How to Make Your Fishing Boat Better: A FishTalk Actually-Helpful-Not-Just-Annoying (we promise!) Special Advertising Section, including a Way to Reduce Rocking and Rolling Underway.

If you want to make your fishing boat better – and we’re pretty sure each and every boat owner reading this right now does – there’s a way to give Mom’s Mink a serious upgrade which many people may not be aware of: adding dynamic trim control, via Zipwakes. Zipwakes are an interceptor-style trim tab system that incorporates GPS, gyro and accelerometer sensors, and automatic control, to provide dynamic trim control. Thanks to its computer brain and the ability to move the interceptors up to 10 times faster than regular trim tabs, as the boat rolls and pitches, the interceptor blades can zip up and down to constantly counter the boat’s natural motions as it moves through the seas. We know it might be a little tough to visualize exactly how Zipwakes work, so check out some Zipwakes videos, to see them in action.

Just how much of a difference do Zipwakes make? To find out we ran this on the water test with Jersey Cape Custom Yachts Little Devil 31'.

As you'll see in any of these videos, interceptors are blades that deploy vertically down from the transom of the boat. 

imtra zipwake trim tab system
Thanks to a “smart” control system, multiple sensors, and lightning-fast servos, the Zipwake system can react to a boat’s changes in attitude in real time.​​​​​

Each blade is durable, fast-acting, and extends just 1.2 inches as compared to the average six inches, for regular trim tabs. That not only allows them to utilize a much smaller surface area than trim tabs, which sit horizontally, but they can move fast enough to respond to the boat’s motion in real time and provide that dynamic control. Net result? You cruise on a more even keel with a steadier attitude, so everyone aboard is more comfortable. Instead of standing at the console and holding onto the pipework with a white-knuckled death grip, you can relax. And that in turn means you can fish longer and harder in tougher conditions. And in the grand scheme of things, that equates to catching more, bigger fish.

Other Advantages of Dynamic Trim Control with Zipwakes

The effects of a Zipwakes system goes beyond comfort, too. Keeping your boat on an even attitude while reducing rolls, pitches, and heaves, can boost cruising fuel efficiency by 10 to 12 percent. Meanwhile, there’s also an advantage over trim tabs when it comes to fishability. If you’ve ever had a hot fish wrap your line around a regular trim tab and then cut off, you know what we’re talking about – those sharp metal plates can cause heartbreak when you’re battling large, uncontrollable fish. That’s a non-issue with interceptors, since they’re neatly concealed when the boat’s at rest.

There are a few other details about the systems you ought to know. Zipwakes are built with non-corrosive materials and the servo units are submersible. The color LCD control panel is sunlight-viewable, has auto-dimming night-mode, and is waterproof. There are different model units available for placement at the chines, sides, and center of the V, to accommodate boats from 20 to 60 feet with 11 to 24 degrees of transom deadrise. They are made of a composite housing which can be painted with whatever anti-fouling paint is used on the hull, and since the blades retract when not in use, they stay free of growth as well. (If some growth does begin on the blade, the system's self-cleaning feature deploys and retracts the blades every 24 or 48 hours to scrape it off). And having Zipwakes put on your boat is a piece of cake - just go to the Imtra dealer locator for Zipwake to find a local shop that can handle the install. 

Check out this video we shot out on the water with a Zipwake-equipped Judge Yachts Chesapeake 36:

The really crazy thing about all this, however, is the price tag. While other systems that reduce a boat’s motion while underway can cost literally tens of thousands of dollars, a complete Zipwakes rig goes for a few thousand dollars. Installation isn't a huge cost, because the system is so straightforward. In fact, local boatbuilder Bill Judge says one of the reasons he prefers Zipwakes over regular trim tabs is that in addition to gaining dynamic trim, increased reliability, and eliminating the line-snagging tabs, they're also easier to install.