Off-Season Boat Projects

News & Tips: Off-Season Boat Projects

Although winter's grip is still strong, spring will be here soon, folks. One important off-season "to-do" is to plan boat projects and complete them if you're fortunate to have warm working space. The reasons for this are many.

OffSeasonBoatProjectPlanninngTips blog
Install a quick-draining tile in compartments to keep stored items dry.

I find preparation for boat projects easier to do when I'm not distracted by open-water fishing opportunities. Plus, there's more time in the winter to acquire all the parts and hardware you need. Supplies have a tendency to become scarce once spring arrives and anglers across the continent get the itch to hit the water, but they realize some repairs are required first. The extra time that the off season delivers is also beneficial when boat rigging takes longer than originally anticipated — and what project doesn't by the way?

A recent enhancement I undertook with my boat was installing new electronics. Given the blistering pace of fish-catching technology advancements, I immediately noticed an improvement with the new units in being able to scout water fast, find fish easier, and navigate more efficiently. Moving from a 5- to an 8-inch display at my console also made a huge difference in usability and the data the screen projected.

As part of the task of mounting the transducer for the new sonar/GPS unit, I first installed a transom mounting plate. The benefit of this boating accessory is that once it's mounted with screws, you won't need to drill additional holes in the boat; rather, the transducer is screwed directly to the plate. I highly recommend installing a mounting plate as part of any sonar upgrade boat project. It was the best $20 I spent on my boat in a long time.

Another consideration for electronic improvements is to install a RAM or another maneuverable mounting system for the sonar display unit. These accessories expand mounting options. They also deliver a wide range of versatile and customizable viewing options for the display.

While a new sonar/GPS unit will boost the performance of your rig, there are also plenty of small and easy tasks you can do to improve the fishability of your water chariot. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Put Aquamat or another type of quick-draining tile in compartments to keep stored items dry;
  • Upgrade the seats;
  • Install new rod holders;
  • Inspect life jackets and replace worn ones;
  • Restock your first aid kit;
  • Tighten all screws and bolts, which can loosen from a season's worth of towing and boating vibrations;
  • Test batteries and upgrade if required;
  • Install a KeelGuard;
  • Clean and replace worn bilge and live-well pumps;
  • Organize loose items in plastic totes and waterproof trays; and
  • Inspect trailer tires, tie-down straps, and lights; fix as needed.