Brian’s FS Experience

Brian-Alumacraft
AlumaCraft Trophy 195 with 200 Pro Verado

Brian Huinker called me recently for prop advice on a boat he and his nephew bought together. Brian is a Technical Application Manager for Mercury Marine.

Brian and his nephew Mike Huinker bought an Alumacraft Trophy 195 with a 200 Pro Verado. With his work – Brian travels with an assortment of tools and props to assist dealers and builders in their boat setup. Brian has realized success in the past with the stock, stainless steel 3-blade propeller. He happened to have a 19-inch 3-blade in his support van – so he mounted it on the Verado. Brian mentioned he had heard good things regarding our Bravo I FS. His nephew Googled it and found a variety of information (there’s more to that – read on 🙂

Calm Before the Storm

Mike Huinker with his daughter Sammy and son Lukas.
Mike Huinker with his daughter Sammy and son Lukas.

It was right after Brian had dialed the boat in with the 3-blade that he and his nephew packed their gear and were off to Northern Minnesota for their annual fishing trip on on Lake Winnibigoshish. Their first day out was beautiful. The water was calm and the fish were biting! 🙂  The 19-inch 3-blade turned the 200 Pro Verado 5800 rpm at 50 mph. Unfortunately, the weather turned and the calm serenity of the first day was a distant memory.

Headwinds

The wind stirred the lake into a fury of rough water. Mike was driving – doing all he could to battle the rough seas.

“We were getting pounded and wet. It was a rough day on the water,” Brian said.

The wind picked up even more on the next day. Brian was busy loading his gear – getting ready to head out when he noticed Mike working on the back of the engine. As he got closer he could see he was changing the prop. It was not just any prop. He was installing a 20-inch pitch Bravo I FS.

“Looking at the prop, I looked at him and asked, did you borrow one? No he said.” I ordered it. I’m thinking wow, must have been good YouTubes and other positive news for him to order one,” said Brian.

“My research I found YouTube videos of Steve Miller and Jim Saric discussing the Bravo I FS . Then early last spring another YouTube video of Gary Parsons (professional walleye angler) talking about the FS and I was sold.  I had the prop before we took delivery of the boat,” Mike said.

Game Changer 

Mike first leaned about the Bravo I FS online.
Mike first learned about the Bravo I FS online.

Brian and Mike proceeded to put their rain gear on expecting another rough and wet day on the water. They take off and were about half way to their fishing spot when Brian asked Mike if he was driving the boat differently from the previous day. Mike said no.

“I was able to push the throttle harder and the boat handled so much better in the rough conditions. We were not getting pounded, the boat had a much better ride and we were staying much drier,” Mike said.

“We were impressed with the boat. The Bravo I FS changed everything about it. It made a believer out of us,” Brian said.

Now instead of dreading the day on the rough waters, Brian and Mike are able to enjoy the ride to their fishing spot.

Sometime later they were able to find calm water.

Sammy topping off the gearcase with lube.
Master Mechanic Lukas topping off the gearcase with lube.

“With the engine mounted at the second hole (same height as with the 3-blade stainess) they matched the 5800 rpm engine speed and 50 mph top speed. Mike then raised the engine up to the third hole while also adding a trolling motor and three batteries in the front compartment.  The added weight didn’t affect the FS a bit. The engine turned 5800 rpm’s all day at 50 mph,” Brian exclaimed.

Good stuff. I look forward to hearing from Brian again to see how he and Mike are doing now that the weather is turning nicer and their Alumacraft is dialed in for some serious fishing. 🙂

 

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34 thoughts on “Brian’s FS Experience”

    1. James,
      Thanks for the question. When figuring out the prop choice and style, the prop should allow for the engine to run between the engine manufacturer’s recommended rpm operating range. The pitch of the prop supports regulating the engine rpm. Pitch can increase or decrease speed depending on how much engine rpm is generated. Let me give you a pitch/rpm/speed example. The comments regarding planing were positive but if the boat lumbered to get on plane then yes – going down in pitch theoretically would enhance planing speed along with increasing engine rpm. If Mercury Racing offered a 19” pitch Bravo I FS; we can expect the engine to pick up 150 to 200 rpm to reach 5950 to 6000 rpm. One would think more rpm equals more speed. However, since we are going down one-inch of pitch to 19”, your speed will drop to 48 to 49 mph.
      Scott

  1. Scott,
    I have a ranger reata 212ls w/ 250 verado pro with a manual jack plate and a rev 4 21 pitch. The hole shot is not the best was expecting better.
    At about 5000′ with 21 pitch rev 4 – 5850 rpm@57 mph.
    21 pitch tempest plus 6400 rpm@ 58mph. I adjusted jack plate with each to get the best out of each. Tempest had a bad hole shot. What pitch of bravo 1 fs would be the best, 22 or 23? Thanks

