Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter Won't Stop, Getting Your Fixed Will Be A Problem

Winter this year just won't go away, every three or four days it gets cold and frozen precipitation falls. If you are one of those guys putting off getting your boat serviced, you are going to have a problem.

Every year when the weather finally breaks, customers bring in their boats to their mechanic to get them ready for the upcoming season. This generally happens over a month or so, many repair shops can handle the load. This year is different, when the weather finally does break, there will have a bunch of anglers wanting to go fishing. The problem is that the mechanics can only get so much done in a week. Everyone is going to bring their boats in at the same time and it will take some time to get all those boats repaired. The only fair way a dealerships can handle this is to take customers first - come first serve. A lot of customers will be unhappy with their mechanics. It's not the mechanics fault, they came to work every day and were there to serve you, you couldn't get your boat out or just put off taking the boat for repairs. Calm down, we will get through this, we always do. It will just take a little hard work and a little patience.

No one expected a winter like the one we are having this year. Things come up, we understand. But if you want to be one of the first to go fishing this spring and your boat needs some repairs, I would suggest getting your boat to the repair shop today. It hasn't snowed in a couple of days and that means it could snow at any minute.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It Just Keeps Snowing; Guys Are Going South

Have you ever seen a winter when it just kept snowing and arctic blasts keep coming through our area? I can't remember a year it seemed to snow several times a week, week after week. Local anglers are tired of it and a lot of the guys are going south.

We have a group of local anglers that go south every winter to get away from the cold and do what they like to do, Fish. This year it seems that the unusually snowy and extra cold weather has sent even more angler than usual south. Check out the FaceBook pages of your fishing buddies and I bet you will see the same thing. You will start to feel that you are the only one not fishing Lake Okeechobee. I have seen guys fishing on Stick Marsh, Toho and Okeechobee. I started to feel bad for myself, stuck here in the cold, while they were getting to fish wearing shorts and T shirts. Then it hit me, good for them. They are getting to fish. Hopefully they will come back with some stories and good photos that they can share with the rest of us. It will give us something to talk about and get us excited about the up coming fishing season, instead of sitting around dreaming of fishing.

Having your fishing buddies getting to go fishing is the next best thing to getting to go yourself.  We can all live and learn through their fishing experience. It looks like we will have to, the groundhog says it going to keep snowing and stay cold. If it continues, maybe we will get a chance to go fishing down south or at least get to go groundhog hunting.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's Show Time Again!!!!!

Every January it happens, Boating and Fishing Shows Start. After the holidays and deer season have past, anglers are tired of having nothing to do. They are tired of cold and short days. Fear not, It's Show Time Again.

In our region, many of the fishing shows have disappeared, they have been replaced by  boat dealer's having Open Houses, taking boats to fishing flea markets and smaller shows with only a few boats to look at. Several of the big power boat show are still around, but many fishing boat dealerships have discontinued going to those show because anglers generally do not attend that type of show. Few bass boat dealers survived the economic downturn and those that did struggle to find enough customers at the larger power boat show to recoup the expense of those shows. If you spend $25K on a display booth and sell only a couple of boats it is a burden that many dealership just could not afford. Fishing boat shows with 50 bass boats to look at may be gone forever. Hopefully our Government they will pass a law that every house needs to have a Bass Boat and then those shows that everyone used to attend will  return. Till then, we will just have to attend the shows that are still around or go to dealerships that carry multiple boat brands to cut down on running half way around the world to look at boats.

Yep, it has already been a long cold winter. But starting this week are will have something to do on Saturday and Sundays, we can call our fishing buddies and pile in the truck and go to the fishing show.Because It's Show Time Again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Freeze of the Year, Make Sure Your Drain Plug is Out

Our region just had the first freezing temperatures of the year. When that happens, you have a couple of items that you must do to continue to fish this fall and winter. If you don't take these steps, you better learn to dog pedal.

