It’s ice fishing season on my neck of the forest, but I live in a constant state of denial or hope depending on how you want to look at it, and I try to keep my boat operational year round. My boat has some minimalist features, so I limit myself to relatively small fishing waters. However, this also means that my spring boat prep list is usually pretty short. The bigger the water, the bigger the boats and the bigger the checklists for dewintering the boat.
1. Check it out
One way to approach spring boat preparation is to first determine if your boat will even make it to the lake or river and back. Give the boat trailer a good inspection. What is the profile like on the tires? Do you have a replacement When was the last time the bearings were greased? Is the winch rope frayed? And how about my personal nemesis, the boat trailer lights up? Check them out. Now.
2. Security review
Safety is another important part of any spring boat preparation. Are the life jackets in good condition and still fit for everyone? Do you have any extras just in case you’re entertaining guests? Does the bilge pump work depending on the size of your boat? Can you still find the fire extinguisher, and if so, how old is it?
3. Motor and battery check
While you are de-wintering your boat, make sure that you have electricity when you arrive at the lake. Check the batteries and all connections for corrosion. If you have an electric trolling motor, remove the support and look under it. Mine had a sizeable bundle of braided fishing line blocking engine thrust. If you have a gas engine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dewintering a marine engine just to be safe. Check all hoses for cracks and loose connections. When you’re ready, connect an engine washer to a water hose with fresh fuel and turn the engine on before you potentially jam the boat ramp.
My preparation for the spring boat always includes checking that the boat registration is up to date. Every year it’s important to double-check everything on your spring boat preparation list. An overlooked component can thwart a nice first outing. Which reminds me where that boat connector is hidden?
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed out dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida but raised on the banks of farm ponds in Oklahoma, he now hunts pike, small bass and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fishery research technician at OSU, in the US state of Iowa and in the US state of Michigan.