View Full Version : Motor Backwash - problem or not?

07-18-2017, 09:07 PM
I drive over and around with the big motor looking for my brushpile and when I find it, I throw out a buoy or spotlock on it. My buddy swears we scaring some of the fish from the brush and biting with the motor backwash. On my Lowrance HDS down scan and side scan, I can see the backwash go all the way down to the brush in 14-18' or deeper. His thought may be true. Do you think it hurts the bite?

07-18-2017, 09:17 PM
If wash from the the motor is reaching that far down then it may be scaring the fish. Had an old timer clean up dock behind me. I would catch one or two and his average was 5 or 6. I ask him what he was doing that I wasn't. His answer he was dropping his anchors to hold position I was using the trolling motor. When I started anchoring my catch percentage per dock went up. Big fish moving around will move some water so there may be some merit to it.

07-19-2017, 05:24 AM
not sure myself , I imagine the disruption makes a difference ,but then again is it a negative difference or a positive one . folks used to tell us to be stealthy in the timber and use long rods and don't get to close to the timber or you would spook the fish . we hammered trees with the boat a many a times and yanked fish right off the tree with 5 foot rods within seconds of the impact . it might serve to "wake" them up per say and depending on how much boat traffic they see it may not bother them much at all .....in my case the jury is somewhat out

07-19-2017, 06:56 AM
Not sure there is any real science to support one technique over another. I remember old timers swearing that if you toss a small handful of pebbles to evoke curiosity it supposedly would draw crappie in. I too have drifted into and bumped laydowns with little or no impact on the bite. I am sometimes a bit clumsy and noisy in the boat making noise dropping things or stumbling around...and the bite is there. For some reason I still believe approaching a site quietly is preferable...maybe my superstition :dono I normally try to drift to a site with the motor off. If necessary, I will nominally use the trolling motor and use a home made noose to quietly grab and secure the boat to a laydown. 270292

07-19-2017, 08:11 AM
I got to go with ketchn on this I don't think it's hurt you most of the time. Maybe in shallower water say 5ft or less. I've banged into dock trees and keep catching fish but on shallow bush they will quit on you some times. It's really hard to say one way or the other.

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07-19-2017, 09:50 AM
One thing I do know about water moving due to our floods last year. Every time they opened the flood gates the crappie quit biting, when they closed and just the normal generators running, they bite! Open gates was enough of water moving to not be what they normally have here and seems if you add any more movement they quit! So I suspect if they feel water moving more than usual, it spooks them. All I know is what I saw happen here last year, but not a real truth finder with no questions left, lol!


Cane Pole
07-19-2017, 11:25 AM
I believe over the years that the fish now can distinguish between a boat and a alligator. You know, kinda like turtles pinging a bobber at a distance then submerging and paddling over to eat yo minner.

07-19-2017, 01:58 PM
I can't believe you would have 18 ft of prop wash for one. Most of its force pushes back not down. My 150 merc only have about 4 ft of prop wash at idle to slightly over idle. Maybe trim up more? That would have to help I would think. Most piles I fish are 12-15fow. I always idle over them, throw the buoy,then circle back, kill the motor, and fish. Usually the first fish is in the boat within 2 minutes and it isn't uncommon to catch 25 per pile. I tend to think of it like squirrel hunting. If he sees me and runs into his hole he will stay there for quite some time. I will always walk fairly loudly directly past him so he "hears me leaving". Within 5 minutes he usually comes back out now the threat is gone and I plink him from 30 yards past his hole. Fish hear boat traffic all day and in my mind after I drive over them they think I'm gone. That is when I sneak in on the troller for the kill (or at least catch). Some of our best areas are where guys are running over the top of us all day (mostly because nobody else is dumb enough to fish in 4 ft waves)

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07-20-2017, 10:57 PM
I believe prop wash affects fishing. Banging into objects is not like prop wash. Crappie prefer to stay out of the current, your prop wash is current. Banging into trees and such is nothing more than a noise and waves make noise and move trees. Banging doesn't make current. You may still catch fish, but you aren't catching as many as you could. They will move away until the current is gone, and then come back. Ever come back to a spot that stopped producing only to catch more fish?

Another factor is your shadow, or rather your boats shadow. Is the shadow on the cover? Try repositioning your boat and move the shadow off the cover.

07-21-2017, 10:32 AM
I try to think of it in perspective. I think it really depends on how much pressure the lake sees. Are the fish used to noise and moving water or is it a lake that is rarely fished. I watched Whitey Outlaw purposefully run his skiff into lay downs with the big motor and fish them with the big motor running. His theory was that it spooks and agitates the fish so all the fish tucked deep in the cover run out a few feet and he picks them off. Granted that was on Santee Cooper and it sees quite a fair amount of pressure.

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