Outboard Weed Guards
In my area (western Lake Erie), June brings weeds – lots of weeds. I've hunted all over for an outboard weed guard to keep weeds from balling around the propeller. It's no surprise that outboards don't have much thrust or steerage when the prop is weed covered. In addition, weeds clinging to your propeller could damage the seal or block cooling water intakes – either of which can ruin your whole day.
The best solution has been to put the outboard in reverse for a few feet to let everything unwind and disperse. That solution hardly qualifies as an outboard weed guard though. If you're at the tiller and the gearshift isn't easily reached, constantly putting the motor in reverse is a nuisance and a distraction. It can be a disaster if weeds strike as you approaching an obstacle. This year I'm going to fight back. I didn't find a suitable outboard weed guard, but I did find a weed cutter that may work well.
The weed cutter is a fairly tough plastic, intended for fishing boats commonly used in heavily vegetated waterways. The cutter is called “Moss Hawg“, and it's designed to fasten easily to electric trolling motors motors commonly used while fishing. As it turns out, the Moss Hawg can be modified to fit many small outboard motors by cutting the plastic support ring and gluing it to the bottom end of your outboard. The ring feels like HDPE, a plastic which doesn't glue well. Fortunately, West System markets G/Flex, a glue which is both resilient and tough – and engineered to stick well to plastics, as well as metals, glass, wood, fiberglass, etc. According to the developer, it will even stick if applied underwater! The picture to the right shows it glued to the bottom end of my Bigfoot (click to enlarge). The support ring for the Moss Hawg is round, and the casing at the bottom of the Bigfoot isn't – so the G/Flex between the two is fairly thick in places. Regardless, the G/Flex has a firm hold of both the Bigfoot and the Moss Hawg, and the serrated blades sweep the hub right up to the roots of the blades.
I saw my first group of weeds yesterday, and will report back in a month or two – as soon as I have a solid feel for how well the combination works. It's not an outboard weed guard, but if it cuts weeds as advertised, I'll be a happy camper!