A tribute to the service crews

I’m still in New York. It’s cold. The fish are moving quickly into their fall patterns, and I’m thinking Oneida will be an interesting tournament. With the fish on the move, both smallmouth and largemouth in the mix and with the different types of water that are available to us, almost anybody could win this thing.

That’s not what I want to talk about this week, though. Last week, I had a little bit of motor trouble. The reason I mention it is because it’s so unusual. I run a Mercury. They are about as reliable as an outboard can get. I wouldn’t fish with anything else. But when you use equipment like we do — maybe I should say abuse — it’s going to need repairs from time to time. That’s a fact of fishing life.

Anyway, my motor was acting up on an intermittent basis, and then only after it had run for awhile. Any of you out there who know anything about maintenance know that an intermittent problem is the toughest one to repair. When the mechanic looks at it, if it’s working properly, there’s nothing to fix. As crazy as it sounds, broke is better, at least when it comes to repairs.

The Mercury service crew at the tournament looked at my motor but it was working fine. Still, they never doubted me when I described the problem. They simply climbed in the boat and told me to make a dummy fishing run. We did that, running from spot to spot and pretending to fish when we got there.

After a couple of hours, the motor acted up. Without blinking an eye, the mechanic hooked up his computer to the motor, diagnosed the problem and made the necessary repairs. It was about as slick as anything can get.

I can’t say enough good about the service crews, in general, and the Mercury crew, in particular. I also want to thank the Minn Kota crew for replacing the straps on my trolling motor. They all do one heck of a job keeping us on the water. They’re professionals in every respect. We wouldn’t be able to beat up our equipment and still fish effectively without them.

Keep in mind who’s telling you this. As well as fishing nearly every day for over 30 years, I build and install signs. I know about mechanical equipment and I know about maintenance and mechanics. You’re talking to a guy with decades of experience — good and bad — in this regard.

When I say Mercury and Minn Kota are first-class products and that their maintenance people are first-class mechanics, you can believe me. They make it right and they fix it right.

OK, it’s time to get back to the water. This week is my last chance to earn a Bassmaster Classic berth. Starting tomorrow it’s do or die. I’ve done both. Do is better.

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