If fishing is your thing, you don’t have to let high fuel prices get between you and your next prize catch. Here are some tips to conserve fuel while on the water:

– Find the Sweet Spot. Every boat has a “sweet spot,” the speed at which the engine and hull perform most efficiently. If your engine comes with a fuel-management system you can find your sweet spot by running your boat at different cruising speeds. Write down the speed and the fuel consumption in gallons per hour for each level. Then use this equation to establish the miles per gallon for comparison: mph ? gph = mpg. Once you establish the engine RPM that delivers the highest mpg, that’s the speed at which you want to run your boat.

– Adjust Your Fishing Habits. Not all fishing requires long runs to the fishing grounds and a constantly running engine. Try switching over to drift fishing or anchoring up on structure areas to bottom fish. Freshwater anglers can get more fishing time with less fuel by using an electric trolling motor in addition to their gas engine. Changing the way you fish can keep you fishing longer for less.

– Find Fuel-Efficient Engines. Today’s modern four-stroke and high-pressure, direct-injection, two-stroke outboard motors are the most fuel-efficient marine engines ever made. The typical fuel savings over an old carbureted engine can be 25 to 40 percent. If you’re still running an older outboard, buying a new one could help offset your expenses.

Discuss your engine with a local dealer and see whether you are a candidate for a new outboard. Yamaha Marine (www.yamahaoutboards.com) is the only outboard brand to have earned the National Marine Manufacturers Association Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. The company has 2,200 dealers in the

– Have a Plan. Knowing where you want to fish will save travel time and money and can help you catch more fish. Plan out the places you want to try in logical order to reduce running time, and eliminate backtracking to reduce fuel use.