Waterfowl hunters are a hardcore breed. When it comes time to wake up at 4am (or earlier) and hit the spot the last thing you need is a bunch of headaches on the boat. The offseason is the perfect time to get your watercraft in prime shape and solve any “damn it’s” you may have expressed the season prior.
Keep It Running
One of the biggest things you can do is keep that boat, motor, and batteries excessive regularly during the offseason. This is more than just plugging up the garden hose and letting “braap” a few times and then putting it away gain – get it out on the water, regularly. This will keep fuel fresh in the carb, it will give you a chance to fine-tune your engine, and it will keep your boating skills on point while you wait for daffy season.
Even for trolling motor guys exercising the battery is important. For gas boats with a battery system onboard, the same goes for you. Some basics to start with are making sure your terminal are clean, and then give hem a coating of dielectric grease or even spray on battery terminal protector from the auto parts store. While not in use, get yourself a battery tender and make constant use of it.
“Battery life and performance, average battery life has become shorter as energy requirements increase. Two phrases heard most often are “my battery won’t take a charge and my battery won’t hold a charge”. Only 30% of batteries sold today reach the 48-month mark. In fact, 80% of all battery failure is related to sulfation build-up. This build-up occurs when the sulfur molecules in the electrolyte (battery acid) becomes so deeply discharged that they begin to coat the batteries lead plates. Before long the plates become so coated the battery dies.“
Even if you just bought those batteries and hit the water only 15 times last season, the truth is new batteries need to be cycled several times at no greater than 50% Depth of Discharge before reaching full capacity and hitting the sweet spot. This is usually about 25-50 cycles.
Rigging & Getting Rid of the “Damn It’s”
Did you sit there in your boat blind and couldn’t find something, step on something, have your arm hit something, or ever said to yourself “You know what would be cool…”. The offseason is the time to tweak your hunting boat and make those fixes and upgrades. Maybe you want to make a different blind structure, add a holder of some sort, or just reorganize how items fit in the boat – get it dialed in now. Then get the boat on the water and make sure everything is operating as you think it should. If not, then you know what you’re doing next weekend!
Don’t forget to use this time to inspect, repair or replace all of your regular hunting gear as well. This includes waders, blinds, and so on. By next season you will be in prime shape to enjoy the hunt without any headaches.