A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Mid-winter is good time to get organized, and ready for spring fishing and hunting

Mid-winter is a good time to get organized, and ready for spring fishing and hunting.

The fall, and winter hunting seasons are in the rearview mirror and it won’t be long before it will be sunny and 70 degrees outside.

Here’s a few thoughts on mid-winter projects:

(Photo courtesy Phoenix Boats)

• If you have a high-performance fishing boat, maintenance of your boat should be at the top of the list.

When the roads are clear and dry tow your boat to your local marine dealer for routine maintenance.

This may include an engine tune-up, lower unit lubrication, checking the water pump impeller, changing the engine oil in a four-stroke outboard motor, or greasing the wheel bearings on your trailer.

Here’s some other maintenance issues for your boat to consider:

• Gasoline with ethanol can harm outboard motors. While a boat is in storage, the fuel in its tank can go bad.

Ethanol is capable of eating fuel lines and clogging up fuel injectors. If this gasoline is not treated, a jelly forms that can damage the engine and cause it to fail.

Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent issues.

• A fishing boat’s batteries are its power source.

Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for the Northern Kentucky Tribune. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.

Outboard motors have increased power demands. Advanced electronics and more powerful trolling motors require a higher output from batteries.

Maintenance-free, sealed marine batteries are the best option for a starting battery or battery to power a trolling motor, but they have a much higher cost.

The traditional wet acid batteries have some shortcomings but work great when diligently maintained. Water must be routinely added to the battery, or it will fail.

The off-season is a critical time in the life of a boat battery. During the winter months, wet acid batteries must be removed from the boat, charged periodically and stored in a cool, but not cold area.

Maintenance-free marine batteries and an onboard battery charger is the best choice for a fishing boat. Simply plug in the onboard battery charger, and forget about battery worries.

• When boats are in storage during the off-season it’s also a good time for cosmetic cleaning — the boat’s hull, carpet, seats, bilge and live well. It’s worth the elbow grease to remove the dirt, stains, scum, and grime from oil and gasoline.

Before you start cleaning, check your boat owner’s manual for specific recommendations on cleaning products. This will prevent you from damaging your boat’s finish, seats, or hardware.

• Don’t forget the trolling motor. It needs routine maintenance, too.

Grease the spring and lock bar mechanism, which allows the trolling motor to be locked in place on the bow of the boat when not in use, and locked in place after the motor is lowered into the water.

If this locking and unlocking is difficult due to poor lubrication it will shorten the life of the pull rope, which is used to raise and lower the trolling motor. It’s not much fun when the pull rope breaks and your trolling motor is locked down on the bow of the boat.

(Photo by Art Lander Jr.)

Organize Fishing Gear

The new license year begins March 1, the unofficial start of spring fishing. Be ready for the first warm days.

Take stock of crankbaits, plastics, jigs, hooks, sinkers, swivels and line. There’s plenty of time to buy what you need.

Spool your reels in new line, and organize lures and terminal tackle in clear boxes, for easy access.

If you fish with fly fishing tackle, it’s a good time to put dressing on fly lines, buy new leaders and tie some flies for spring fishing.

Organize Hunting Gear

Post-season is a good time to wash the clothes you wear while hunting in the fall.

Wash with a scent free detergent, such as Scent Killer Liquid Clothing Wash, and air dry clothing outside. Then store in clear plastic latch totes.

With the spring wild turkey season weeks away, take stock of camouflage clothing and other essential gear.

(Photo by Art Lander Jr.)

Make sure you have gloves, a face mask, a hat, a long-sleeve T-shirt, boots, a vest and pants in a spring green pattern. Turkeys have keen eyesight, so camouflage from head to toe is a must.

Early in the season, before the green understory buds out, you might consider mixing patterns, wearing brown camouflage pants, to match the leaves on the forest floor, with a green hat, vest or gloves.

It can get hot in the spring so turkey hunting clothes tend to get stinky. Give them the sniff test. If they fail, wash the clothing and air dry.

Check out your turkey calls, and make sure you have all that you need. If you prefer a mouth diaphragm turkey call, buy two so you’ll have a backup, in case you lose one.

If you are changing hunting loads, barrels or chokes, pattern your shotgun by shooting at a turkey head target.

The sight-in process should answer three important questions:

1) Does the shotgun shoot where it’s aimed?
2) Can the shotgun deliver a tight pattern of pellets at a reasonable distance?
3) What’s the maximum effective range?

The mid-winter off-season is a good time get ready for spring fun outdoors. Be ready.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment