Get Your Boat and Trailer Ready for Fishing Season in Minnesota
May is the perfect time to get boats and trailers ready for a summer of fun and successful fishing excursions. With Walleye, Bass, and Pike Opener just around the corner, prepping your trailers and boats in advance will help prevent a towing disaster.
We know you’re itching to get back on the water, but is your fishing boat ready? Is your trailer ready? Here’s a checklist of 7 components to double-check to ensure you’ll have a safe and fun fishing trip as soon as the season starts.
Make sure all lights are in working order. Plug in and test bow and stern lights on the boat, and test your trailer’s lights, brake lights, and blinkers. It’s a good idea to carry spare bulbs and store them in your boat or vehicle. If you need replacements, we carry a variety of lighting equipment including Peterson. Peterson boat lights and LED trailer lights “guarantee reliable performance from dry land to wet.”
Nothing is worse than getting to your prime fishing spot, in the middle of nowhere at the end of the chain of lakes, only to have your marine battery die on you. Trolling motor batteries and outboard starter batteries need to be properly stored and maintained for the winter, to make sure they hold performance and their lifespan.
Whether you pull batteries for the winter, or leave them in your boat, keep them charged and stored in a temperature-controlled environment. Make sure your batteries are fully charged, corrosion-free, and no more than a few years old. You can have batteries tested at an auto parts store, a marina, or by using a meter.
Visually inspect your fuel lines, connection clamps, and cooling system hoses for cracks or brittleness. A good rule of thumb is to start the season with a fresh tank of gas. Pro tip: Don’t fill the boat before you head out on the trip! Gasoline adds weight to your tow, which can strain your vehicle and trailer. Wait until you’re in the area you’ll be boating around, and fill with the local gas. While you’re at it, you can fill your fresh water tanks locally to remove even more tow weight during the long haul.
We stock a multitude of products to help your motor run cleaner and cooler, which means smoother and longer. Here are a couple of our staff favorites.
Mechanics have relied on Sea Foam Motor Treatment for over 70 years. It is a petroleum-based cleaner, lubricant, stabilizer and moisture controller that maintains fuel and oil system components. It will not harm engine components, seals, gaskets, catalytic converters or oxygen sensors. Sea Foam Motor Treatment should be a staple in everyone’s garage!
Seachoice Profile Universal Motor Flush is a handy boating accessory designed to keep your boat’s motor running cleaner for longer. It prevents clogging and corrosion by efficiently flushing out built-up material. This outboard motor flusher enjoys a universal compatibility and is thus suitable for use on most outboards and inboard or outboards with side water inlets.
5. SAFETY GEAR
Lifejackets and throw cushions are required by law in most states for everyone on board. Before you get on the water, inspect all Personal Flotation Device (PFD) gear for damage like rips, tears, or frays.
Inspect your boat’s fire extinguisher to make sure the gauge shows “full.”
Double check that you have distress signals on board, such as a bell, horn, or whistle. Visual signals are also helpful, such as flares, smoke signals, distress lights, or signal flags.
Bearing failure can be a horrible experience on the road, but it’s easily prevented with grease and a grease gun. Use greasable bearing caps, and give them a few pumps of grease before your trip. Do the same with wheel studs, removing all lug nuts and generously apply a lubricant. Before you travel, make sure lug nuts are tightened.
Check the tread, sidewalls, and air pressure in all trailer tires, including the spare. Check your tow vehicle’s tires as well.
Always keep a quality spare tire for your trailer. You never know when you’ll need it, and boat trailer tires often come in unconventional sizes that may be difficult to replace when you’re on the road.
7. REGISTRATION & LICENSE
Make sure your boat’s registration is up to date! You don’t want to get fined for expired registration. Remove expired decals and apply the current registration sticker before you launch.
Minnesota does not require a license plate on your trailer as long as it’s under 4,500 lbs, unless there is a lien on it. You do, however, need a sticker applied to the tongue of the trailer. Large trailers require a plate and yearly tags.
And if you need a license for this fishing season, we can help with that.
There you have it, our Top 7 Checklist to get your boat and trailer ready this fishing season.
There’s a lot to take care of before your first fishing trip, but if you get a head start now you’ll save yourself precious fishing season time later. If in doubt on any of the above, feel free to reach out to our experts in Mimbach’s Sporting Goods department. We’ll be happy to point you to the right gear and equipment to make this year your most memorable fishing season yet!