Mid Fishing Season Check: is Your Boat Ship Shape?
The early fishing season was off-the-charts fantastic, and many of us spent a lot of time on the water. Sometimes we caught one or two, other times a bunch, and then there were those memorable days when we hammered 'em. But now, the intense summer heat has cooled off the bite so it's time for a little in-season boat maintenance.
Mid Fishing Season Checklist:
1. Rollers and bunks
. Splashing and hauling puts your rollers and bunks to good use. The immersion in water, especially saltwater, causes rust and corrosion. Grease your rollers so they spin freely when loading/off loading. Also, check the fabric on the bunks. If you've got tears or holes replace them so when you haul your hull has a soft landing.
2. Engine tune-ups.
After 100 hours of use, change spark plugs, lower unit grease, the water pump, and engine oil for 4-strokes. Inspect fittings for corrosion, and repack your steering cable with grease.
3. Boat trailer bearings.
Hubs should be re-lubed after every few launches. Sometimes we forget because we are cranked up to get on the water, so check to see if they need replacing.
4. Boat trailer lights
. Brake lights, directionals, and running lights get a lot of use, so check to see that they are functional. Replace if necessary. While you're at it, clean and lubricate harnesses as they may become corroded, too.
5. Boat trailer tires
. Moisture and sun causes rubber to breakdown. Look for cracks, check the treads, and evaluate for even wear. The rule of thumb is that the average life for boat trailer tires is 3-5 years. If you replace them then coat the lugs with a plumber's anti-seize paste. The lugs come off easily when you have to change a flat.
6. Connections for radio, GPS, and Chartplotters
. Connections corrode easily, but a quick change keeps your boat safety equipment and fishing electronics functioning.
7. Fuel hoses.
Sun and temperature changes cause fuel lines to break down. Change them before they crack and cause big problems.
It'll probably take the better part of a day to perform all boat repair checks and replacements, but it's time well spent. It means you'll get back on the water when the bite picks up in the second half of the fishing season. You won't be sidelined while cussin' and fussin'.
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.