Many of the angler's in our region fish all year long, to do this, there are several steps that need to be done every time you go boating after the temperatures start to reach the freezing point. These steps are easy and only require a few minutes to complete and will keep you from having a problem that could possibly cost you your life. Water freezes at 32 degrees, when water freezes, it expands. This expansion is a problem for the pumps, values, hoses and even some engine parts on your boat. When a component freezes and cracks, a water or fuel leaks will occur. Water leaks will at a minimum will get you wet, hampers boat drive-ability and wreck you day. But much more dangerous results are possible; you boat could sink leaving you in the cold water causing hypothermia, loss of consciousness and possible death. The hazards of a fuel leak are just as dangerous, with fire and explosions possible. Leaks of either water or fuel should be taken very seriously as life and limb can be a consequence of a part failure.

So how can I keep this from happening to me? You can never stop every issue from occurring, but you can take the steps that will minimize your risk of them happening to you. First thing to do after boating in freezing climates starts at the boat ramp after you load your boat on the trailer. Pull your rig into the parking lot and trim your engine all the way down. This will allow the water to drain out of the engine completely, this takes about five minutes. No water in the engine means no engine parts freezing, cracking and causing fuel leaks. Next, remove your boats drain plug and allow the water to drain out every time you go boating during cold weather. Next, drain your live-well/bait-wells completely and leave them in the empty position. This will let the water drain from the pumps, valves and hoses and keep them from cracking which could cause a water leak. Now you are ready to drive home and park your rig. When you arrive home, if your rig gets parked outside, make sure that the nose of the trailer is cranked up to allow any water from rain or snow to drain out.  I always check my boat for water after parking the truck every time I launch my boat during cold weather, just in case a pump cracked. Do this by turning on the bilge pump, if it pumps water, put it immediately back on the trailer to find the reason water got into the bilge. That's all there is to it.

Take these simple steps during cold weather boating and chances are you will have a great time without taking any chances of something bad occurring. It should be mentioned that other engine services are required such as checking gear cases for water should be done before it gets to cold. Also reread our post from April about warming up DFI Engines, as cold water and cold air require you to warm your engine up before operating it in cold conditions. Some of the best fishing days I have ever had occurred on the Potomac River when ice was forming in the guides of my fishing rod. Cold weather fishing is great fun when you are well prepared and look at safety first.    

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's October Already, Time to Get Your Boat Prepared for Offseason Storage

Can you believe it is October already? This years weather has been unusual to say the least; Spring was late, Summer never really got Hot and now Fall is here. If you are going to put your boat away for the winter, it is time to get your boat prepared now.

If you are going to use your boat all Winter long,  you only really need to check your gear oil for water so it doesn't freeze once the weather gets cold. You can now go fishing or hunting as the rest of this blog will do little to help you. If you are going to winterize and store you boat this Winter, the helpful hints below will be of service to you when you do put your boat away later this Fall.

Here are some hints that will aid you in getting your boat ready to store or winterize later this Fall. The biggest problem with today's boats is the use gasoline with ethanol in it. Most people in our region have little choice but to use this product as it is mandated by the EPA for the entire I 95 corridor. In the past manufactures and mechanics recommended filling your gas tanks on your boat with fuel to prevent condensation from building up in your fuel tank. This is no longer the recommendation, keep as little fuel as possible in the fuel tank for storage. Now is the time to start monitoring your boats fuel level and now is the time to start adding a fuel stabilization product with ethanol treatment to your gas every time you fuel up. Here is what I mean by monitoring your fuel level, if you are going boating and plan on running around a lot it is OK to fill the tank up, if you are going out for a couple of hours and have enough fuel in the boat already, don't fuel up. When it gets the time to winterize your boat, you don't want to pump the fuel out of your boat if possible. By adding fuel treatment now, if you get caught and don't take your boat back out, the fuel in the engine will have been already treated. Another item that should be addressed now is water levels in your batteries. If you have maintenance free batteries, again you can now go fishing or hunting. If you have batteries that your can add water to, you should check it now rather than latter. Only use distilled water when filling batteries, you can get an gallon at the grocery store for only a dollar. The reason that you need to do it now is that it will have a chance to charge and cycle the battery. A charged battery can not freeze, if you put the water in latter it is possible that the battery will freeze. By doing it now, you can use the boat and the motor will charge it up.

