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Winning or Losing Could Depend on the Propeller

Here's some insight on propping bass boats by Troy Morrow

Gear & Tech How-To
Winning or Losing Could Depend on the Propeller

You can take the finest hull money can buy, hang a monster outboard on the transom, and put the most skilled bass boat driver on the planet behind the wheel. But if you don’t have the right propeller on the engine, prepare to be underwhelmed.

Proper propeller selection is often overlooked, but choosing the right propeller is equally as important as tire selection for a high-performance car. In either case, a poor choice can make for a sluggish response and a terrible driving experience. Not to mention, tournament failure.

Fortunately, correct propping is also one of the most cost-effective ways to get better performance out of your boat. And whether you’re sporting a 20-year-old entry-level rig or the hottest new model, Mercury Propellers has the wheel that can help you get the optimized balance of holeshot, boat handling, and top speed. In fact, Mercury propellers are widely considered the gold standard in bass boat props – so much so that you frequently see them on boats that are powered by non-Mercury engines.

Troy Morrow, 48, a nine-year Mercury-sponsored FLW Touring Pro, has won four tournaments and has qualified five times for the Forrest Wood Cup championships, finishing fifth in 2010 and eighth in 2012 and 2013. Morrow of Eastanollee, Ga., is a 32-time Top 10 finisher and has earned nearly $1 million. With that kind of success, it’s probably no coincidence he puts a lot of thought into his propeller selection and how that can give him a competitive advantage.

“The first thing you want to do is max your engine’s potential,” he said. “You want to choose a pitch that allows you to be pretty close to your max rpm at full throttle, with the boat loaded like you usually run it. That includes two people, all your gear, even full live wells. No sense in running it empty because that’s not how you use it.”

Once you’ve determined the propeller pitch you need, you can start experimenting with different models to get the running characteristics that fit your boat and the conditions you’ll typically face.

“Some are made for lift, some for speed,” Morrow said. “I run a Ranger, so I want a lot of lift. If you’re on big water, you’re going to want to run a four- or five-blade so you can keep the boat’s nose out of the waves; it allows you to run at a lower speed and still keep that nose high. A lot of tour pros carry different props for different conditions.”

Morrow usually travels with three propellers – for redundancy and varied conditions.

“I usually go with a four-blade (Mercury) Fury and use a three-blade Fury as my backup,” he said. “And I carry a three-blade Tempest Plus as my ‘backup backup’ – it’s a higher pitch, and I usually use it in cold weather when you can take advantage of that cold air to get a little more speed. But I usually opt for a lower pitch four-blade because I usually don’t run that far, and I like getting up on the pad quicker.”

He stressed that even if your buddy has dialed in the same engine and hull, you should be prepared to work with your Mercury dealer if you want to find the perfect prop, because you may load your boat differently or want a little different driving experience. A Mercury dealership that caters to the bass anglers will not only have a good recommendation for a starting point, and it’ll also have a wide selection of Mercury Propeller models and pitches in stock. Want to learn more? Visit Mercury's Prop Selector tool.

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