Bravo on the Bayou

Mercury Marine reps celebrate another BASS Classic victory. (L-R) Scott Reichow, Kevin "KB" Brown, Mike Shedivy, Randy Qualls (Legend Boats), Chris Lane (2012 Classic Winner), Michelle Kilburn, Steve Miller
The Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard propeller features a tuned exhaust tube with large one-inch vent holes for enhanced 2-stroke outboard performance.

I’m fortunate to annually represent Mercury Racing at the Bass Master Classic in the Mercury booth. This year, a fisherman named Rick asked me if there was a Mercury prop that would work for him. He had recently purchased a 2012 Triton 19XS powered by an OptiMax Pro XS 200. Rick was frustrated with the performance. The sharp turns and switchbacks on the Bayou where he runs were causing his propeller to break loose. This forced him to back off the throttle, causing the boat to lose speed and drop off plane. Rick had contacted his Triton representative regarding the issue. Although they discussed various options, the rep suggested Rick continue using a three blade prop.

The performance facts that I gathered in our conversation pointed me to a Bravo I XS. I told Rick the prop is designed specifically for low-emissions 2-stroke OptiMax outboards. Rick responded, “Isn’t Bravo I a sterndrive prop?”

Lab Finished Bravo I sterndrive propeller.

I explained the Bravo I was first conceived as a sterndrive prop. However, Mercury Racing modified it for use on outboards as well. At Racing, we sweat the details — creating a perfectly balanced prop with a tuned exhaust tube, durable blades, clean leading edges and uniform cup heights. All of these unique features work together for enhanced 2-stroke outboard performance.

Rick was genuinely interested in the Bravo I XS. He asked, “What kind of planing speed and top-end speed can I expect when compared to my current prop? More importantly, will the Bravo I XS stay hooked up in turns?” All good questions.

I had asked Rick if he had a jack plate. He said he did. I asked him to get a bench mark with the Bravo I XS by starting at Triton’s recommended engine height for a three-blade prop. I then suggested he raise the engine in 1/4″ increments until he finds the sweet spot. In Rick’s application, the sweet spot is 3/4″ up from factory recommended height.

Rick's Rig.
Rick's Triton 19XS with OptiMax 200 Pro XS.

The beauty of the Bravo I XS is it will allow  increased engine height for better performance. The Bravo I XS actually gives a better hole shot at higher transom heights. What’s also cool is you’ll need to increase 1” of pitch to achieve the same RPM at wide open throttle. Increased pitch at the same full throttle RPM means greater top-end speed. It also yields greater efficiency and thus fuel economy as the propeller moves further through the water (and the engine works less) at cruise. Rick provided me with the following test information.

Running shot of an OptiMax Pro XS powered 19XS. Photo credit: Triton Boats

“Top speed with the 24″ Tempest Plus prop was 64.6 mph as measured on my Lowrance HDS-8. Top speed with the 25” Bravo I XS is 65.8 mph. Performance is noticeably better at mid-range speeds as the Triton now has more “snap” when I give it full throttle. My fishing partner noticed the difference too,” said Rick.

Mercury TempestPlus propeller.

Rick continued, “It seems to me it’s more important than ever to have the boat running at optimal efficiency with the price of gas where it is. My home town of Picayune, Mississippi is about 50 miles from New Orleans. Louisiana has better bass fishing and thus I spend almost all my time fishing there. If you do a Google Earth search of the Southeast Louisiana Coast, you will see why having a boat that is nimble in turns is so vital.”

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Test Results:
2012 Triton 19XS with Mercury 200 Pro XS

Before: Tempest Plus
Engine height: Triton factory setting (sorry no numbers)
Propeller: Mercury Tempest Plus 24” pitch
Performance: Hole shot was great, falling off plan in slow speed turns, top speed 64.6 at 5800 RPM

The 25" pitch Bravo I XS on Rick's OptiMax Pro XS 200.

After: Bravo I XS
Engine height: Rick raised it ¼” at a time going up a total of 1” bringing it back down to ¾” above factory setting
Propeller: Mercury Racing Bravo I XS 25” pitch
Performance: Hole shot was the same – great, locked in with slow speed turns, top speed 65.8 at 5800 RPM

Rick concluded, “The boat jumps on plane. Handling in twisty turns was incredible, even with the switchbacks. The boat never once dropped off plane. If that wasn’t enough, I actually gained top speed. Where I come from we have a saying for something like this, we call it “Lagniappe” (Lan-Yap). It means something extra; you’re giving your customers something extra with this prop. Good job.”

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13 thoughts on “Bravo on the Bayou”

  1. Scott,

    What prop would you recommend for a Triton 19×3 with a Mercury 225 Optimax? I am looking for top end speed. I have ran numerous props and have found it hard to prop this motor/boat combination to my liking.

