hether you are getting ready for a major tournament or just getting ready for a day of fishing on the water, doing some preparations will enhance your chances of catching that “bigun.”

Most of us go out for a day on the water and we get home all tired and hungry, park our boat, go inside and get a shower, eat some dinner and then fall asleep on the couch watching a little TV to recover from a hard day of bass fishing.

Well, what about the boat? What about your tackle? In this column, we’ll be talking about what to do with your boat. We’ll explore the tackle in another column.

Today, I want us to explore what you do — or don’t do — and how it effects your ability to catch a big fish while you are on the water the next time you go out.

You got home from the last trip and you didn’t take time to clean up the boat’s hull and interior. So now you are getting ready, for your next trip and, “OMG,” the boats a mess and you have to scramble to try and get everything ready.

First you have to pull the boat out, hook up a hose and clean the exterior of the boat to get all that slime that built up the last time you went out off the boat. It’s been drying and hardening ever since your last trip, so you have to scrub to get it off. All that hard scrubbing with strong detergents will cut the wax off the boat, so now you have to wax it — another two to three hours of hard work.

You ask yourself, what could I have done to prevent all this work? Here’s a hint that might help.

Several of the guys I fish with carry spray cleaners with them to every fishing trip. As soon as the boat comes out of the water, it is sprayed down and wiped clean. All that slime just wipes off easily because it hasn’t had a chance to dry and harden on the boat. Make sense? Takes them about 20 minutes to do the whole boat, and it helps preserve the waxing they did on the boat.

Now you get inside and start cleaning up all the soft plastics you left lying in the bottom and, darn, some have melted and stuck to the carpet or the glass. You take out the shop vac and begin vacuuming out as much as you can, then you break out the power washer and wash the carpet to get as many of the stains and stuff out as you can. An hour or so later, you are done and leave the boat out in the sun to dry.

You could have saved all that trouble by picking up all those old plastics and tossing them out and running a quick vacuum when you first got home. You could have also treated any stains before you vacuumed and got about 90 percent of it out before it set. Lesson learned?

OK, now the boat has dried out and you remember you need to charge the batteries. That means those batteries were depleted from using your trolling motor and all the depth finders/graphs have sat for some time at a low state of charge. This will degrade a battery quicker than anything else. Boy, I wish I had plugged in my onboard charger or hooked up my outboard chargers as soon as I got home from the last trip.

Am I done? Darn, I didn’t clean out and dry the live wells when I got home last time. Guess I better do that before I go out or I’m going to have some dead fish. You open the live wells and the stink hits you right in the face. Now you have to fix a bucket of hot soapy water and scrub out each of the live wells to not only get the odor out, but also all the bacteria that has built up. I wish I had taken the time to clean out the wells and rinse them the last time I went out!

Now I am done with the boat. What about the trailer — have I checked the tires, including the spare? When was the last time I greased the bearings? What could I have done to prevent this? Nothing, but maybe I could have done these checks when I got back last time and I wouldn’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off getting everything ready at the last minute. Now I’m done, right? Right!

Let’s get the rods out and make sure they are ready to go. Which one was it that I had that big back lash in it last time? Here we go again!

Folks, these are MY lessons learned, so I hope it helps you do better next time.

Jasper Joshnson is retired from the U.S. Army and is the Copperas Cove Bass Club secretary. You contact him about the club or for any questions, call 318-218-0358 or email Hook_up66@yahoo.com.

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