situation 

Edited by chowder
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On erie the 9.9 is the main set up for tournament style boats. Most guys run there kicker just above idle or whatever speed they want and just lock it to steer straight then use the ipilot for steering and spot lock. My 9.9 mercury I have to walk back to the end of the boat to see the exhaust stream to hear it running. You'll use way less gas and help keep alot of hours off the big motor and maintenance is alot cheaper also.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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6 hours ago, jmyers8 said:

On erie the 9.9 is the main set up for tournament style boats. Most guys run there kicker just above idle or whatever speed they want and just lock it to steer straight then use the ipilot for steering and spot lock. My 9.9 mercury I have to walk back to the end of the boat to see the exhaust stream to hear it running. You'll use way less gas and help keep alot of hours off the big motor and maintenance is alot cheaper also.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

Definitely the best setup. Both from an efficiency standpoint and a safety standpoint out on big water. Sure its a bit more expensive but may save you in the long haul if you are out often.

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After talking to a number of people I have decided to go with the Tohatsu MFS 9.9 EEFTL. This is a tiller, EFi motor with elec start and power trim, this model also has the 4 blade High thrust prop. It weighs 118 lbs. I'm planning to use the simple steering connector available from Cabelas to link steering from the Optimax to the kicker. I am really hoping that the early Lake Ontario brown trout fishing and the NY portion of the Lake Erie Walleye fishery improve significantly over this past season's difficulties or I'm probably gonna regret dumping money into the outboard boat but I guess it will be good to have a gas powered backup for the Optimax...

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