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Bass Fishing and Boat Electronics

Leandri Language takes delivery of her new boat...!

Bass fishing – the exciting, fast-growing sport which blends traditional techniques with electronic technology – has mostly been taken up by men …but South African national Leandri Language plans to rock the boat.

She has just taken delivery of a fully-equipped Bass Fishing boat with which she intends to claw her way up to International Competition level. She’s just formed South Africa’s first ‘Ladies’ team: When competing in Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) events she fishes with her sister Nicole …and when she fishes in Ebass leagues her competition partner is Molly Roodt.

Leandri Language and new teammate Molly Roodt

What’s installed on her boat?

Let’s have a look at her new boat. The Crackleback 500 is a five metre purpose-built bass boat fitted with a Mercury four-stroke 150HP outboard. That’s for getting between fishing grounds …but there’s also an electric trolling motor: a Motor guide Xi5 24 VDC Trolling motor, which delivers 80 lbs of thrust almost silently. As the name implies, the trolling motor is used whilst fishing.

To find out where the fish are lying she has two Lowrance elite touch screen fish finders – one mounted on the console and another right on the bow.

The Crickleback 500

Competition bass boats have to be fitted with a vivarium or ‘live well’ requiring constant aeration with a pump. This is because in competition fishing, only live fish can be presented at the weigh-in. It makes perfect sense to return all fish to the water to fight another day.

Power for all Leandri’s equipment comes from a single 125Ah Super cycle AGM battery. Her 24V electric outboard motor is powered, separately, by two 60Ah Super AGM’s wired in series.

Let’s see how these dissimilar battery banks can be charged conveniently…

Battery Charging – on land and underway

Shore-side charging of her battery banks is achieved by separate Blue Smart Chargers – one rated at 12V (for the engine cranking battery), and the other at 24V for the electric outboard. These seven-step Lead/Li ion compatible Smart Chargers can be interrogated by your phone or smart device allowing you to monitor the charge process, battery voltage, or to initiate a periodic reconditioning phase to keep your batteries in tip top condition. Charging is temperature-compensated, and an automatic Storage mode allows you to leave the charger connected to the battery indefinitely, without fear of damage. The IP65 (Ingress Protection) rating means that the charger is impervious to water spray – an IP67 version is available if the unit is likely to experience full water-immersion.

The IP65 charger – designed for working environments

There’s a really smart deck-socket available for connection to shore power – further enhancing the appearance of your boat …and allowing shore power be connected professionally between supply and your sub-deck boat electrics. These chromium plated sockets can be ordered on the shore power cable page of the Victron website.

Boat Bling – a really smart shore power deck-socket

By the way – some electric outboard motors are rated at 36VDC which presents an apparent difficulty when it comes to battery charging. There are almost no chargers on the market rated at 36V and those which are available come with a prohibitively high price tag. A cost-effective solution is to connect each of the three series-connected 12V batteries to a separate 12VDC Blue Smart-charger.

Charging 12V and 24V Batteries …at the same time …on the water

Leandri’s on-board battery-charging comes from a 12VDC Alternator rated at 80A.  Her first battery – which as we mentioned is a 12VDC 125Ah  Super cycle – is used for engine cranking, and also powers all 12 of her accessories …the fish-finders; the live-tank aerator pump and so on. Her second 24VDC battery bank consists of 2x 12V 60Ah, batteries wired in series, and is used only to power her electric trolling motor.

She monitors the status of both battery banks using separate BMV 712 battery monitors – which not only work as a kind of fuel gauge for the batteries by showing how much power remains as a percentage …or how much time remains at the present output – but as you would expect from Victron electronics they will also show much more in-depth information about the voltage/ the current / historical use; together with low voltage alarms and automatic shutdown of non- essential loads …ensuring she always has enough power in the battery to start the engine.

Voltage

Percentage remaining

Hassle-free; worry free:

Leandri’s alternator is wired to charge both the 12V and the 24V battery at the same time – so charging is worry free. This is achieved by connecting the alternator to the starter battery; and then on to the 24V battery via a Buck-Boost DC – DC converter. The job of the Buck-Boost DC-DC converter is to receive 12VDC alternator output and convert it into a 24VDC supply for charging her second battery bank.

Boats (or vans) with two battery banks – including dissimilar 12V and 24V battery banks – can also be charged using our new Orion DC-DC converter. This product was described in a recent blog post.

Larger boats, fitted with two 12VDC battery banks – one for engine cranking, the other for service, will find it convenient to install one of our Cyrix battery combiners. This device will detect when your engine cranking battery (for example) has been re-charged, and then divert the charging current to the second battery bank. It works both ways – whilst charging the second bank, it will detect a voltage drop in the first bank (indicating that a load has been placed on it) and restore the charge current to the first battery.

Reliable electronics will ensure you have a great fun on the water – and that you will always return safely to shore at the end of the day.

Safely back on shore

A note about Glass Bridge Integration…

Early on in the development of our electronics for the Marine market we saw that the ability to integrate Victron products with third-party marine electronics using the NMEA 2000 communications protocol would herald a new era in terms of the value of the data available to the skipper. Years of work has resulted is plug-in compatibility with leading navigation systems – and the ability to read data straight from a glass-bridge Multi Function Display. You can read more information about the latest exciting developments in this field; the latest compatibilities; and cross-brand support by following the link.

Leandri’s Boat Baptism

Equipped with her new boat – towed behind a Toyota Hilux D4D double cab 4×4, -Leandri teamed up with her sister Nicole, to notch up their first win in an FLW competition recently on the Witbank dam, in Mpumalanga province, SA.

Boat baptism

Leandri and her sister Nicole went to fish the (to her) unfamiliar water the weekend before the competition in preparation. She wanted to mark some of the fish lies, and get a feel for the topography under her hull –  generally do a bit of homework to get acquainted with the dam.

A week later, with sixty fishermen on the water in 30 boats, a difficult day presented itself to all competitors. The water level had fallen by a metre so that all Leandri’s marks were now either too shallow to hold fish, or else they were actually dry! Add to that a severe depression earlier in the week which had brought with it cold temperatures and strong winds. That kind of meteorological event sends the fish into deeper waters; and they lose interest in feeding.

Facing up to those challenges Leandri and Nicole had to start from scratch – rediscovering the grounds, and trying their luck with both Spinners, and Plastic lures until eventually they discovered what was ‘fishing’ that day …and at last began to retrieve enough fish to allow them to choose their best five to present to the judges at weigh-in. Their persistence paid off and they won the Ladies competition.

Leandri and her sister Nicole

Leandri, 24, is committed to becoming a world class competition bass fisher-woman. Victron is committed to helping make her mark in the exciting world sport of Bass Fishing.

If you’d like to see how simple it is to install reliable power on your boat, this instructional video shows Gerrit Tromp – one of our sales manager in South Africa – demonstrating how it all comes together on a boat owned by Bass fisherman Marius Mostert.  Have fun!:

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