Getting Ready To Go Fishing

By Kurt Dove

Follow these basic tips from Bass Elite Pro Kurt Dove before you hit the water to ensure a great day of fishing.

Photo of Bass Elite Pro Kurt Dove on his boat

It's that time of year, unless you have fished through the winter in the southern US you're now probably thinking about getting your boat out of storage and preparing for the fishing season. Here are a few tips to get your season and most importantly your equipment started off smoothly.

Prep Batteries

Be sure to charge your batteries a few days in advance before you plan to hit the water. If they have not been charged regularly though the winter it will take them some extra time to get warmed up and fully charged for your first voyage. As you begin to charge those batteries take time to complete these three items: clean corrosion from the terminals, tighten the connections and check each battery's water level. If the batteries need filling you should used distilled water for topping off.

Trailer Check Points

Walk around the trailer and visually inspect tires and add grease to the hubs if necessary. I like to be sure all the wiring and lights are in good working condition too.

Vessel Check Points

First, check to make sure your jack plate and motor mounting bolts are tight and ready for any rough water situations. Make sure the trolling motor mounting bracket is secure to the deck of the boat and tighten any loose bolts. Remove the trolling motor prop and your big engine props to visually inspect for fishing line or other materials that can bind them when in use. Test the auto bilge pump for functionality before launching for the first time in a new season — bilge pumps are critical in rough water emergency situations.

Of course since I am a tournament competitor and I must keep my fish alive for weigh-ins so I double check that my aerator and recirculation pumps in the live wells are in good working order.

Motor Check Points

Annual maintenance is important to keep you outboard or inboard motor running well throughout the season. The parts that need yearly checkups and typically replacements include the water pump and fuel filter. This is a very important step with today's lower quality fuels. Replacing the fuel water separator every year is a good idea as well. Fuel additives should always be handy and ready for inclusion at every fill up.

When you hit the water for that first trip of the season, baby your boat out of the gate - let it warm up and get back into rhythm before you throttle down.

Have a great boating and fishing season!