Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe
Looks like we will see the first bit of Spring trying to show its self. In the Panhandle that can be a bad thing at times with lots of rain and some decent wind, it looks like it will be a blow out for everyone. Friday may be a possibility, but next week will be a better bet. The weekends we are kept off the water are good for lots of reasons and for many of us time with the land loving side of the family can be great! Weekends like this are also good times to give boats, trailers, rods, reels, and tackle care and preventive maintenance.
Nothing worse then dropping the boat in the water or getting to the dock only to find out when you go to crank the engine(s) the batteries are dead. The two big killers to boats operating properly are not running the engines, and corrosion to wires and connections. Regular weekly start up will keep everything working properly and also give you a heads up if an issue is forming prior to heading out on the water. A good once over of the wiring and connections is a good idea. Look for visible corrosion, and check to make sure connections are snug and tight. I will usually give each connection a tug to make sure corrosion hasn’t set in where I can not see. Often times if corrosion has started the wires will become brittle and the connection can come undone with very little force. If the connection is bad redoing the connection is the first step, if the wire is corroded cutting the wire back a few inches may reveal some good wire. If not its best to replace the entire thing. Corrosion is like cancer and can spread all the way down the wire. Preventive maintenance will make a big difference in keeping corrosion from happening. A $10 bottle of Fluidfilm can prevent hundreds of dollars in replacing wires. I usually give each connection a good once over at least 3 times a year.
Boat trailers are one of the most easily over looked tools a fishermen has. They are relatively simple but if you are new to it, they can be a little overwhelming when things go bad. A good quick checklist is to do a classic walk around, connections to the truck are good, tires inflated properly, lights work, breaks work (if equipped), and hubs are lubed. Most hubs nowadays have nipples in the middle for adding grease to the bearings. A grease gun and can of grease will save your trailer from excess wear and tear. Be sure to check straps from the boat to the trailer. I typically use three one in front in addition to the wench strap, and two in the back. All should be tight and free from and excessive wear and/or any tears. I have seen more then a couple of boats fall off the trailer in my day and most of the time its due to the a old worn wench strap being the only thing securing the boat to the trailer. Be safe and do an extra walk around before heading down the road!
Rods and reels are about as important as any tool on a fishermens boat and most take good care of their gear. The thing I see more times then not is a rusty tackle box. Its so frustrating to go to grab a lure only to find the hooks have rusted leaving a spot in your box to remind you over and over of the fish you just missed. Cornstarch can help keep hooks from rusting, but the best thing is going through your gear and replacing them when needed. Lures can be frustrating but a cheap 8-12$ pair of split ring pliers will change your life when it comes to hooks. Be sure to stay to the same hook size, changing the size can alter the action of the lure dramatically. Keep your head up and gear ready, it wont be long before we have flat seas and get to hear the scream of drag!