Trimming the outboard motor on your bass boat is about so much more than just protecting your propeller. Properly using trim on a bass boat will actually change the way that your boat glides through the water as you travel from one fishing spot to the next. You can make your ride a lot more comfortable and a lot more efficient with the trim button.

How to trim a bass boat properly?

There are 5 dead-simple steps for trimming your bass boat motor properly. The 5 steps are:

  1. Consider installing a blinker-style trimmer for easy use.
  2. Start with the motor trimmed down.
  3. Accelerate and begin trimming up.
  4. Avoid trimming the motor up too high.
  5. Look at the water stream coming out of the motor.

You can trim your bass boat motor up in a way that will make travel on the water a lot more efficient and comfortable.

I will also tell you about how you can easily install a trim system that is much easier to use than the up and down switch on the throttle lever. I then will finish up by describing a telltale sign that your outboard motor is overheating.

Why you should trim your bass boat

Trimming a bass boat enhances its speed, comfortability, fuel efficiency, and safety while in travel. Many anglers are unaware of the fact that their engine’s tilt function actually can be utilized to improve the boat’s performance while you skid across the water.

The trim function of the engine is only thought of as a control to keep the propeller from getting busted up in shallow water.

Proper bass boat trimming techniques can vastly enhance a bass boat’s travel capabilities. It is not uncommon for anglers to have to traverse long distances to get to their fishing spots.

Some of the most popular trophy bass fishing destinations include sprawling impoundments such as Lake Guntersville in Alabama, which is 75 miles long.

Proper trimming reduces the hull friction, as is described in this article appearing on the Bassmaster website. Trimming your motor reduces hull friction. This means that your outboard motor will have to work much less hard, saving fuel.

Traveling as safely, efficiently, and comfortably as possible will not only help you stay dry, it will also reduce the amount of money you have to spend on fueling your boat between long treks.

Traditionally the tilt function on the bass boat’s motor has been controlled by a switch atop the throttle lever. However, recent developments in boating technology have included a trim adjuster at the boat steering wheel for added convenience and safety.

1.   Consider installing a wheel-mounted trim system in your bass boat

Some newer bass boats come with a surprisingly convenient feature: a wheel-mounted trim system. The wheel-mounted trim system allows you to adjust the tilt of your outboard motor without having to reach for the throttle lever.

Think of this feature as a blinker for your car, because that is how simple it is to use. 

Even if you have an older boat, you can easily install a wheel-mounted trim system at your center console. Make sure that any parts you buy for your boat are compatible with your model.

One wheel-mounted system that may be compatible with your bass boat’s steering wheel is this Dometic SeaStar Pro Trim Bezel Switch (view on Amazon).

Tools needed for installation:

  • Socket Set
  • Needle nose Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire Connecters
  • Gear Puller
  • Drill & Drill Bits
  • Small Pry Bar

There aren’t detailed instructions in this post on how to do this for the sake of staying focused on how to process of trimming your boat motor. However, a clear and concise set of instructions can be viewed in this video put together by Mudgett’s Guide Service.

2.   Start out with your motor trimmed all the way down

Prior to accelerating your boat, you will want to make sure that your boat motor is trimmed all the way down, as seen in this video below.  By keeping your motor trimmed all the way down before hitting the throttle, you will enable your boat’s hull to dig into the water more quickly.

What next?

If you have just launched your bass boat, make sure that you are in deep enough water before fully trimming down. There are some situations in which your motor should not be fully trimmed down due to the risk of busting your propeller. Once you reach water that is deep enough and free of submerged hazards, you are free to trim the motor down fully.

After you accelerate, you should notice that the hull of the bass boat is on a plane with the water. You will not begin trimming your outboard engine until you have reached a desirable speed. This will be the speed that you will be looking to maintain consistently for most of your trip across the lake.

3.   Begin trimming your motor up once you have accelerated

Once you have accelerated, you will begin trimming your boat up slowly. You will notice the stern of the boat starting to dig into the water while the bow or front of the boat is beginning to jut upwards and out of the water.

Pay attention to the wake at the side of the boat to determine when you should stop trimming your motor up. You will know that the stern of the boat is in the right spot when the wake at the side of the boat begins to shorten back. The bow of the boat should not be out of the water enough to not be producing a wake.

This is where having a wheel-mounted trim system really comes in handy. It is more difficult to reach over to make these adjustments with the trim switch on the throttle lever, particularly when you are traveling at high speeds.

4.   Avoid trimming your bass boat motor up too high

You should stop trimming your motor up as soon as the wake from the bow has disappeared from alongside the boat. Trimming your bass boat motor upwards too far will contribute to its own set of problems.

Trimming the bass boat motor up too high will allow air to be sucked up into the engine. Your outboard engine needs to be able to suck up water from the lower unit so that the motor does not get overheated.

You can actually trim your motor up so high that the lower unit of the motor is up and out of the water at least a portion of the time. The reason that the motor trims up so high is to protect the propeller from getting damaged when you are going through very shallow water.

5.   You can easily tell if you trimmed too high

Look back at the motor to make sure that water is shooting out the side of the motor in a stream. This is the water that is being used to keep the motor from overheating. If you don’t notice any water shooting out of the motor, trim the motor down until you do see a steady stream of water shooting out the side of the motor.

You can also look at the gauges on your center console if you have any. There should be a gauge that shows how much water pressure is being supplied to your outboard engine. The manufacturer of your motor should have specific recommendations for the ideal water pressure range.

You might also like…

If you enjoyed this bass boat guide, then you might also be interested in some of the following additional guides on the blog.