Spring is finally here and Tournament season is getting into full swing down south. The ice is leaving up north and everyone is itching to get out on the water. This is a great time to make sure your Rig is ready for that first day out on the lake. It’s better to take a few minutes now to ensure everything is in proper working order for your partner’s safety as well as others who may be on the lake.
Let’s start with the workhorse of your rig, the trailer. Probably the most neglected part of your rig. Let’s start with the tires, ensure that they have proper air pressure, you can find the rating on the sidewall of your tires. Proper tire inflation ensures the tires wear properly and increases towing ease, which helps with gas mileage. Give your tires a close look to make sure they are not dry rotted. Don’t forget the spare tire! Check it as well and also make sure you have the proper size lug wrench for your trailer wheel lug nuts.
While we are in the area of the tires, let’s look at the trailer hubs next. If your trailer has buddy bearings, this may be a good time to think about re-packing the wheel bearings with the proper grease. If you have the oil filled hubs, make sure they have the proper amount of oil in them.
Let’s move to the front of the trailer and look at the winch strap. Unhook it from the boat and pull it out to make sure it isn’t frayed or dry rotted. This strap and the back trailer straps are all that keeps your boat secure while traveling down the road. While up front check the coupler to make sure it is working properly. A little shot of oil on the hinges and a little dab of grease inside the coupler will help with getting your trailer on and off your Tow ball.
Next, check your life vests to make sure they are in good working order. If you have the Auto Inflatable vests, check the co2 cartridge to make sure it is still good. Check your Fire Extinguisher to make sure it is in good working order. Check your states requirements for all Safety items required to have in your vessel while on the water.
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the rig. Check the water level in your Batteries. Check all your battery connections for corrosion and if they have loosened over the past season. Make sure you have a full charge on your batteries before heading out to your favorite fishing hole. There’s nothing worse than a dead battery out on the lake!
Check your bilge pumps for proper operation. A faulty pump can turn a great day on the water into an emergency in a matter of minutes. The live well pumps should be checked as well. Fish Care is our responsibility to ensure we leave resources for our children and grandchildren.
The next thing I do is remove my prop on the big motor and trolling motor. I do this for a couple of reasons, first to look for fishing line that may have gotten wrapped up behind the props. This will cause the seals to wear prematurely and lead to motor failure. The second thing I am looking for is damage to the props. I am looking for nicks, dings, bent or cracked blades. Nicks and dings will cause your prop to not be as efficient as it could be. Inspect the bolts for the motor mounts and steering rack on your big motor to ensure they are tight. Most motors have grease ports that will need the grease replenished. This keeps those moving parts from premature wearing.
Finally, check your running lights for proper operation. Most tournament directors will not let you leave at blast off until your lights are in proper working order. These are just a few of the things I check on my Tournament rig before taking that first trip of the year to the water. A little preventive maintenance will go a long way to ensure you are ready to have a successful day on the water.