Tinker with your boat


James Overstreet

In the last column we talked about the benefits of tinkering with your tackle. This time we’ll talk about the benefits of tinkering with your boat. 

Everybody sets up their office differently. It might measure the same, but it’ll look totally different on the inside. If you think about your boat the same way, you’ll see where I’m going with this. 

Some guys like a SONAR and GPS screen in the dash. They want it right up front. Others want it posted off to the side. They want to be able to move it around depending upon what’s happening. Neither one of these is right, and neither one is wrong. It’s an individual thing.

And, some anglers want big units up front near their trolling motor while others want small units up front and the big ones back by the console. Again, it’s not a matter of right or wrong. It’s a matter of what works for the individual. 

As for me, I want them mounted on a system made by Bass Boat Technologies. I want to be able to move them around depending on where I’m fishing and what I’m doing. 

While we’re on the electronics subject I’ll also tell you that I mostly use my units on old-fashioned standard SONAR. In fairness, though, I should have left out the old-fashioned part of that statement because there’s nothing old-fashioned about what we have now that we didn’t have years ago. 

It’s what I grew up using and it’s what I’m most comfortable using. Frankly, I have the best Lowrance DownScan and StructureScan units made. They’re really good, and I use them when it’s necessary. At the same time, though, I’m old enough and experienced enough to know that I should use what works for me.  

The point here is don’t get caught up in what’s happening outside your boat. Make it your office regardless of what anyone else thinks. 

Another thing: Store your rods in whatever way you find convenient. It looks like sometimes we have ours bundled up on both sides of the deck when we’re fishing a tournament. But it just looks that way. In reality we all lay them out differently but with the same goal in mind. We want to be able to reach down and grab exactly the one we want. That’s different for every angler. 

And another, another thing: Look at all the pictures of the pros' boats you want. Admire them, check them out and get ideas from what you see. Do not, however, copy someone else’s way of packing things. They fish out of their boat. You fish out of yours.

Just because Joe Blow won a big tournament, and he looks cool on TV, doesn’t mean you should do what he does. Maybe he packs his plastics in the front center compartment of his boat. So what? That’s his boat. Maybe you should pack the front center compartment of your boat with swim jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

Something else that makes a big difference in how you organize and set up you boat is whether you’re right-handed or left-handed and whether it’s a big deal to you. Some people can use either hand with pretty much the same skill. You need to think about that because that’ll affect where you should put things that you use the most often. Take it from me. That makes a big difference. 

Consider all the fishing you did this year. Is there anything on or in your boat that needs to be changed? Is there something you can do to make your fishing more efficient? If so, do it this winter when it’s too cold to fish — if it ever is too cold to fish.