    Here are some of the props I have tried and the results:
    Triton 19×3 w standard 225 Optimax and 8″ manual jack plate:
    *25p Tempest (stock) – 5700 rpm at 68.4mph at 3.25” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is okay.
    *25p Tempest (stock) – limiter at 69.1mph at 2.5” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is okay
    *26p Tempest (stock) – 5700 rpm at 69.1mph at 3.25” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is okay.
    *26p Tempest (stock) – limiter at 69.4mph at 2.5” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is very little.
    *27p Tempest (stock) – 5400 (3/4 trim) @ 70.5 at 3” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift seems to be really good. I am going to move motor up and test more. This is a new prop, and only 1 test run. Runs best about 2/3 trim.
    *25p Trophy (stock) – 5600 rpm at 68.1mph at 3.5” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is good.
    *25p Trophy (stock) – 5700 rpm at 68.4mph at 3.25” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is excellent.
    *25p Trophy (stock) – 5700 rpm at 66.8mph at 3” below pad. Water pressure at 25psi. Lift is good. Lost all prop bite.

    I would really like to stay in the 5600-5700 rpm range, as from what I am understanding that is where the most horsepower is and where it is easiest on my motor. I have tried a few other props (non Mercury), however have not seen anything that differs greatly from above.

    I have not ran a Fury nor the Bravo 1 XS.

    Curious based off the numbers above what you think I could expect from a Fury or XS? I noticed that in the 19×3 above that the XS had 2% more slip than the Tempest.


    1. Steve,
      Thanks for all the data. The Tempest has been the best all-around prop (light, medium and heavy loads) for this boat. With some hulls, the Fury turns better top-end numbers under light to medium loads. The Bravo I XS is a great work horse of a prop. It is one to be considered when under a heavy load and your struggling to stay on plane at lower speeds. The Bravo I XS runs light in pitch. When comparing to the Tempest, move up 1″ of pitch to a 27”. The Fury props run tall in pitch. When comparing to the Tempest, move down 1″ of pitch. If your looking for top speed, try running a 25″ pitch Fury.
      Have fun,

  2. Scott
    Told to check with you by Stevie with Trotter marine
    I have a 2014 19xs 4 batteries 4 bank charger 12′ talon a lot of tackle also duel console
    Run a fury 24p with 10″ Hydro. Jack plate 20 gallons gas empty live wells great hole shot top speed good day 74 gps 57-5800 wot
    40 gallons gas live wells full by my self 73-74 same on tack add partner rpms stay same hole shot ok top speed drops to 68-69 also I do have the torque master 2 lower unit will the bravo help with load and if so would you recommend Xs orFs waiting to hear back before telling Stevie to order thanks

    1. David,
      The Bravo I FS or XS really helps loads like yours. Go with the Bravo I XS; the (8) PVS vent hole upgrade allow you to dial in hole shot with the Torque Master II gearcase. Expect to run the 26″ pitch and raise your engine .5 to .75″

  3. I have a Triton TR 197 Magnum dual console with a 200 optimax, this is an aluminum boat with a 6″ jackplate. It currently has a 26 Tempest prop, it has a great holeshot and with a light load I have GPS’d 72 mph hitting the rev limiter at 5750. With a tournament load I run about 5400-5500 rpm and 63-65 mph. It still has a great hole shot even when loaded. What prop do you recommend for carrying a heavy load in a tin boat. Thanks

    1. David,
      The Bravo I XS is well worth a try in 27″ pitch. The Bravo I XS runs a little low in pitch compared to the Tempest so to achieve similar rpm as the 26” pitch Tempest, run the 27” Bravo I XS. The 4 blade is designed to lift the complete boat (bow with a little stern) especially for the heavy loads. The prop will not be as fast as the Tempest in a light load but much better with the heavy loads.

    2. I have a Ranger Z 521 with Mercury 250 Pro XS. I bought a Bravo 26P last year. Love the prop. I’m having hole shot problems. How many plugs should I have in. Front are back holes.

      1. Richard,
        The PVS system is designed to allow the appropriate amount of exhaust venting into the propeller to improve hole shot. Test with the front four (nearest the gearcase) wide open, use two solid fittings to close off rear holes opposite each other. If the engine seams sluggish during planing – added venting is required. Replace one rear solid with the large hole fitting; test and if you require additional venting change out the other solid for a large hole fitting. If the first test created too much venting, add one large hole fitting to the back, test again. Have fun dialing it in.

  4. 2000 Norris craft 20 xlv 2012 mercury 250. trophy 4 blade 26 pitch. 78 MPH. 5900 rpm. Considering bravo 1 sx. 28 pitch. What would i expect. Thanks

    1. Bill,
      It’s going to be tough to beat what you’re achieving with the Trophy Plus. Keep in mind the prop is rated to 225 HP. When switching to the Bravo I XS, You will need to adjust the jack plate up because of the larger diameter and the larger exhaust tube. I’m not sure you’ll see any added speed unless you were running the Sport Master gearcase. With the Sport Master, you have a greater chance of 2 – 3 mph increase – if not more.

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