With Spring just around the corner, bass fisherman across the nation are eagerly awaiting the all important first trip of the year. However nothing puts a damper on the season opener like a trip marred by boat problems. With a little forethought and some regularly performed maintenance your bass boat and trailer can be ready to perform when called upon. Recently Bass Angler Headquarters made a visit to Out of Bounds Speed and Marine in Rocklin, California to discuss trailer and boat preparation with owner and avid bass angler, John Bounds.
Before you make that first cast, you must successfully transport yourself and your boat to the lake. Bass boat trailers are typically forgotten until some kind of problem arises. “I would estimate that ninety percent of all boat trailers have some sort of issue,” said Bounds. “Trailers are truly the stepchildren of the boating industry.”
Lights, brakes, bearings, bunks, and tires are just some of the culprits. Repeated submerging has a way of playing havoc with electrical wiring. Even with sealed mechanisms, light bulbs that go from hot to cold have a tendency to crack and fail. Proper bearing maintenance is often misunderstood. While not having enough grease in a hub can be a disaster, overfilling can be just as bad. Don’t think for a minute that oil bath hubs are fool-proof. They often leak and when damaged turn a milky white. Trailer bunks can become loose under the repeated strain of boat retrieval and constant load support. Trailer tires can develop flat spots from supporting the weight of the boat during storage. “The trailer spare may be the most overlooked part on the trailer,” explained Bounds. “Guys will often forget to maintain proper air pressure and when it comes time to use the spare, they are out of luck. Even if you know how to change a flat tire on a trailer, if you don’t have the proper tools, it won’t make a difference.” Take care of your trailer, otherwise you may find yourself on the side of the road wishing you had.
Has this happened to you? You go to start the gas motor and it won’t crank. Sounds like a battery problem. Dead or weak batteries have probably ruined more fishing trips than all other boat issues. This situation can be avoided by making sure fluid levels are maintained and batteries kept up to full charge. Battery leads can rust or corrode, keep them clean. Old fuel leftover from last season can deteriorate and damage fuel systems and engine components. This is especially true of gas that contains ethanol. A dinged up propeller can create prop shaft vibration that in turn can damage the lower unit.
Depending on the amount of usage and the length of your boat’s last maintenance interval, Bounds recommends the following annual service items.
- Inspect motor and replace spark plugs
- Service lower unit – change gear case oil and replace impeller
- Test cylinder compression
- Run engine tuner
- Replace filters
- Inspect hoses and electrical
- Inspect and repair any propeller damage
- Load test batteries
- Inspect trailer
Whether you perform the work yourself or you take it to a professional boat repair shop, routine maintenance can keep your trailer on the road and your boat running strong. If you live within shouting distance of Rocklin, California, stop in and see John, he can help ensure your rig will be ready when the bite heats up.
Be sure to check back with Bass Angler Headquarters for more bass boat talk with John Bounds.
About John Bounds
John started out in the marine industry in the early 1980’s at which time he began his passion for bass fishing. In 2005 he opened Out of Bounds Speed and Marine. To learn more about Out of Bounds Speed and Marine, please visit their website at www.outofboundsspeedandmarine.com.