Lakecaster Online

TIPS FOR COLD-WEATHER BOATING/FISHING

PROTECT YOUR BOTTOM: Some anglers fish twelve months out of the year in this region of the country, while others 'hang it up', grab their gun and camo clothing, hook on to the ATV trailer and hit the woods. Hopefully, before that bass boat was abandoned till spring, there were things done to protect such a valuable investment. A few preventative steps in the fall/early winter can make for a much happier trip to the lake in the spring. To prevent the lower-unit from freezing, make sure all of the water is drained out before storage or after each trip in the winter months. If water is left in the lower unit and temperatures fall below freezing, the water inside the unit freezes and expands. When such occurs, there is a good possibility this process will crack seals and allow water to enter the gear housing causing serious lower-unit damage. New lower-units range from $1500 to $3500. When I come off the lake this time of the year, I remove the motor totter and trim my Yamaha all the way down and leave it there until my next trip to the lake. Another suggestion.....if you leave your rig in a boat stall on the water, do not trim up your motor but leave the lower-unit below the water surface which will prevent any freeze damage. As far as fuel/gas tank concerns, most boat/engine manufactures suggest adding a fuel stabilizer in the tank to take care of moisture forming. Another very important hint is to fill tanks completely full of fuel before storage as this will greatly minimize the build-up of moisture. A near-empty fuel tank WILL accumulate moisture.

GET CHARGED UP!!! Battery failure in the spring is a common occurrence. We have all seen it or experienced it ourselves......the angler is in his boat and the motor will hardly turn over and you hear....."this is first time I've had it in the water since last fall." Battery builders tell us that in order to prolong the life of a battery, keep it fully charged. One of the worse things to do to a battery is to fish with it all day, and leave it for weeks in a discharged state. Cold weather magnifies battery weaknesses whether on your vehicle or your boat. Also, replace old batteries. In my experiences, a deep-cycle trolling-motor battery performs well for 18 to 24 months while a good cranking battery should last 36 months, if properly maintained. You might squeeze a few more months use from both types, but you are flirting with failure.

WHAT IS THAT? You haven't been on the lake in weeks and you open the boat's storage compartment to get out your almost new, $100 Skeeter life jacket, only to find gray/funky matter 'growing' all over it. Next to it you see your Gortex rainsuit with the same plague. Mildew Millie has been partying in your rig all winter long. Maybe some of our readers have a formula for removing mildew build-up from valuable clothing items, but my success has been minimal. Prevention is, by far, a better method. Moisture, left on items for an extended time in a closed environment, can prove costly. Completely air- out all rod and storage compartments. It might prove smart to remove costly items entirely from your boat prior to storage, as only a small amount of moisture is required to trigger mildew.

TOOL TIME: When storing rods, make sure they are done so properly. If baits/lures are left attached, take caution that there is minimal tension left on the rod so the rod-tip will not develop 'memory'. The same caution should be taken if you lean your rods against a wall by standing them as 'straight-up' as possible. A rod-holder is the best solution. As far as reels, back-off the drag tension to near '0' . Also, most line will last longer if stored in a dark environment.

NEW PRODUCTS: I recently got my hands on one of Abu Garcia's newest reels from the Torno Series....a T3006HS. This reel is a low-profile design with patented InfiniSpool technology. I have used the reel for about six weeks and it is hard to put it down and pick up another reel. The December 2002 Bass Master Magazine said of this reel....."Abu's Torno with InfiniSpool may be the most highly engineered bait casting reel ever designed; if not, it's close." The reel sales for about $140.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo. His sponsors include Lake Area Marine in Lake Charles, Skeeter/Yamaha, Pure Fishing, Stanley Jigs Inc., TTI Industries and ReAction Lures.

Reach him at 337-463-3848, 409-565-1288 or jsoutdrs@wnonline.net.

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