I’m complete, almost

14 dixon.jpg

Garrick Dixon

<b>Greg Hackney – 3rd, 72-11.</b> <BR>Hackney entered the final day in 11th place, but surged to third with his biggest bag of the tournament, 19-0, which included a 5-1 big bass of the day. Like Card, he concentrated on largemouth bass in the Goose Bay area.

I got my new Phoenix 920 the other day and hauled it home. It’s in my fishing garage as I do this column. I’ve been without one most of the winter. As much as I like to hunt I still want a boat in my garage. It’s like I’m not complete if it’s not out there. All I need to do now is to learn about it, break in my new motor and pack my tackle.

These new bass boats are something else. The engineering, features, comfort and efficiency are things we couldn’t even dream about just a few years ago.

As I thought about that on the way home — it’s a long way from Tennessee to Louisiana — I realized that all those improvements bring with them a serious level of responsibility. We can start with safety.

New bass boats are really fast. That’s a good thing, but it can be dangerous, too. My new Mercury motor will push my boat along at great speed. I love it. But that speed also closes the distance between me and immovable objects or other boats fast. It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re on the water. It’s not like there are telephone poles whizzing past you to remind you how fast you’re going.

I mention that because it’s something that affects all of us. We need to be mindful of it.

Another area of responsibility is maintenance. I’ll spend several days breaking in my new motor. If you do that right, they’ll last forever. I’m very careful and follow the instructions to the letter. As a result, I’ve had almost no problems over the years.

Here’s where I want to put in a word for the makers of our equipment. They want us to be successful with their products and not have problems. That’s true of every maker out there. I don’t care if it’s Phoenix, Mercury, Motor Guide, Quantum, Garmin or any other sponsor I have. And, it’s just as true of their competitors.

Take care of your equipment. Maintain it the way they tell you. In the end you’ll be rewarded with trouble-free performance.

Reliability is important but it’s not the only thing. Another good reason to properly maintain your equipment is money. This stuff ain’t cheap, guys. Unless you’re a one-percenter you’re on a budget of some kind. Why throw away dollars replacing stuff you already own?

That’s why I keep my manuals and I read them. It might be funny to talk about getting desperate and having to read the instructions to something, but that’ll lose much of its humor when you price a new outboard or trolling motor.

Before I go I want to mention something else while I’m thinking about it. Your GPS will show you where the channel is when it’s dark or foggy, but it won’t tell you there’s a boat sitting dark in the middle of that channel.

Next week we’ll talk a little about tackle. I know I did that some weeks back but I have more to say and right about now is a good time for me to say it.