    1. Brian,
      Thanks for all the data. It sure helps when trying to figure things like this out. I like your idea regarding either the 22” or 23” pitch Bravo I FS. Usually, when comparing the Bravo I FS to the Rev 4 we move up 2” of pitch to equal the same rpm. When moving from the Tempest to Bravo I FS we move up 1” of pitch. There is a wide rpm spread between the two prop styles so I have to assume the engine height had something to do with the high rpm levels with the Tempest. That – or is it a used prop. I’m leaning toward the 22” pitch Bravo I FS. I don’t think you’ll see any greater speed than 57 and 58 mph. However, your planing performance should improve.
      Scott

  2. Hi Scott
    I have a 2013 Lund 2075 pro v with 300 pro 4 stroke which is mounted 1 hole above stock.my current numbers are
    Props
    21 calm no wind
    58.9 6360 rpm
    0 – 30 7.93 sec
    22 calm no wind
    60 5990 rpm trim 7.7
    0-30 9.03 sec
    Ambient 25
    Water 70.5
    Fuel 62%
    22
    61.5 6050 rpm
    Ambient 20
    Water 68
    Fuel 51%
    1 1/2 ft chop with wind
    Those numbers are running bravo fs prop.
    I was thinking about the 21.5 bravo fs and wondered whether that would be a good choice or if there is a lab finished bravo fs 22 that would improve my performance

    1. James,
      On the Mercury Racing web site in the Bravo I FS propellers section we have a featured blog with 2075 Lund. We moved the engine up 2 holes from factory setting. In the case of this boat, the factory setting had the cavitation plate 1″ above bottom of the boat. At the 1″ height the boat felt glued to the water. After raising the engine 2 holes or 1.5″ with the cavitation plate measuring 2.5″ above the boat bottom, the boat ran awesome. It was like a new boat. It planed better, rode better, and drove better – all while maintaining good top speed. Check your engine height. If your cavitation plate is only 1.75″ above the bottom, raise your engine one more hole and run the 22″ pitch Bravo I FS. Keep us informed on what you do what you get for your performance.
      Scott

  3. Hi Scott,

    I have a 150 Mercury Fourstroke on a bass boat. What benefits would I see switching from my 21 Pitch Tempest to a four blade Prop?

        1. Nick,
          Don’t change a thing, the numbers give a low slip percentage which means the set-up is working great.
          Scott

  4. Scott,
    I’m running a 08′ Ranger Reata 2050VS with a 08′ I4 200 Verado which has a 19 pitch Tempest Plus (3 Blade) and with three guys and all of our gear it does about 45-46 mph and the RPM is 6200. When cruising at the speeds listed above I can only trim out to 7 (8 is max) and I begin to loose grip and speed, so I have to trim in to get the rpm and speed back.
    So after reading about this Bravo 1 FS I’m convinced this would be the go to choice. Would this be the correct choice in your mind?
    And would I get better grip/hull lift and speed with the Bravo 1 FS which should increase my speed and fuel economy?
    Thanks for the help!
    Matt

    1. Matt,
      I like the idea of the 20″ pitch Bravo I FS and I think you will too when you run it. The fuel economy will improve and I think you’ll like the ride better. Check engine height because you may need to go up one hole. The cavitation plate should be 1.75″ to 2.25″ above boat bottom.
      Scott

  5. Hi Scott,

    I have a 2016 Lund 1875 Pro V Bass w/ 200 verado L4. I have tried a few tempest plus and I am thinking the Bravo 1 fs might be the ticket.

    18’9″ long
    96″ beam
    1500lb hull weight
    112 lb fortrex
    2 minn Kota 10′ talons
    23p tempest plus 6000rpms 57mph
    22p tempest plus 6400rpms 55mph
    21p tempest plus hit rev limiter easily 52mph
    Cav plate is 1.75″ above the bottom of the hull
    All runs 3/4 tank fuel , 1 person , loaded with gear
    SE Wisconsin so close to sea level
    The holeshot is great with the 22 and 23. 21 would cavitate upon WOT
    The 23 would fall off plane quite easily below 25mph.
    All 3 ran fastest at max trim. The higher the trim the faster it went. Their was no point of diminishing return.
    So would the 23p bravo 1 fs be the best choice? Raise the engine a hole to get it to 2.5″?
    Thanks for any input.

