Not too many jobs have you getting a new office every year, not to mention redecorating it. As a bass angler, every year we have the luxury of a brand new office. My office for 2014 is 21 feet long and is called a Triton 21TRX. While this is a nice bonus for our line of work, it definitely makes December a scramble trying to get everything rigged up exactly right for the 2014 season.
In my travels and speaking engagements I often get asked about the equipment I have on my boat. Since I'm going through the rigging process right now, I figured it’s a great time to share how I rig my boat and why. I understand that not everyone is in the financial position to own all the equipment I'm about to describe, but for those of you looking for this information, here it is.
To start with we need to power up the Triton. I run a Mercury 250 Pro XS engine. This engine is extremely reliable and it gets the best gas mileage of all motors (of equal horsepower) available today. Nothing can ruin a day —and potentially even a season —faster than a motor going out on you. We all have our opinions on the different engine manufacturers, but for me —sponsor or not —I'm relying on a Mercury.
One of the greatest inventions since I have been fishing is the shallow water anchor by Power-Pole. It’s such a simple idea, but only over the last half-decade or so have these become available and widely used. In reality, regular anchors were seldom used in the past due to their bulkiness and the time consuming process of use. The Power-Pole shallow water anchors allow me to hold my boat in position for any multitude of reasons. I won’t run a boat without them ever again.
Bass fishing without a trolling motor is just about impossible. I figure I spend 10 times the amount of time on my trolling motor that I do on the big motor. While it isn’t generally a great option for getting me back to the ramp at the end of the day, it is the only option for fishing quietly and effectively. I use a MotorGuide 109 Tour trolling motor. It has the power to get me down a bank fast or creep me into a location quite like a mouse.
I modify my trailer with some nice additions from Fulton. The Fulton F2 winch and jack are very handy. Both of these items are superior to the stock winch and jack systems that come on most trailers. They allow my wife, Bobbi, or me to jack the boat up or winch it onto the trailer with far less effort. Since Bobbi generally launches me on tournament mornings, it’s a valuable addition to the trailer and one I highly recommend.
Another area of the rigging where it doesn’t pay to cut corners is the batteries. Almost everything I have already mentioned relies on one thing, working batteries. Add my livewell system and my electronics to that list. It’s pretty apparent that my batteries get a workout all year. I choose Odyssey batteries. I can sum up why with one sentence: I put them in at the beginning of the year, and I never think about them again until the following year when I order more for my next boat. That’s the sign of good batteries!
Of course, good electronics have become more and more a part of professional fishing. New technology like structure scan, side imaging, electronic mapping (Navionics) and GPS have changed the game of fishing. They have dropped the learning curve of fishing deep dramatically, and using good electronics has become mandatory to fish at almost any level. For my boat, I'm installing Lowrance HDS touchscreen graphs. I'm excited about that new technology.
Then there's the Hydrowave unit, which some people might be skeptical about. For me, there's no question that the Hydrowave has put extra fish in my boat over the course of the year. I wouldn’t have one on my boat if I didn’t truly believe it will help. It might not always help, but in certain circumstances it helps, and I'll take advantage of anything that helps (within the rules, of course).
For safety, I run a T-H Marine Hotfoot. I say for safety because having a hot foot does two things. It allows me to drive with two hands on the steering wheel. That might not always matter, but in big water it definitely does. It also helps in that it acts as a second kill switch. If I were to be ejected from the boat or injured, my boat would come to a slow idle quickly.
This is how my boat is rigged and the reasons I use each of these products. Some of them help me catch fish, others save me time, and all of them help me do my job to the best of my ability.