The weather is warming across the country and anglers who have been locked up in snow, cold and wet are creeping out of their garages and living rooms to hit the water for early season fishing.
Before hooking up the boat, there are several simple checks that need to be done on the boat, truck and trailer that can save a few headaches or worse disasters. Even though the boat may have been put away appropriately, it’s the little things that can cause a calamity. Minor things can become major disasters. Below is a quick checklist that may help eliminate any problem on that first trip of the year.
1. Check the hitch ball – Check the nut and lock washer on your tow vehicle to assure it is tight. Its always good to put a small amount of grease on the ball as well. This is great for assuring a good ground for lights and will keep the squeaks down traveling down the road.
2. Check the receiver for rust and possible weld breaks– A quick look with a flashlight both on the outside and inside easily makes sure it is ready for another year. This is also a good time to look at the receiver pin and lock if you have one. It’s always good to test the lock, give it a shot of oil and make sure it is secure and won’t come unpegged if jostled.
3. Check the electrical plug the truck and boat for corrosion. A quick shot of WD40 or other lubricant and a wire brush will insure it will stay clean the entire year. Some anglers use the round plug on the truck and its good to open the door and check for corrosion, dirt or muck that may have gotten in over the winter. Again a quick shot of WD40 does the trick here too.
4. It is always good to do a general check of the trailer this time of year as well. Check for loose bolts and screws, wires not properly concealed or hanging down, tires and lug nuts, license plate holder and bunks. Check tire pressure, grease bearings and check all lights including turn signals. If a light fails its a good time to put in LEDs. They last longer than bulbs, are brighter and are not expensive. It is also important to check the wheel jack and make sure it is lubricated. Tightened U-Bolts on the trailer and spare tire holder if applicable. Lugs on the spare should be checked as well.
5. Check bow eye for tightness. Also check the winch strap and winch. Checking this can make sure of no failure during the entire fishing season. Align winch to make sure it is square with bow eye. This will keep strap for getting bound or tearing. Make sure the strap lays flat on the winch.
6. This is a great time to change lower unit lube as well – With the motor in a vertical position, place drain pan under lower unit. Remove lower screw on the front side of the nose of the lower unit. Second, remove top screw above cavitation plate and let drain completely. Fill with gear lube from the bottom until lube begins coming out of the top hole. Replace top plug and then replace lower plug. You are ready to go.
Note: check drained fluid from the lower unit for cloudiness/milkiness. This can be a sign of water and may mean a gasket or washer needs to be replaced. See your local dealer for information/guidance.
Spring is a great time to make sure everything on the boat is ready to go. Tighten, lubricate and repair!