This is the time of year when I look forward to getting a new boat and if all goes as planned, I should have my Phoenix 20PHX with a 250 4-Stroke Mercury engine within a couple of weeks.
I know some anglers like to do their own rigging, but I’ve always preferred to have it done at the factory. I try to order my new boat by August and specify when I’d like to take delivery. After that, I have all my accessories shipped to the factory, so my boat arrives rigged to my specifications.
I’m sure I could do a lot of the rigging myself, but when it comes to the more detailed work like wiring the electronics, I’ve found that the team at Phoenix can do it quicker and more efficiently. All I need to do is coordinate the delivery of my Garmin electronics, Power-Poles, Bob’s Machine Shop Jack Plate and anything else I want on the boat.
For the last three or four years, I’ve rigged my boat almost identically. That way, I’m in my comfort zone. For example, a lot of guys run two screens on their console, but I don’t like having to look around, or over two screens; so I run one Garmin 16-inch screen. Every angler is different, but I’ve gotten into the routine of doing this the same way every year.
Another of my preferences is my set of 8-foot Power-Poles. I’m not a 10-foot guy because if I’m deeper than 8 feet, I can just run my Minn Kota Ultrex on SpotLock and not have to worry about the noise of my Power-Poles dragging the bottom.
Once they get the electronics and the other major items installed, then I start working on the smaller details, like the Gruv Fishing Launching Pad — a bait keeper slot that I put on my tackle box doors. This keeps my spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and even crankbaits isolated and hanging there for when I need quick access to them.
For 2019, I’ll be using the new Power-Pole Charge, which charges my batteries while I’m fishing. I’m eager to see how this works, because over the last couple of years, I’ve often found my batteries wearing down throughout the day. I’ll be running Dakota lithium batteries in my new boat, so with the Power-Pole Charge, I won’t have the stress of worrying about my gel cell batteries — especially on fisheries like the St. Lawrence River, where I’m running my trolling motor all day in that current.
In addition to the rigging, this time of year I’m also working on organizing my tackleboxes, labeling them and putting them in the right spots on my boat. I do the same with my ropes, jumper cables and safety gear. I want everything organized and accessible, so I start a new season efficient and ready to go.
One upgrade I always order is the padded deck, which makes long days of standing up a little easier on my back. Aside from that, I’d say my boat rigging style is to keep everything as simple as possible. I don’t like a lot of gadgets because the more you put on a boat, the more there is to break.
Now, I realize that a lot of anglers rig new boats much less frequently than I do as a professional angler, so here’s my advice: You’ll learn a lot by checking out how other anglers handle rigging, but don’t feel like you necessarily have to rig like a pro. I have a certain way I like to set up my boat, but rig yours to suit your style.
After all, you’re the one who’ll be standing on that bow, so make sure everything works well for you.