If a Boat Propeller Fouls, Here’s What to Do


If a Boat Propeller Fouls, Here’s What to Do

If suddenly your fishing motor quits, it could be that fishing line is wrapped around a propeller, either a big outboard or electric motor.

Monofilament line is bad enough, and fine, braided line is even worse. Line can work deeply into a propeller seal and ruin a motor. So get it out soon, and thoroughly.

With most weeds, even tough-stem bulrushes and pads, normally they can be removed by hand after a motor has been hauled up to expose its prop. In the extreme, and certainly with fishing line, a knife or scissors may be needed to free a prop.

Sometimes simply pulling on an end of a fishing line removes it from a propeller. The motor may need to be put in “neutral” for a prop to spin freely as line is pulled.


With a big outboard, occasionally fouled weeds or line are well out of reach of anglers in a boat. If you can reach shore by electric motor or paddle, work the big motor into the shallows, get out, and remove fouled material.

In deep, open water, it may be easiest to free a big motor propeller from in the water. While wearing a life preserver, ease overboard and have a look at the prop. Sometimes using a diver’s face mask, snorkel, and fins make prop cleaning simple, and a knife or scissors can help.

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Bob McNally is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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