Spring Cleaning for Fishing Success

By Lance Valentine

Blog 33

Well, spring is getting ready to make it’s first appearance here in the North very shortly, and NOW is the time to be sure your boat is ready for the upcoming fishing season. If you’re like a lot of us “Up North” anglers, you push your open water fishing as far as you can in the winter. This means that not everything that needs to get done on your boat to prepare for the next season gets done before you put the boat up for winter slumber. Below is a list of things I do every year in late winter/early spring to avoid problems on the water.

1) Get Organized: Seems like every article I write starts with this, but it can be a problem. Take everything out of the boat and organize it by what it does. Safety, terminal tackle, lures, clothing etc. I use separate storage bins for each category to get the process started.

2) Clean Up: Boats get wet! After I remove everything, I make sure all the storage compartments are wiped dry. I stop by my marina and grab some anti mildew bags and put one in each compartment and let them sit a day or two to soak up the rest of the moisture. Propping your storage compartment lids open for a few days is a big help.

3) Tighten Up: Now is the time for preventative maintenance. Tighten EVERY screw, nut and fastener you can find and reach! Boats get beat up, on the water and on the trailer, and things wiggle loose. If you have a walk-thru windshield boat, be sure to tighten the bolts or screws holding the frames to the console. Tighten electronic mounts. Check rod holder mounts or track. Check the hinges on your seats. Check the hydraulic steering cables. Check it ALL!

4) Power Up: Batteries are the heartbeat of a fishing boat. Check fluid levels. Give them a good charge and load test them now, before you get on the water and have an issue. Check and clean battery posts and make sure connections are solid and not corroded. Check the fuse panel or any other connections and fix anything that doesn’t look right.

Blog 33

5) Safety Check: Go through all your safety gear. Are your PFDs in good shape? Do auto inflate PFDs have new cartridges? Fire extinguisher good and not expired? Check the expiration date on your flares. Is your throwable in good shape? Check the anchor, rope and connections. Replace drain hole plugs every season. Check the bilge pumps and auto switch.


6) Repack: When you get all this done and have given the boat a day or two to dry out completely, start putting everything back. Pay attention to organization. Put the stuff you need the most on top or in the most accessible locations. Find a safe, easy to get to spot for all your safety equipment and LABEL WHERE IT IS! Remember, someone not familiar with your boat may need to save YOU so make it easy for them to find what they need

Winter can get long, and it may seem like spring will never get here but trust me it’s coming! Spend a little time before it gets here to get your boat and accessories in great condition and problems on the water will be few and far between.

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