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This week's Feature Blog

Do I Need Tabs?

By: Mark Romanack


The rougher the water gets, the more tabs help to keep the boat level and running dry.


​More and more these days we are seeing aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats equipped with either factory provided or after market trim tabs. For those who may not be familiar with these accessories, they are designed to level the boat port and starboard when on plane. Leveling the boat while on plane serves some critically important purposes. First off, leveling the boat while on plane will provide a smoother and drier ride for the occupants of the boat. When a boat lists to one side or the other, the boat will typically pound hard on the chime, generating a rough and uncomfortable ride. Because the boat is lower on one gunwale than the other, waves and spray tend to come over the side, soaking the occupants in the process.


​A second benefit of leveling the boat while on plane plays to reducing stress on the hull. When the boat is level in the water, the keel and dead rise of the boat does a credible job of splitting waves and squirting that water safely out to the side of boat. If the boat is listing to either port or starboard, the boat lands not on the keel, but rather on the running surface and the chime of the boat, potentially doing damage to the hull.


​Traditional trim tabs mount to the transom of the boat and operate independently so if the boat is listing to port, the port trim tab can be lowered raising the port side to level the hull. There are trim tabs on the market that use electric motors and others that are operated by hydraulics.  Mounting trim tabs gets tricky as the back of a fishing boat is a busy place. Finding room to install trim tabs among transducer plates, sonar transducers, speed and temperature probe transducers, pole anchoring systems and kicker motors can be challenging.


The ZipWake Interceptors mount over the chine on aluminum hulls, making it easy to install without interfering with transducer, kicker motors and other accessories.


For about a year now Fishing 411 TV has been running a new kind of trim device called the ZipWake Dynamic Trim Control System. Unlike traditional trim tabs that mount parallel to the hull (extending the hull surface), the ZipWake Chine Interceptors mount at the corners of the boat over the port and starboard reverse chine. Chine interceptors travel vertical, giving control over the hull without creating unnecessary drag when they are not deployed.


​ Most modern aluminum boats feature a reverse chine style hull that works to give the boat bow lift and also to stabilize the boat from side to side rocking. When ZipWake Chine Interceptors are installed, the boat can be easily leveled regardless if the boat is loaded heavier on one side or the other. Because the passengers in a fishing boat are changing from day to day, it’s critically important to have the ability to level the hull, regardless if the load is equally balanced. This is particularly critical and noticeable when the boat quarters a sea. In a quartering sea, the boat routinely crashes down on the chine, generating a rough and wet ride.

​The ZipWake Interceptors travel vertically giving the captain instant control of the hull. An intuitive dial controls which interceptor is used or the ZipWake can be placed in “automatic” mode that senses as the boat lists and compensates by raising and lowering the appropriate interceptor.


The console mounted controls on the ZipWake Interceptors make it very intuitive to control the boat.


A typical fisherman with some basic tools and mechanical abilities can install the ZipWake Interceptors in about two hours time.  After having run ZipWake Interceptors for about a year, it’s hard to imaging owning a fishing boat without them. While the Chine Interceptor model is ideal for aluminum hulls, ZipWake also produces other models for fiberglass boat owners.

​Easy to use and easy to install, anyone who takes the time to fish from a boat equipped with tabs will quickly come to the conclusion they are an accessory every fishing boat should be equipped with.

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