They’re not glamorous, they don’t receive much press, and they may not help you land that elusive fish, but they’re still an essential part of every fishing expedition. Trim tabs can improve every boating experience, making your craft more fuel-efficient, offering greater visibility, and helping with weight distribution.

You may have tabs on your boat already but don’t know how best to use them, or just take advantage of them infrequently. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. There are great resources online to offer guidance to ensure that you get the best ride possible. With a little education, you’ll learn how to operate your boat over a greater range of conditions, with more control than you’ve had before. Resources like¬†Bennett’s Guide to Trim Tabs¬†will show you how to determine which trim tab is the appropriate size for your boat and breaks down their benefits.

The Fishing Wire also offers guidance for all boaters, from the smallest flats boat to large offshore cruisers. Their recent article breaks down what to look for if you’d like to improve the ride out on your next fishing jaunt:

The market offers several types of trim tabs: recessed and not, electric, and hydraulic. Some companies even offer automatic tabs that you can set once so that they deploy fully when you start and then automatically retract to cruise mode according to your speed.

No matter what kind of system you have, you should always remember to neutralize them when you start fishing. More than once a captain with his tabs down has backed down hard on a fish and broken the tabs off from the water pressure. The ideal system has an actuator that automatically retracts the tabs whenever you shift your gears to neutral — something you naturally do when maneuvering on a fish.

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Photo: Bennett Trim Tabs