A bass boat is a small fishing boat devised and outfitted principally for bass fishing or fishing for other moderately sized fish, frequently in fresh water such as streams, rivers, and lakes. It usually has two motors, an outboard motor for starting and moving post haste from one location to another; and a trolling motor, which propels the boat slowly along the fishing area. Both motors need marine batteries to power them. In this article, we will look at what the bass boat battery setup is like.
Bass Boat Battery Setup
A bass boat needs reliable marine batteries. These are necessary to start and power the boat. There are several types of marine batteries, and they also come in all sizes; from starter batteries meant to start and crank the outboard motor, to deep cycle batteries intended to power trolling motors and other devices.
The 3 types of marine battery
Starting batteries are expressly meant to start outboard and inboard motors with their large amount of marine crank amps (MCA) or cold cranking amps (CCA). Since their main purpose is to crank and start the outboard engine, you will need another battery once the outboard motor is turned off and you switched on to the trolling motor. For this purpose, a deep cycle battery is used.
Starting batteries are designed with more but thinner lead plates to allow for more surface area for that quick and large amount of energy needed for the cranking and starting task. As the engine runs, the alternator replenished the used up energy.
Deep cycle batteries
Deep cycle batteries are specifically intended to supply constant and steady power to 12v electronic devices and engines such as a trolling motor. Rather than delivering a rapid burst of power, deep cycle batteries supply a consistent energy flow until their charge is depleted. Deep cycle batteries can’t crank up and start an engine, you’ll need a starting battery to do it.
Dual purpose batteries
Dual purpose batteries perform the functions of both the starting batteries and the deep cycle batteries. They can supply a large amount of power to crank up an engine at the same time maintaining an adequate reserve power to provide electricity to trolling motors and other electronic devices. Usually, dual-purpose batteries perform adequately in both tasks, but not as well as batteries designed for a single purpose at one or the other task.
What to look for in a bass boat battery
There is a huge variation in the performance and quality of marine batteries, it is important to know the essential features that make a good battery, whether it is a starting battery, a deep cycle battery or a dual purpose battery.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
CCA or cold cranking amps is a criterion for the starting power of a battery. A starting battery with a substantial CCA rating is forceful and dynamic and has the ability to start nearly all kinds of typical engines.
Aside from CCA, .another criterion for the starting power of a battery is marine cranking amps or MCA.
No battery can achieve a perfect CCA rating. But it pays to pick a battery with a starting power more than what is recommended for your engine. A 700 CCA rating or more for a battery is good enough. It can adequately start nearly all small to medium-sized outboard motors.
Reserve capacity or RC is the length of time needed for a fully charged battery to slip below 10.5 volts when discharging 25 amps. RC is measured at an 80°F.temperature. A battery with a high Reserve Capacity will be capable of performing longer.
Maintenance and Design
Outdated lead acid batteries need a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, the new lead-acid batteries using absorbent glass mat (AGM) technology are maintenance-free. AGM batteries are also leak proof so they are safe to install in any position.
Date of Manufacture
The age of a battery is an important consideration. Time affects the effectiveness of a battery as well as its ability to maintain a charge. The longer it stays in the shelf the bigger the possibility that it won’t perform as well as a newer unit. That’s why it’s important to look at the battery’s manufacturing date. Six months or less is a good benchmark.
Choosing a trolling motor battery for a bass boat battery setup
The things to consider in choosing a trolling motor for a bass boat battery setup are; battery type and ampere-hour rating.
For trolling motors, the preferred 12v deep-cycle batteries are AGM batteries and Lead Acid Wet or flooded batteries. Deep cycle batteries are meant frequent discharging and to discharge a small amount of current over a protracted time.
AGM or absorbed glass mat batteries are the newer types of deep cycle batteries. They come tightly sealed, have a longer serviceable life and maintains a charge much longer. An AGM battery could last almost 2 times longer than an ordinary deep cycle battery. Unfortunately, an AGM battery is also more expensive than the ordinary deep cycle battery, at least, two times more. Although more costly, AGM batteries are still the best choice for durability and performance, plus they are maintenance-free.
Wet or flooded lead acid batteries
Wet or flooded batteries are the most common and affordable type of lead acid battery costing less than a hundred dollars. They usually have a serviceable life of one to two years only and are susceptible to spillage and vibration. They also need to be topped with water regularly.
Ampere Hour Rating
An ampere-hour (Ah) or amp hour is the quantity of energy charge in a battery that will tolerate one amp of current to flow for an hour. A battery with an amp hour rating of 100 can provide 100 amp hours of current to a trolling engine. So, if an engine is operating at low speed and drawing 5 amps, its battery could run for 20 hours (100/5=20). Likewise, an engine operating at full speed and drawing 50 amps battery could run for 2 hours ( 100/5=2).
A bass boat battery setup is no different from a battery set up of boats of the same size. It needs a starting battery for its outboard motor and a deep cycle battery for its trolling motor unless it is using a dual purpose battery.