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Outboard motors keep growing

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Apr 8, 2021

Capt. George Tunison

Every time I open a boating magazine the outboard motors keep growing. I can remember when a 200 HP was a big deal, now 300 and 400 HP V6 outboards are common. The 300 Yamaha is a big seller in this area, especially in the single engine bay boat market and like other motors of this size, the price tags are in the $30,000 range, plus tax.

If you need something a little bigger, I just found an ad for Mercury and your new motor; the new V-12 600 HP Verado model with a base price of “only” $77,000! Supposedly, it’s the world’s largest outboard. This twin contra-rotating dual prop engine sports a two-speed automatic transmission for low end power and high speed fuel efficiency.  When you turn the steering wheel on this motor it doesn’t move, just the lower unit turns.

A little research finds an even higher horsepower motor that claims to be the biggest production outboard in the combustion world; the 627SV by Seven Marine, a giant, supercharged V8 peaking at 627 horsepower and weighing in at a monster 1,094 pounds.

While the manufactures keep increasing the size of gas powered outboards, other companies are getting on the electric outboard bandwagon. Norway-based Evoy will soon be offering an electric outboard it claim is the same power and size as todays 150 HP gas powered engines, although I’ve seen no data on how far a charge will last or how much the battery packs will weigh and, their space requirements.

As research keeps improving the efficiency of batteries and electric motors, electric outboards may be the future and eventually may become mandatory in many situations.

Standing at the boat ramp on a busy season weekend observing the multi-colored sheen of gas and oil products on the water’s surface from leaking outboard engines and various bearing greases, then watching the tide carry it out into the pass is a sad sight to behold. Thinking of just how many more boats will be on the water over the next five years as more and more relocate to Florida and Cape Coral is downright scary.

I can see it now — it’s 2027. If your house number ends with an 8 you’ll be able to fish between 2-4 p.m. every third week of the month, on Tuesdays and Fridays only, in section “Q” of Matlacha Pass. Please fish within your clearly marked section only. Strictly enforced. Electric outboards only.

At least the water will be cleaner as we cast over each other’s boats.

Meanwhile, if you’re going out for your first tarpon adventure and don’t know what bait to soak on the bottom, here are some suggestions. The high jumping tarpon is actually a scavenger and can be caught on a large variety of dead baits — early spring local anglers like mackerel or mullet for the arriving migratory fish. Others swear by fresh cut catfish, especially when fishing the Caloosahatchee. If you have a source, shad may be the hottest bait you can put on a hook when bottom fishing for spring tarpon.

If you like fishing live baits under floats, mullet, ladyfish, white baits, crabs and pinfish are top choices for tarpon with some old salts still preferring a live “trimmed” catfish wiggling down below.

As for lures, traditional ones like large Bomber Long A minnows and other similar hard baits get the nod. Do yourself and the fish a favor when using these baits. Always remove the treble hooks and replace with singles.

Trying to remove a deeply inhaled two or three treble hooked lure from a bucking thrashing 100-pound plus fish is simply dangerous, especially at night. If that fish breaks the line during the fight with a mouth full of treble hooks, it will usually die.

Getting deeply treble hooked while still attached to an unhappy tarpon? Don’t be that guy!

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.