I told you of my recent experience at the boat ramp and figured I would share the correct and courteous way to launch your boat.
You drive for what seemed like forever because your all excited about getting on the water in anticipation of that first bite but please take the time to prepare your boat in the parking lot before you actually back down to the ramp, especially if there are others waiting to launch. That way when you get ready to back down all you basically have to do is splash the boat and go.
So you pull into the parking lot. First and foremost, don’t forget to put the drain plug in! In my tears of boating I personally have seen more than one time when people have forgot to put theirs in, it can be a humorous experience for others, just not to the boater. This is something that even the most experienced tournament angler can forget. I can honestly say that as of this posting I have yet to forget mine, knock on wood.
Ever since I had both of my knees replaced its difficult to get down on them, especially on the hard cement boat ramps so I have been considering getting a Bass Boat Solutions Drain Plug System Console Mount that way I can open and close the drain from the comfort of my seat.
Next you want to remove your boat to trailer tie down straps, I have witnessed anglers in a hurry back into the water with the straps still attached and wonder briefly why the trailer wheel fenders are still next to the boat when its sitting in 6 foot of water, DOH! There is an urban legend mentioned at Snopes.com that talks about a blond that detached her brand new trailer from the tow rig and wondered why the thing would not get up on plane. This supposedly happened at my home lake, Lake Isabella CA but like I said, its just an urban legend. If you want a good laugh go to Snopes.com and type in Lake Isabella.
Don’t forget the transom saver. Currently I use the standard metal ones but I’ve been looking at the new Moto Stop Transom Savers. This is one step that I have to admit that I forgot to do, just once. It was during the colder months, February if I recall correctly. As I was prepping the Champion I put the drain plug in, removed the tie down straps and removed the bungee cord that secures the transom saver to the lower end then a friend showed up at the launch so we started talking and I forgot to remove the saver. I splashed the boat, fired it up and proceeded to idle out of the no wake zone. I attempted to trim down the motor but for some reason it would not go. I was thinking maybe it was just too cold and a little sluggish so I kicked it into neutral and started to trim the motor up, thinking maybe if I did this a time or 2 it would work. As the motor was trimming up I looked back and saw the transom saver on the lower end, for about 2 seconds, then watched as it fell free into 20 feet of gin clear ice cold water. I tried dredging it up for a little while then just went fishing. Now I always carry a spare one, just in case.
Now we proceed to loading the boat, I like to do this even before I leave home. Placing my rods and tackle in the rod lockers, ice and drinks in the wet storage. As well as being sure the Perko power switch is on for the batteries. In the parking lot I’ll pull out the rods I’ll be using, strap them down on the deck and get the PFD’s out. It is at this point that I attach my dock rope and boat dock bumpers if I’m fishing alone or with someone who is not experienced in boat launching.
Then I’ll attach my depth finders. I remember reading somewhere that you really don’t want to haul your boat with these in place because of the rough ride on the trailer the brutal vibration can cause issues with them. Then I tap the switch on the trolling motor pedal to make sure its working correctly and the speed is set to the amount of thrust I want.
WARNING, if you don’t do the above check you could be in for a rude awakening when you first place your trolling motor in the water and tap the power button only to be surprised that it on full power because the last trip you wore the trolling batteries down to almost nothing but with a full charge its quite the thrust. One time I ended up on the floor between the rod lockers because I didn’t take the 3 seconds it would have took to check this. The only thing I hurt was my pride. Lucky for me it was a time I was pre-fishing for a tournament and there were not a lot of people on the water,
The winch strap is next. There are mixed reviews on when to disconnect this. Me personally, I wait until I’m backed down to the water. People say the boat wont slide off the trailer but I figure the added 10 seconds it takes to disconnect it at the dock is worth it. Just don’t forget to disconnect. Once again, I speak from personal experience. When launching the boat I kept wondering, why wont the boat float? DOH!
Yes, the above may seem like allot of stuff but it really only takes maybe 10 minutes at the most. Now you proceed to back down the ramp, I explained how to do this in my previous post. If you have a capable partner you can back down, disconnect the winch strap, hop in the boat, have your partner splash you, fire up the motor and get out of the way to allow others to launch as your partner parks your rig.
If you need to tie off your boat to park your tow rig what I do is back the trailer about ¾ of the way into the water, jump out, pull the dock rope off the deck, with one side securely attached to the boat of course, tie one end to the dock leaving the slack line on the dock. The reason I lay the rope on the dock is because I don’t want it to tangle on anything in the boat or on the trailer as the boat comes off the trailer. As soon as the boat floats off I hop out, take up any slack line and snug the boat against the dock. If possible I’ll tie it off at the end of the dock. This leaves room for others to launch and tie off to the dock as well.
There ya have it. Follow these simple unwritten rules prior to backing down to the dock and it will help keep peace and harmony at the dock.
Thanks for visiting my site. Be sure to tell all of your fishing buddies and come back soon!
Until Next Time, Good Luck and Tight Lines To Ya!