Spring boat maintenance

Spring walleye fishing is upon us, rumor has it that a few big fish have made their way up the Detroit river.  That means the action is about to be on us.  If you call yourself a walleye fisherman, you know what that means.  Excited yet?  Before long we will be out chasing the dream of a plus ten pound fish.

There is no doubt the spring walleye run is something to look forward to.  The spring run is one of the best times of the year for an outdoors-man but what about the worst?  How about having your boat and all your gear on top of thousands of walleye and not being able to get ole faithful to run.  Talk about a real bummer.

I was there last year.  The spring walleye run on the Detroit river in 2012 was an early one.  By the time I made it out for the first time, the run was half way over.  No big deal right?  I still had a few weeks of good walleye action right?  Wrong, I jigged for a half hour before my motor stopped working.

Talk about a predicament.  There I was, floating amongst hundreds of other boats on top of a bunch of walleyes.  The launch was up-river and the only way to get there was my trolling motor.  I would be lying if I said I didn't think about continuing to jig down the river and ask for a tow back but common sense prevailed and we limped back to the launch.

Once we arrived back at the house, I opened up the motor to see what was wrong with it.  The motor still would not start so we decided to change the spark-plugs.  Once we changed the spark-plugs, the motor fired up!  Unfortunately, we noticed the reason why the motor stopped running on the water.

There seemed to be an issue because the water coming in to the motor that cools the engine was coming out the block.  Once the engine ran for a bit, the water slowly would rise until the spark-plugs got wet.  Talk about a bummer.  This was not going to be an easy fix.  Long story short, a couple weeks went by before I was fishing again.

This is an example of why we should always be prepared as outdoors-man when we enter the field.  I had started up the motor before the trip but did not take the cover off of it.  If I would have, I would have noticed that the motor was filling with water and wouldn't have went out.

The issue I had was not a major one but could have been caught.  Watching your motor run (with the cover off) is only one of the things you should do before going out on the water.

Every year before you go out the following things should at least be checked. 

Fuel line/ fuel filter - check for build-up.

Oil filter (4 stroke)- change.

Lower unit oil- change.

Spark plugs - change.

Flare expiration date - replace if needed.

Fire estinguisher expiration date - replace if needed.

Fishing license - don't forget to get your new license.

Strap/hook on trailer for hooking boat- Make sure the connection is good and strap is not starting to rot.

Tail-lights - working ?

Wheels on trailer - make sure they are inflated properly/ check bearings.

Night-time running lights - make sure all lights work.

Check batteries - make sure all connections are good.

Check plug- make sure the plug is in the boat before heading out.

Trailer tie-downs- make sure they are not rotten.

I am sure there are a few more so please comment below if I have missed any.  Have fun out there this year and be safe!

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