Be ready to change a propeller hub

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This one almost cost me big. I was fishing an Everstart (now Toyota Series) on Lake Guntersville. It was day two. Day one had resulted in a monumental moment in my competitive fishing, a 26-pound, 4-ounce bag, which was my biggest bag to date and still my second biggest stringer ever. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about life on day two with another 17 pounds in the boat and working to cull up. Then, I sat down to take off, cranked the engine, hammered down and… nothing.

The engine revved up, but the boat didn’t go anywhere. So, I trimmed the motor up as high as it would go and went to the back of the boat and saw that the prop was still there. That was a good sign. The only other thing I could think of checking next was the hub. A buddy of mine had spun his hub recently and that led me to put a spare in the boat.

Just to clarify what a hub is for anyone who doesn’t know, it serves as an intentional weak point between the prop and the drive shaft and gears within the lower unit. It’s designed to absorb the shock of shifting gears and, in the event you hit something with the prop, the hub will hopefully fail to protect all the other more valuable, harder-to-fix inner workings of the motor. This is what leads to a spun hub.

So back to the story, I had a spare hub, but no prop wrench. I call the tournament director to ask if I can call a nearby buddy to bring me some tools. He okays it and I call Casey Martin who was also in the tournament. He runs over, hooks me up with a prop wrench and a few more tools and I’m able to get the prop off and the new hub on the motor without ruining one of the best tournaments I had have ever had in my life. But it sure was a close call.

Here are a few things to consider keeping in the boat for such an occasion. You’ll need a set of pliers to pull the pin out of the prop shaft, a big wrench to remove the prop nut and then a spare hub, specific to your motor. It’s also a good idea to have a spare prop in the boat. I know those can be really expensive, so that’s not always an option. But a spare hub is usually around $30, so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment in case you ever need it.