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The 5 P’s

February 01, 2019

The 5 P’s

Barra season is upon us and if you are a barra tragic like the Top Dog and I, then is likely your gear would have been forgotten about or neglected during the closed season. Because if you can’t chase barra, then there is nothing else worth chasing, right?
It’s funny that an angler will place so much emphasis on tackle prep and maintenance, but rarely pay the same attention to their boat or trailer, their number one tool. So that said, instead of running you through the same run of the mill barra season opening spiel focusing on ‘what lure to run’ or ‘rod and real to use’, I'm going to gives you a heads up on things you need to check on your tub to prevent disaster prior to casting a lure or soaking a bait come 1p.m. February 1st .


I'll begin with the trailer.  Considering this thing spends a considerable amount of time in the drink, you'd think that it’d be the most cared for.  Unfortunately not!  It’s essential that you poke your head underneath and have a good look for cancerous rust. When I say cancerous, I mean rust that has set in and began to eat away at the steel in your trailer. 

I am lucky, I have a trailer which is 90% aluminium but I still ensure that the steel components are inspected prior to setting off.  Have a look at things like the axle, spring and cross members even going to the extent of tapping them with a hammer to confirm structural integrity. 
If you have bearing buddies, give them a top up with a grease gun. Overtime grease will go hard, so a fresh top up and a bit of heat generated by you first run will be beneficial in avoiding bearing failure. Your trailer transports you boat to the water, a quick look may stop you trailer falling apart under your boat prior to making the ramp!
This photo shows the type of maintenance required on a boat trailer
Having a good look at your trailer is a matter of life, death or missing your season opening barra. In all honesty, if your trailer fails not only do you go fishless, failing to do so may end in taking someone's life.
Saltwater breeds corrosion and electronics are a prime candidate for it.  I would put my favourite Old Dog GM100 on this, but if you asked 10 anglers if they have at some stage experienced electronics failure on a boat, 100% would say YES and there is a simple reason for that. There is no doubt a technical explanation for it,  but in layman's terms, saltwater and electronics don’t mix.  However, early detection and prevention is the best cure.
The best thing to do is inspect all of your battery terminals for green corrosion.  If it’s evident, remove the terminals and take to them with a wire brush cleaning them up back to bare metal.  Poor earth is the number one cause of electronics problems, so its important to have a good, clean earth and that starts at the battery terminal.
Photo showing the electronics of a boat
Electronics are a necessary evil. They hate salt,  but we'd be lost without them.  Make sure prior to seeing of your battery terminals are clean of corrosion and you maintain a good earth.
Sounder Plugs
With the fast paced advances in sonar technology, we have become very dependant on sounders and most would struggle to throw or troll an Old Dog through a likely area without one.  So being part of the boat electronics, corrosion is the leading killer of sounders.
So prior to setting off to bang you first barra for the season, check all of your sounder plugs.  Give them a spray and make sure a good connection is going to be made when plugged in! 
After all its opening of barra season, it’s life’s or death...
Photo showing an example of Sounder plugs for your boat
These cables give life to your depth sounder, without them its lifeless.  Sounders have become a fundamental part of fishing these days and without it most are lost.
Electric Motor
I have seen it and experienced it more times than I'd like to admit.  You get on the water, into position and hit the tit to start the electric motor and it doesn't work.  All of a sudden you feel like you're back in the Jurassic age of luring and the world has fallen down on you, fishing seems impossible. 
Again we have become so reliant on them that they have become an essential, so there are few things you should check prior to leaving the carport.
  1. Batteries are charged.  Who hasn't done it?  In the week building up, put a good quality smart charger on the batteries or battery and charge them, you'll thank me later.
  2. The remote battery is not flat?  I always advise a spare battery in a dry storage box of the boat, but check the one that is in the remote too.  It’s simple, but overlooked by ‘everyone’.
  3. Test the remote and electric while on Terra Firma.  It’s works on land, she'll work when it matters. On the water!
Photo of hand control for an electric motor
We have all done it,  got on the water dropped the electric motor and NOTHING....  Check your batteries are charged and your remote battery had plenty of juice!!
There is nothing more embarrassing than reversing the boat down into the water, turning the key and nothing. You try again not accepting that it’s not turning over and it doesn't start again.   Then you look around to see if you know anyone on the ramp to avoid the embarrassment.
It’s not rocket science! Put the muffs on and start the outboard at home. First this will confirm the battery is charged, but let it run for 5 minutes, ensure that its pumping water out of the tell tail and it goes into forward and reverse. 
Cover all of your bases and save yourself the embarrassment.
Photo of an outboard motor with the cowling removed
Nothing more embarrassing than having to drive back up the ramp and remove the cowling. 
Photo of the battery for a boat
This shouldn't happen at the ramp. Ensuring your crank/starter battery is charged is a simple yet overlooked practice. 
Photo of person pressing the start button on a boat
It starts!  Such a simple thing to do, start your outboard prior to hitting the drink.  1. It's saves engagement and 2. If it doesn't you can fault find in advance to hitting your local for a barra.
Maintenance is simple, but for some reasons as humans most of us tend to overlook it.  Saying we'll get to it prior to the next trip or it plays second fiddle to tackle and gear maintenance. Your boat is the taxi to fruitful barra pastures, look after it and it will look after you.
Enjoy the opening and take your Old Dogs for a swim. Just do me a favour and make sure the quest for your first barra of the season isn't hindered by the "1 preventers."
Tight lines
Westo aka #1 Dog Handler

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