We get asked a lot of questions about outboard power choices for the Calusa Pro and the Scout Skiff and work through what is best for each specific new customer and their mission on a daily basis so we thought this might make a good blog topic.
Let's start with the standard - 20 hp outboard prop power. This is the most versatile, lightest and actually least expensive choice. For years, our customers have reported speeds for a fully loaded out Causa Pro of 27mph - thats with a stock, 3 blade aluminum prop. The skiff is really designed for this powerplant and it is a hard to beat combination. With the Towee hull design that keeps the skiff riding high on the water, many of our river anglers find themselves running sections that were previously thought of a "jet only" with their props. Keep in mind that this activity does require a certain measure of experience and tolerance for prop maintenance and eventual regular replacement if it is done on a regular basis.
Yamaha, Suzuki, Tohatsu - they're all building great motors right now. We do stay away from the Honda 20s as they are still carbureted and we don't really see the point of paying top dollar for 1996 technology. Also, while we are big fans of stainless props in general, we really don't see much of a benefit to high performance custom props on these small outboards. We, and almost all of our pro guides, generally run aluminum 3 blade props.
We do get a fair number of question about using smaller than recommended outboards. First, do not even consider going to a smaller outboard because you think that that small weight savings will have any effect at all on performance. The boat really doesn't know the difference between 75lbs and 125lbs back there. I do know that this a factor on some of the boat/canoe hybrids but not with our skiffs. However, we do have customers who build skiffs specifically for a few specific horsepower restricted fisheries - I'm thinking about one awesome redfish spot in Florida in particular. The Calusa, equipped with a 9.8 hp - that's less than half the recommended horsepower folks - will plane out with two large adults and gear and net speeds of 14-15 mph. One customer reported speeds of 20 mph, lightly loaded and alone with a 9.8 using a Shaw Wing on the outboard but we have not tried this ourselves. Bob Clouser started using a 9.8 on his Calusa on the rocky waters of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania before moving South to explore the waters of Central Florida and has been quite pleased with this set up over the years. To sum it up, while smaller outboards really do not take advantage of the capabilities of the Towee, it can be a workable option for specific applications.
As we have covered outboard jet and surface drive choices extensively in earlier blogs, I will just summarize with the fact that we are huge fans of the smaller, lightweight jets. We do have a lot of customers who chose the bigger and heavier Mercury 25 jet and love them but we see better performance from the older, more powerful and lighter 2 stroke jets (yes, they are still around,can still be found and are super reliable). If I were building a new one for myself, I would probably look into one of the new lightweight Yamaha F25s and order a jet pump from Outboardjets.com. This gives you a modern 4 stroke in a lightweight package.
So there you have it, our latest thoughts on power choices for the hunter or angler who wants to leave the others behind. If you have questions or want to discuss where your new Towee can take you, give us a call at 931-473-4860 or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.