The New Year Has Arrived!

By Capt. James McManus

So, the New Year has arrived, I have opened all my presents, eaten everything in sight, and I am ready to lay low for a month or so. Chances are, at least some part of this month will deliver a white, slick driveway and hauling the boat up and back will be impossible so, finding tolerable chores is high on my list. With a boat, you have a readymade place to start. Here are a few of my to-dos.

From the ground up, I start with the trailer. Check tires for wear and pressure. I jack up each wheel and grease and check the play in the bearings. Hook up the boat and check all the lights, look at bunk supports and bunk lumber. I even carry a preassembled hub kit. This may at least keep you off the side of the road come better weather.

Next, I move to boat safety equipment, check expiration dates on fire extinguishers, small medical kit, flares, whistles and condition of life jackets and tool kit. You need a kill switch in good shape, and now’s a good time to check battery life, fluid levels, remove, clean and treat posts and connectors of all electronics. Power up boat and check lights and bilge pump and listen for fuel pump and starter issues. Look into bilge and check bilge pump and actuator, along with fittings on anything else that’s visible. I always have my guys at Rhinehart’s tune up and change fluids in the motor before heavy winter sets in. A fuel additive is a good idea if you plan to let the boat sit, along with running fuel out after the last run.

After small checks of drain plug o rings, hinges, and other visible moving parts, I tighten all the bolts on my t-top, check steering arm bolts and motor mount bolts and perform a general visual inspection of the trolling motor and all things connected to the boat. Now that your boats ready for a weather break, all you have left is changing line on all 50 rigs, clean, grease and repair reels and rods, go buy a couple dozen of the newest hot baits and you are ready for that first tolerable day. Stay safe, be prepared to stay warm and as soon as the snow melts, get back out there; the fish still have to eat.

Later, Capt. James

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125.

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