    Daryl

    1. Daryl,
      Thanks for sharing your information. You’re spot on with the 23″ Bravo I FS along with raising the engine one hole so your anti-cavitation plate is 2.5″ above boat bottom.
      Have fun with your rig.
      Scott

  6. Update:

    The dealer I purchased the boat from borrow me a 21p rev 4 to try before I order another prop.

    1/2 tank fuel
    6300rpms
    55mph
    1 person fully loaded
    Holeshot was amazing
    2 pvs plugs closed and 2 pvs “m” size
    Only needed to trim to 6 on smart craft gauge for max speed
    Stayed on plane until about 22mph
    All around much better performance than the tempest plus
    Do you believe the bravo 1 fs will improvement over this? 23p or 22p? The motor height is still the same.
    Thanks!

    1. Daryl,
      It’s always fun trying different props, once you run the 23″ Bravo I FS that will be the favorite prop, you’ll really enjoy it. Plan for raising your engine to 2.5″ to take full advantage of the boats potential.
      Scott

  7. Scott,
    I have a 2008 Ranger 620VS in high elevation, (3600ft), with a 250hp Pro XS Torquemaster Gen I and a 9.9 Kicker no jackplate. I am looking for a prop with better hole shot and top speed. I am currently running a stock 19P Rev 4 with all PVS plugs removed (prop doesn’t blow out with the PVS completely out). Full of fuel and 2 people I am getting an average of 50mph @ 5800Rpm in a 6000ft Dynamic Altitude.

    I can still move the motor up another 0.75″.

    Would moving the motor to the top hole and going to a 21 Bravo FS with the PVS plugs out be the correct step for my application?

    1. LJ
      Your engine may be at the right height already. Before raising the engine, consider running a 20.5″ pitch Bravo I FS with all four vent holes open. The 20.5″ pitch will offer a quicker hole shot over the 21″ pitch and your engine speed should rise up 50 to 75 rpm over the 19″ pitch Rev 4. The increased rpm will support the quick planing in addition to offering a little more power at the top. I’d like to think you’ll pick up 3 mph. Enjoy it.
      Scott

  8. Hello

    I currently run a 19 pitch rev 4 with the pvs holes open on a 200 hpdi yamaha. My boat (Warrior 1898) is heavy for a 18.5 boat with a kicker on it. I currently run about 5200 rpm trimmed out right at 48-49 mph. I have been looking at the 20 pitch Bravo FS. Would it help planing time and raise rpm a little?

    1. John,
      The 20″ pitch Bravo I FS should increase engine speed by 150 rpm over the 19″ Rev 4 – resulting with a speed increase of 1.5 mph.
      Scott

  9. Scott,
    I made the switch to a Bravo 1 FS 20 on my 621 Ranger w/ 300 Pro Verado and have really enjoyed the better bite that has provided over the Tempest plus. I just picked up a Lund 2010 Explorer w/ 150 Verado. The 19P Laser II blows out very easily, it is turning around 6000-6100 @ 46mph. Now that they XC comes in a 19P would I be able to turn that wheel? Any other suggestions would be appreciated, 3 or 4 blade.

    1. I see now that XC is extra cup so I definitely won’t be able to turn that. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    2. Mitch,
      Thanks for the Bravo I FS comments on your Ranger. The Bravo I XC is designed for running the shallow waters of the Texas/Louisiana region for anglers seeking Red fish. As long as you have the 20″ pitch Bravo I FS give it a spin on the 150 Verado. You’ll be surprised how well it runs.
      Scott

  10. Scott,

    I just picked up a Lund 2075 Pro-v with a 250 verado pro. When looking at the boat I noticed it was set up in the second hole and had a Tempest 23″ prop. Immediately I expressed some concern over the set up and told the dealer I didn’t think it would spin 5500 RPM. The dealer was adamant that it was the proper setup and I took delivery. Now with a few hours on the engine breaking in over the weekend I cannot break 5200RPM at WOT and full trim. I did not hook up my gps speed yet so I could focus on break in but the smartcraft needle bounces between 50-52 MPH. I have heard about Verados loosening up after 20 hrs. I don’t know if that means 50 rpm’s or 200. In rough water the boat readily falls into the trough of the wave and pounds miserably. Holeshot is awful, and there is no midrange punch despite the relatively light load I’ll use the boat with.

    I’m thinking third hole and a 20″FS but can try the 21″ as well. What do you think?

