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Waterfowl season opened to some ‘ducky’ weather. Low overcast with cool/cold rain and wind. Just the dreary kind of day waterfowlers love and normal people complain about.
The downside of this type of ‘perfect’ weather, for us old timers, is that everything hurts. There are three ways to handle this inconvenience: (1) Go, sit in a blind and complain often; (2) Don’t go, but tell everyone you did or (3) One of my favorites, drive to within binocular distance of a known duck pond and do some long distance scouting. If ducks/geese are on the water, roll the window back up, get out and put the sneak on’em! Granted, it’s not the most ‘traditional’ way to hunt, but it beats the recliner.
Remember: Have permission to hunt any pond, field you find. And, you need permission to access the river through private property.
--With the opening of hunting seasons ‘most’ outdoors men/women have quit fishing. This means an expensive piece of equipment may be just sittin’ there not being used.
So, for the protection of your boat, and to save a bunch of money next spring, consider ‘winterizing’ your toy.
First off drain, then refill, your engines loser unit. If there’s water in the unit and it freezes your looking at big bucks for the fix!
Some anglers ‘fog’ their engines. This is simply a matter of getting some engine fogging spray, Bass Pro Shop has it, pulling each spark plug and spraying the fogging oil into each cylinder. Remove/replace each plug one at a time. You might want to spray a thin coat on the engine.
Next would come the issue of the fuel. Since it’s like finding chicken teeth to obtain ethanol free gas, we’re stuck with fuel that will run a marine engine if not treated (and then there’s no guarantee)!
Not the least of the problems this fuel causes is water in the fuel. Let a half full tank sit all winter and you’ll have a layer of water on the bottom of your gas tank come spring.
Given that, I suggest two options: Either store your boat with the tank bone dry or full (no room for condensation with a full tank). If you store with a full tank be sure to add ethanol treatment to your gas, about twice what the directions call for!
With a carbureted engine you want to start the engine, in the water or with ‘rabbit ears’ attached, and then unplug the fuel line. The engine will use the fuel in the carb bowl then die. This keeps gas from evaporating from the bowl and leaving a varnish coating in the carb.
If you don’t have a continuous trickle charge on your battery, they should be removed from the boat and stored inside, where they won’t freeze. Just top off the charge about once a month while they’re in storage.
Make sure no water is in the bottom of the boat. Don’t store your boat with the plug in! Don’t laugh, it’s happened!
A good cleaning, inside and out, a coat of wax and mouse proofing should get you through the winter.
Mouse proofing? Yes, they love, for some reason, to eat through wires. One thing to try is ‘mothballs.’ You’re still laughing aren’t you? Pick up some mothballs at Walmart, put them in red solo cups, you’re laughing again. Put a red solo cup with mothballs in each compartment of your boat and a few under the console. You’ll probably want to check your cups monthly and refresh your mothball stock.
The fumes will keep the mice away!
As for your trailer: Won’t hurt to grease your bearings now. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and, if possible, put blocks under the axle to keep the tires off the ground while in storage. I know, I’ve never done that either. But, it is recommended by those who are tire ‘specialists.’
A waterproof, yet ‘breathable’, boat cover will complete the winterization.
Or, avoid most of this, except the ethanol treatment, all the time, and use your boat year round (except when we have hard water). When the lakes freeze over, head south.
No place/time/money for a winter in the south? Refer to the ‘winterization’ guidelines.
Some anglers do use their rigs pretty much year round. With the float & fly method of smallmouth fishing very applicable to Dale Hollow, Green and most of the big lakes it’s more a matter of what you’re willing to endure than availability of fishing.
And really, we only have a couple of really ‘bad’ months anyway, then we can duck hunt!
Duck hunt out of a metal flake, gel coated bass boat, are ya nuts? Well maybe! But, how many times have you been fishing and had ducks/geese fly within ‘casting distance’ of your boat?
To be realistic, use your boat to access a lake point and put out your decoy spread. Then take your boat way down the bank and ‘hide’ it, covering with a camo net/trap works.
Walk back, get in your layout blind on the bank or sit back in the brush/weeds, and wait.
The bass/duck boat idea might seem more than a little unorthodox but it beats not hunting at all.
--Christmas list: new fishing line, rods, reels, duck/goose calls, flashlights etc. Let’s make this simple. Most anything in Walmart’s sporting goods section, Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas is good!
But, I still recommend a gift card from one of the above. Size, color, style, etc. all become mute points!
So, you think a gift card isn’t very ‘personal’? Consider: No need to exchange, getting exactly the right thing and passing away long winter evenings going over a catalogue to find what is really needed! Or holding/hoarding cards till the spring sales (I am, of course, thinking about the BPS March madness Sale).
The major thing to remember is that Christmas isn’t about what you give or get. Christmas is all about... Seriously, you already know what it’s about don’t you?
Guess that’s it for now. Get out and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Stay safe and I’ll see ya next week!