The right gear: Rigging your boat for the open water season

Anglers throughout the Midwest are taking their fishing boats out of mothballs and beginning the task of preparing the boat for the upcoming open water season.

Many hearty anglers have already been out on our river systems, but the vast majority of anglers wait until April to get things in order for the May inland opener. Here are some thoughts on rigging your boat and some tips for equipment that make a ton of sense.

Today’s modern motors now offer an affordable RPM adjustment to allow the motor to troll down to slow speeds or speed up for trolling forward. Submitted photo

Today’s modern motors now offer an affordable RPM adjustment to allow the motor to troll down to slow speeds or speed up for trolling forward. Submitted photo

RPM controls

Today’s modern outboards all have the ability to add an additional perk to the motor such as an RPM control. This feature allows the angler to manually adjust the RPMs on the motor to help it troll down slower or even speed it up.

This unique, modern system is very inexpensive and can be added on as an afterthought on most motors. The price for this valuable addition is around $100. I have used this RPM adjustment this past season for the first time and I found it very valuable when back trolling live bait and also for front trolling plugs.

LED trailer lights

The days of the old fashioned bulbs are long gone as all trailer manufacturers have gone away from the archaic bulbs to the more modern and durable LED lights. LED (light emitting diode) lights are now made to last a lifetime and more importantly have waterproof characteristics that allow you to back your trailer into the water without having to unplug your lights.

No more blown bulbs when backed under water.

Many kits are available that can be added to your existing trailer and it is a simple process to remove the old style lights and replace with the LED system. The wiring for both units are the same so it is a snap for most anglers to make the switch.

Non-slip tape for trailer frame

The first thing I do every season on my new boats is add some 3M, non-slip tape to the trailer frame. This non-slip tape allows me to walk down the trailer frame to load and unload my boat with ease. Even if the trailer is wet the non-slip tape gives me great footing. When I launch my boat I often walk down the frame to push the boat off and the one inch tape along the frame gives me peace of mind. Don’t even think about walking on these painted trailer frames without protection as your shins will pay the price.

Bilge pumps

If the bilge pump on your boat is over five years old it is time to replace it. This $50 item can actually save your life and is the most important safety feature on your boat. If this fails you are in big trouble especially if you are miles out on a lake. Today’s modern boats now feature an auto bilge pump along with a manual bilge pump giving you two options. That’s how valuable the manufacturers believe having a workable and operational bilge pump needs to be for safety reasons.

Steve Carney is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.

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