Do these simple items now and when you get ready to winterize your boat latter this Fall, all the hard items will be easy not having to deal with pumping gas out of your boat or a bad battery next Spring.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

High Tech Equipment on Bass Boats; Don't Let it Ruin the Fun

Today's bass boats have more hi tech equipment than an airplane of the not so distance past. Today's direct injection engines have more computing power than the Apollo spacecraft's. Bass anglers are using electronics that have so many features that listing them would make this a book, not a blog. Recently, I have dealt with several customers that became overwhelmed by using there electronics that it wrecked their day of fishing. Don't let hi tech gadgets wreck your fishing days, fishing is supposed to be fun.

I blame Apple's I Pad for all these problems; they do what people want them to do seamlessly. People's expectation is generally reached by Apple's products and customers feel that all electronics should be as easy and useful as there I Pads. You can learn to use an I Pad well in a couple of hours, but today's marine electronics take much longer to learn. Fact is, none of Apples products like water, if they get wet, you get to buy a new I Pad. They also do not have the capability of finding fish, charting your course, side & down imaging, setting your weigh points, showing your instrumentation or handling the rough conditions that your boat's electronics goes through. So if you take your easy to use I Pad fishing with you, chances are your become frustrated with it also.

Now that we have blamed Apple for all of our problems, let's talk about having fun fishing. Today's electronics are made to be useful in a variety of different applications, from off shore boats to kayaks. They are used by professionals to novices with different levels of experience. The key is to use the units to your level, while learning to increase your capabilities. Pros on the Tour fish for a living, they use their equipment every day and have years of doing so. Most local anglers have a job, that is what they do every day and fish when they can. Most units will make adjustments automatically for you when set to Auto Mode, use this mode and enjoy your day of fishing. If you want to get more out of your electronics; check out You Tube, your units manufacture web site, use a local guide to show you how to operate your unit. Then leave the rods at home, take the owner's manual with you and go play with your units. Pick whatever feature you want to learn on this trip and do nothing else, master that subject.  Do this a couple of times and you to will become an expert in the field of marine electronics.

 Today's electronics are great tools; they can help you catch more fish.  Don't try to learn how to use your electronics while going fishing. These are two different activities, one helps you get ready to do the other. If you are going fishing, go fishing, enjoy fishing.  Don't let your hi tech equipment wreck your fishing.   

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Heat of Summer Is Almost Here; Don't Bake Your Outboard

The heat of Summer offers boaters great weather and many days of enjoying life on the local rivers and lakes. Summer also creates some challenges for boaters, overheated engines cause by debris in the water and grass clogging water inlets is a big problem if not handled correctly. Read on learn how to make this seasonal issue no big deal or take a chance on baking your outboard engine.

Every Summer when boating traffic increases and the submerged aquatic vegetation (grass) grows all over the river we have customers pick up a dis-guarded  ice bag or even grass in their water intakes and overheat their outboards. It happens, the alarm goes off and everyone tries to figure out what happened. If no water is coming out of the telltale then it has no water pressure and the intakes are likely clogged causing your engine to overheat. This is the time when you can save your outboard and yourself thousands of dollars in repairs or let it sit there and bake. If you stop your engine when the alarm goes off, clear the debris from the water inlets and then start your engine up and give it an high idle in neutral, your engine will quickly cool back down. The worse thing you can do is to sit there and wait for your engine to cool down by itself. With no water circulating through the engine the temperature will stay high for quite a while, baking the engine and its parts. I have seen coils, hoses and wiring harnesses melt to the block because of this. It can turn into some serious dollars, as bad as including total engine rebuilds with additional accessories needing added to complete the repair. Not knowing how to handle engine overheating is a killer.

When you go out boating this Summer; enjoy the boating, fishing or whatever water-sport you like. If you overheat your engine take the correct steps to save your outboard engine and continue enjoying your day while others cook hot dogs on the engine blocks.