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Safety and Other Accessories

By Nathan Coker
In Fishing with Kenny
Jun 30th, 2023

article by Kenny Covington

There is a lot that goes into the sport of fishing. No matter if you bream fish, perch jerk, weekend warrior, club fisherman or bass tournament circuit chaser, everyone who is seriously involved in this great sport, spends a significant amount of time in preparation to go fishing. The thing that surprises me more than any other is, while anglers are apt at making sure rod, reels, line, lures are adequately prepared, they tend to lack when it comes to the upkeep of their boat in case of an accident or emergency.

I was fishing with a good friend of mine once and his trolling motor prop broke. Thoroughly disgusted and a few choice words later, he finally calmed down enough for me to ask him, “Where is your spare prop? It won’t take but just a few minutes to change it out?” To which he replied, “I don’t have one. My prop has never broken before so I never thought I would ever need a spare one.” Needless to say that was the last time I fished with him in his boat. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Having spent as many years as I have chasing tournaments and being on the water, I have learned there are just a few things every fisherman should keep in his boat at all times. While to some this may seem a bit like overkill, taking some basic necessary action before the problem with help you solve it should it happen to come up.

Some of the things I am going to list do not have to be kept in your boat but should be stowed away somewhere in your tow vehicle. I would much prefer to make a trip back to the boat ramp to get something than I would to cut a fishing trip short because I don’t have it with me at all. Things that are always in my tow vehicle include my rain gear, extra clothes (I even take warm clothes with me for summertime fishing), extra life jackets, a small assortment of basic tools, and boat motor oil.

Rain gear is especially important. The rain gear I use in colder weather months is naturally heavier than the lightweight rain jacket I will wear in the warmer months. My wintry weather rain gear is worn even when it isn’t raining because it does an excellent job of cutting out any wind that may cause the air temperature to seem even colder than it already is. When fishing during the colder days and winter months, I always take a spare set of clothes with me, in the case of falling in the water or by some odd chance of getting wet. Hypothermia is nothing to play with.

In my boat I make sure I have a throw cushion, a safety rope, a fire extinguisher and back up running lights. The first three items are mandated by Louisiana boat laws but I have learned you can never have enough fuses, bulbs, and other electrical based items, so I keep plenty of them in my boat. A lesson I learned recently is when something breaks down or quits working, the first thing to look for and check is a blown fuse. A lot of times the solution can be a simple fix if you have the correct items to fix it with.

I mentioned earlier about keeping a small set of tools in my tow vehicle but it is even more important to keep a specific set of tools in your boat. When planning on what tools and accessories, I consider three things: can I fix my trolling motor, will I be able to fix a basic electrical problem, or can I change out my big engine prop if something happens to it. Along these lines I also keep a spare trolling motor as well as a big motor prop in my boat and at one time I would also have a back up trolling motor I kept in my truck in case the one on my boat quit working. The replacement time is usually minimal and will keep you from losing a day on the water.

Over the years I have learned the importance of keeping an over overabundance of pliers on hand. Needle nose pliers are always a staple in any fishermen’s boat but just as important is a good pair of heavy-duty side cutters. Side cutters make cutting things such as hooks or heavy wire much easier. I also have found it helpful to keep several small versions of pliers to help me with close quarter situations. A quick note about pliers: pay the extra cost for good quality ones, you will be glad you did.

Two more things every angler should keep in their boat (one you would think would be common sense, the other might surprise you) are a spare drain plug and a weigh-in bag, even if you don’t fish tournaments. I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached at a boat ramp and asked if I had an extra drain plug and I usually do. Most modern boats have the screw in type, so I keep an extra one of those in my boat as well. The weigh-in bag can be used to bail water in case of an emergency, fill up a livewell or a bait box if the pumps have quit working, or a way to protect yourself or your equipment from hazardous weather.

As you can see, the problems can be numerous but the solutions can be few, it just requires a little bit of planning ahead on the angler’s part. Well, it looks like we have run out of time again for another month. I sure hope we were able to share some information that will make your time on the water more enjoyable. Please be careful, be mindful of your surroundings while on the water and catch one for me!

See you next month!