Sounds odd, but I just spent an entire day on my boat and didn’t make a single cast. I was breaking in my new Triton for the 2014 season, but even if you aren’t breaking in a new boat you, too, should spend a day dialing everything in. This is especially true for a boat you've just purchased (new or used), but I’d recommend it even if you’ve had the boat a while and just haven’t used it.
This is the perfect time of year to take your boat out for a day on the water and make sure everything is ready for the upcoming season. Any problems you find are much easier handled when you have plenty of time before either tournaments or fun fishing trips start up in a month or two. It’s also a great time because most boat dealers are less busy now than they will be in late February and March.
I was breaking in a new motor, but even broken-in motors can use a good test. Run your boat at many different RPMs and make sure that everything is smooth and in good running order.
I also spent some time getting my electronics dialed in. This is a great time to get familiar with new features or old features you just haven’t used a lot in the past.
Check all the major features of your boat. Run the livewells and check the batteries, the trolling motor and every bolt and screw in the boat. Go beyond the boat and check the trailer too. Make sure the bunks are looking good, all the bolts are tight and the tires and brakes are ready for the road.
This might sound like common sense, but so often when we get a free day we just want to run out and go fishing. Finding problems before they happen will not only save you money, it could save you a practice day, a tournament day or just a great day of fishing.