Filling your boat with lures and tackle boxes is something we all give a lot of thought to before we hit the water, but fooling bass is not everything we need to be ready for when we launch the boat. Consider all the possible things that could happen out on the lake and try to pack some extras to address these issues so they do not ruin your day on the water. The following is a rundown of the stuff I have packed in my boat to make sure I get the most out of my days on the water whether it is in a tournament or for fun.
Tool Box There are countless things that can happen on the lake that require some fixing to keep you out there fishing, having the right tools on board will allow you to do this. I always keep a prop wrench, prop washers and pins for the outboard and trolling motor, wire ties, electrical tape, fuses, pliers, and screw drivers in a water proof box in the boat. I have saved a lot of fishing days with some simple fixes on the lake, but without the right tools I would have been back at the ramp.
Jumper Cables – Will save you if your starting battery dies during the day, a simple jump from the trolling motor batteries or another boat can get you back to weigh-in. Also handy at the ramp if the vehicle batteries are having trouble.
Tow Strap – Makes the task of towing easier with a strap that has hooks on both ends versus trying to tie knots, also much easier to remove when done. Have used the strap to move logs blocking access to a creek so I could get to some new fishing water, and tow brush piles around to sink.
Aerator Pumps – Having two extra pumps on allows me to change any pumps that go out on the water, making sure my fish get back alive. This is an easy fix on the water, provided your pumps are easily accessed.
Extra Prop – Many days have been ruined by operator error and banging up a prop. I keep my extra wrapped in a beach towel in a back compartment. The towel keeps the prop from dinging up the inside of the compartment and is also handy in cold weather if you get wet. Have a small piece of 2×4 as well to help hold prop in place when loosening and tightening prop on the shaft.
Weigh In Bags – I keep two weigh in bags along in case I have to ride in with someone else at the last minute to the scales. Having one for you and your partner makes it quicker to transfer to other boat with no confusion about the fish.
Line Conditioner – Love to spray on my line in the morning, reduces memory and makes my presentations better.
Hat Light – Fits on my hat bill and gives me light for working on my stuff before take off and at night getting my tackle ready.
First Aid Kit – Obvious reasons to carry this on board. Have Tylenol, band-aids, antiseptic, and Benadryl always in mine. Be prepared for cuts, hook removals, headaches, and allergic reactions.
Hat and Sunglasses – The two things that are most frequently lost or forgotten when fishing. Having these on board prevents many sunburned heads and worn out eyes at the end of the day.
Push Pole – Great for guys like me who tend to get stuck trying to get into backwaters. Also good for being quiet around spawning fish.
Needle Nose, Scissors, and Knife – Multiple uses on the water, and a must for every boat.
Extra Clothes – During cold weather I always have dry clothes packed in case I get wet in cold temperatures. A spare rain suit is also smart. Having these on board may not just keep you out fishing; it may save your life preventing hypothermia.
Having all of this stuff in the boat does take up quite a bit of space, but many of these things become more important than your fishing lures if the situation calls for them. Give some thought to possible problems you could incur while out on the water, plan for the fix, and pack accordingly. We all have limited time that we get to go fishing so be sure to maximize that time by being prepared.