    1. Peter,
      Sorry to hear about the setup issue. Your story is common; thus the reason for our blogs to help you dial in your rig. Take a look at our FS Miller blog under Bravo I FS in the Mercury Racing propeller section. The 300 Verado is on the 2075 Pro-V. You’ll see we raised the engine 2 holes for enhanced overall performance. We highly recommend that height when running the FS. We recently came out with 20.5″ and 21.5″ pitch FS models. I’m thinking you’ll do best with the 20.5″ pitch (part # 8M0118469). You’ll love the FS. It’s like owning a new boat, enjoy.
      Scott

      1. Scott,

        The dealer did replace the prop with a 21″ tempest and that brought RPMs to 5840 and 56 mph before porpoising on flat water. I raised the engine and got a whole new boat from that alone. 2 holes up improved everything and put me at 6150-6250 rpms and 58.6 mph in a<1' chop. I did not see your reply for 20.5" and bought a 21". The 20.5 may be better but I can't wait to try this FS. Your advice has been perfect!

  11. Scott,
    Just got a new Skeeter WX2060 w/250hp Yamaha SHO. I have heard really good things abou the Bravo 1 on my set up. Boat is very similar to a Ranger 620, only the boat has an 8″ set back on the SHO and the kicker. Boat came with a Saltwater Series 2 19p. Lightly loaded the boat seems to behave fine, once I have added my fishing gear, and 3-4 big (250 lbs)guys, the fun begins. I have a bad porposing issue at mid ranges, even when trimmed all the way in. It also seems very trim sensative with only 2 on board. The sws 2 19p is pushing me to 56mph at 59-6000rpms. Motor is mounted in 3rd hole (1 open above engine mounting bolts). I have a 21p tempest plus left over from my merc days, I am going to plug the vent holes and give her a try. Am I wasting my time? If i order the Bravo 1 FS, what pitch would you recommend? the SWS 2 is a 15 1/4 diameter and i beleave the Bravo is smaller? Can you help a brother out? I need to be able to handle the heavy weight in the boat.
    Thanks
    Phil

    1. Phil,
      I waited until our new Bravo I LT (read about it in the featured blog) was released to answer your question. A 4 blade is a great choice for your set up and your comment about porposing in the mid-range suggest the LT with its long barrel might be better suited to maximizing your performance. The Bravo I LT is very similar to the FS just with a longer tube/barrel and the added length should eliminate the loping. As for pitch the 19” pitch I believe it would run similar rpm to the 19” pitch Tempest and the 21” pitch Tempest should lower the engine 300 rpm at WOT. If you want the same rpm as a 19” go with the 20” pitch LT. Enjoy.
      Scott

  12. Scott,

    Running 2016 620 fs .. went with 250ho G2

    Have heard lots of good Things about bravo fs prop.. running rx4 22 pitch now .. can hit 60 on a good day .. great hole shot .. boat hits 5550 wot no jack plate .. best speed is trimmed down to 80% or so down to 5400-5450 as with full trim prop blow out a little and speed goes down

    Reading up ..I Would like to run a 25 bravo fs or LT .. ur thoughts comparing both? Just think the motor can turn more pitch and have better too end and still keep hole shot

    Brad

    1. Brad,
      Prior to the 620 redesign, I would have said for sure the Bravo I FS. However, with the 620’s new design with more weight moving forward – I might lean toward the Bravo I LT. Hard call to make.
      Scott

  13. Scott,

    I have a 21 Pitch Bravo I FS on a custom aluminum boat with a 150 mercury four stroke. I currently turn it 5900 rpms with a top speed of 55 mph. Would I benefit at all from moving to a 22 pitch?

    1. Nick,
      The 21” pitch appears to offer good top speed. Moving up in pitch might be an option. Typically, the 22” would drop engine rpm to 5750 – resulting with a speed gain of 1 mph. A 23” pitch should drop engine speed by another 150 rpm to 5600 – for an additional 1 mph. Keep in mind, the higher the pitch the slower the time to plane. So, if you have good planing with the 21” pitch you might want to stay using it.
      Scott

  14. I am purchasing a new crestliner PT20 with a Mercury 200proxs.

    They dealer indicated that the recommended prop is a Tempest 21p the Mercury boat house report indicated they ran the boat with a tempest 19p. I would like a 4 blade prop for the boat. I can get what ever prop on the boat I would like. Would a bravo 21p fs be a good choice?

    1. Doug,
      The 21” pitch Tempest should drop the engine rpm from 5800 to 5500 rpm and the top speed may get to 56 to 57 mph. I think the Tempest might be the better prop for light loads. However, if you install power poles or have a good amount of gear on board then the 21″ pitch Bravo I FS would be the prop to run. The 21” pitch FS should offer 5650 rpm but, keep in mind – you may have to adjust the engine height up to get the AV plate at least 2.5” above the boat bottom.
      Scott

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