Another way to winterize your boat


Andy Crawford

There’s a lot of information around about winterizing your boat. But, unless you live way up north where the water stays frozen for months I have a better way to tackle the problem — just don’t do it. Do your regular maintenance and keep fishing out of it like you did the first part of the year. Everything will turn out just fine. 

Now I have to be honest here. I don’t fish as much in the winter as I once did. Actually, back in the day that’s about all I did. But over the past few years I’ve been hunting more and more during the late fall and winter. 

We have land leased in Kansas and in Texas that we manage for trophy whitetail bucks. I now spend most of my cold weather time chasing them, not fish. But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the old days or how much fun I had back then. And it doesn’t mean I still don’t fish occasionally in the winter. 

The thing about winter fishing is that it’s a peaceful, relaxed thing. Most of your buddies are deer hunting or sitting at home by the fireplace. You’ll have most of the lake all to yourself to fish where you want and to do what you want. That’s a darn good deal, if you ask me.

Another good thing about it is that you never know what you’re going to catch. It seems like they all bunch up together when the water gets cold. There are days when you’ll catch stripers, walleye, crappie, white bass or black bass all from the same spot. And sometimes you’ll catch them on the same lure. 

The multi-species catch is great unless you’re fishing a tournament. Fishing is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. One way to make it that way is to relax and be thankful for whatever pulls on the end of your line. Besides, walleye and crappie are about as good a fish to eat as there is out there. 

One thing I do want to mention, however, is that not winterizing your boat doesn’t mean to neglect it. Depending upon where you live, water in your lower unit can freeze and cause major damage. I always drain mine as soon as I get off the water in the winter. Actually, I drain it every time I come in regardless of the season. That helps keep it clean. 

The other thing I do is put fuel stabilizer in it early and keep some in it all winter. Modern gas is pretty good. It’ll last a lot longer than it once did. Still, it’s better to be prepared and to made sure things are taken care of properly.

The biggest thing I want to say here is that you should keep an open mind about winter fishing. Good clothes will keep you warm, and the fish will bite, even if you don’t know what kind they are until you get them up to the boat. Don’t miss out on a real fishing opportunity.