Let the offseason begin!

With the season officially over, it's time to start working the second part of our job. Fishing is really only a small part of what we do as professional anglers. Beyond the fishing, we have sponsors to take care of, we need to sell the boat and order a new one and so much more.

Last week, I had a chance to visit Cequent Products. Almost every boat owner uses their products. Cequent Products is the parent company to Fulton Performance, Reese Hitches and several other companies, all of which are leaders in trailer components like winches, trailer jacks, couplers, trailer lighting and tow hitches. I flew out to Arizona to speak with them personally and get to know the people who engineer, market and sell these great products.

This week I'm headed out to Wright & McGill and TroKar to discuss new products for next year. I'm looking forward to seeing what they have planned and working with them on some ideas I have, as well.

Then there's the boat. Luckily, Tritons are easy to sell, so it sold quickly, but now I have to get it ready. Wraps do a great job of promoting our sponsors and giving each of us some branding while we travel around the country. They also protect the boat from the sun and the basic wear and tear of use. That's the good side. The bad side is that they're a pain to remove. I've spent a couple of days pulling off the wrap and cleaning the boat up for the new owner.

Brent Chapman with his Triton.I have two tips for the week and both are tasks I've just completed. The first is boat maintenance, and I do a lot of it. Typically, every two or three tournaments, depending on conditions, I will go through the whole boat and tighten everything up. I will also lubricate things that might be making noise while on the water as well, like a trolling motor. By simply tightening all the bolts and screws, you can prevent major malfunctions on the water. We have incredible techs at every tournament that keep our boats in tip-top shape, but — like the old saying goes — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Some key things I check include the bolts that keep the motor on the jackplate and the jackplate on the boat. Then I check all the bolts on the trolling motor mount. I'll lubricate anything there that might be making noise. Next, I check all the tires on the trailer for air pressure and any unusual wear. I check the bearings and make sure those look good and are properly greased. Then I go through all the rod locker lids, graph mounts and anything else that can shake loose over time.

Overall, it only takes a small amount time, and it can save me not only time on the water, but potentially thousands of dollars in repair bills. Take the time and make sure you keep your boat in tip-top shape.

The second tip I have for you has to do with selling your boat and/or getting a new boat. Take time to really organize your boat and take notes regarding how you have it organized before you empty it for sale. This will make the transition into the new boat smoother. Figuring out the best way to organize your boat is like a puzzle or cool experiment.

Getting an organization system can save you time on the water and make your day a little more enjoyable. Nothing is worse than looking for that one bait you know will get bit, but you just can't find it in the boat. Make sure it fits your style of fishing and works for you. Once you find an organization style that works for you, be sure to take pictures or notes so you can duplicate it in your next boat.