Tips and Tactics 6
Anglers are always looking for a better mouse trap. One of the things I noticed, being a tackle junkie for years was the commonality of colors in my tackle selection. So I decided to do something about it and came to some beautiful results. I am also someone who enjoys hobbies and when I picked up a small airbrush unit from my brother, little did I know where this would lead.
I have a great selection of blades and crank baits. Just cleaning up a few and adding non available in store colors, I have been able to completely personalized my tackle to colours I always wished I had.
Crankbaits that are factory finished can prove to be a hobbyist dream who just wants to add different shades of color or add accents. Old crankbaits with reflective Mylar inserts now have a completely different look when paint only allows a portion of the reflective shine come through. Good colours become vibrant and mediocre crankbaits become the go to choices. Painting also allows you to take tried and true colours and add them to similar baits so now a trip to the store is not necessary.
Even if it is a hobby, customizing and painting your own baits gives you a new found satisfaction.
You might ask why I don’t buy blanks and start from scratch. I have many duplicates with different colorations that adding to my collection just doesn’t make sense. If a colour proves to be a non – starter, I can always use a cleaner and start over. But to date, that has not happened.
This might be a hobby you might take up or allow yourself to discover the artistic side of your personality. At best, you will discover some amazing results that will put a huge smile on your face as you net a giant on your creation.
I sometimes carry two anchors on board, especially if I am in a tournament or fishing waters that get too rough to use an electric trolling motor or may require a vertical bait presentation under adverse conditions. I have a substantial fluke anchor designed for a larger boat with 4’ of chain plus a 100’ of rope but sometimes the bottom is too hard to anchor up properly or too windy.
In this case, I will tie on a smaller anchor to the main anchor with a short length of rope and chain from the second anchor. I drop the small anchor first followed by the main anchor. The additional weight and hooking points allows for more opportunity to catch bottom and the added weight helps add to the digging power of the main anchor.
Tying boats up to docks sometimes need refinements. If you have ever tied up to a dock with slips that are exposed to the wind, here is some good advice. Instead of driving your boat into the slip in a traditional fashion, take the time to back into the slip. Tie off the bow with a rope on each side as well as the stern. Make sure there is slack in the tie offs to allow the boat to rise and fall but not enough that the boat can back up and damage both the dock and motor. When a boat is positioned this way, the bow will ride up and down as needed if the wind and waves come up overnight and not swamp your boat.
If you tie up to a singular dock, try and stay on the lee side of the dock. Always put your dock bumpers down and tie your boat up with some slack. The wind will push your boat away from the dock and prevent dock rash but if the wind change, your bumpers are positioned to protect the boat. Always test the length of your tie offs to prevent damage to boats in front or behind yours.
Anchoring off shore is often the case when on camping trips. This is a situation where there are no docks and you don’t wish to trailer your boat every day. You will see a lot of these areas on remote lakes or lakes with sand beaches.
Many people make the mistake of beaching their boat and run a lead off the bow to the nearest tree or rock. In the morning, they run out to see how their boat fared after the evening thunderstorm, only to find it full of sand and water. Then they discover the boat has been pushed up onto the beach and now they have to find a way to push the boat back into the water.
Boaters should bring their boat into shallow water, maybe three feet or less and drop the main anchor. The anchor must be properly hooked up to the bottom and all the line should be played out and now the boat is even more shallow and close to shore. Tie off the main anchor by running the anchor rope through the bow eye and tied off on a cleat. When the boat is riding at full anchor rope extension, your motor need to be trimmed up or put in transport mode. This prevents damage to the lower unit if the waves are great enough to allow the boat to bottom out. Take a second 100” rope and tie off to the u-bolt on the transom of the boat. Use a simple Bowline knot so it is easy to dislodge the knot after a night of rocking and rolling. Take the rope and walk to shore. Pick out a tree or rock and tie off the boat on a slack line.
I use my second smaller anchor for this purpose as well and just ensure the anchor has a good bite on the beach or wrapped around a tree.
When an unexpected storm blows through, the boat will ride out the wind and waves. The slack transom line allows the boat to swing into the oncoming wind, making the bow more efficient. This is how you prevent the problems often found with the simple beaching of the boat. One last benefit will be the lack of sand rash on the hull and sand in your water picks up ports and propeller hub.
Caution is Preparing Ahead of Time
If you fish in a car topper or smaller craft, be cognizant of predominant wind direction. It is much easier to ride the waves home to safety than to buck them, especially when you don’t have the engine power or freeboard.
These conditions require the boat operator to look at weight distribution before attempting too much travel and a cool head. Nose heavy could end your trip quickly and everyone will be in the drink. You will not be able to out run big water but you can control the way the boat rides through these waves or not. If not, you need to use all the power your boat can muster and position yourself and the passengers where the boat is not swamped as you are heading to shore. Beaching a boat under these conditions is not optimum but a lot safer for everyone involved. Finding a safe harbour and sitting on shore for a night is far better than losing everything to fear and misfortune.