I think we can all benefit from sharing this information. I have played with my setup a LOT over the past 3 years. I feel there are 2 main things that require our boats to be setup a little differently than a typical "bass" boat.
1. A fish and ski will typically weigh more than a comparable bass boat.
2. The weight is usually further forward in a fish and ski.
When I first bought my 1997 Ranger 397XT (19'10" with a built in 6" setback) it was spinning a 23P Trophy Plus on a 1997 Merc 200 EFI. Peformance was good but I was able to turn 6000 RPM at about 60 MPH. This is the way the boat was set up at the factory and the motor was mounted about 6" BTP.
Stepping up to a 24P Trophy Plus took it to about 62.5 @ 5800.
A 24P Fury ran a tick over 64 @ 5800 but the handling was sketchy and the hole shot suffered.
I bolted on a 6" Slidemaster and put the 24P Trophy back on. Going off measurements that work great on most Rangers (3.5" BTP) I was running the same speed (62.5) but lost half of my trim range. I could not get the bow up without losing water pressure.
After playing with the plate for days I found that I could not run it as high as other Rangers. I suspect this is because of how far forward the weight is in my boat. I found 4.25" BTP to be the best with the smallish diameter 24P Trophy Plus. Speed was 64.5 @ 5800 with excellent handling. This was by myself, with all my gear and about 20 gal of fuel.
My next issue.... When the boat was loaded down with a fishing partner, their gear and 45 gal of fuel it would fall on its face. I was seeing about 57MPH @ 5700. I had high slip numbers and trouble getting the bow to lift.
I had a theory that the small hub and under 14" diameter of the Trophy was not up to the task of carrying my load
What I have wound up with for now is a 25P Tempest Plus running 4.0" BTP. When I am by myself and moderately loaded I can consistantly run 66MPH @ 5800 with a best of 66.5 and less than 10% slip. This is with all seats in place, trolling motor on, 3 group 31 batts, 20 gal fuel and all my fishing gear. I also do not lose nearly as much speed when FULLY loaded with fuel, passanger and full livewells. Full "tournament" load is running 62-63MPH with the current setup.
I would like to try a large hub/large diameter 4 blade prop to see how it does this season. (Razor 4?)
So... what have I learned? A larger diamter prop and a little deeper drive height seems to be what my hull likes. YMMV
Lets hear your setups.