There’s no way around it! Every year, winter arrives, and for fishermen, it signals two things.
The summer heat is dying down, and many species of fish will be extremely active ahead of the real winter temperatures in the fall. Second, it’s time to think about winterizing your boat, which includes more than simply batteries and fluids. It also involves maintaining your electronics, including fish finders and even trolling motors.
Why put your expensive fish finder at risk, depending on where you reside, to the cold temperatures and harsh weather? Even if it’s a cheap piece of electronics, you should still want to protect it. I can make this material incredibly brief by stating that when it comes to winterizing your equipment, follow the instructions in your user guides.
But to be honest, how many of us continue to use those little books?
Isn’t my Fish Finder Weather Resistant?
For the most part, the answer is yes. To put it another way, the majority of fishing gear is designed to endure the weather when you’re out on a boat. There was a summer storm, an afternoon shower, a sprinkle, and fog. Even air temperatures are considered.
The problem is that those components only last a few minutes or hours, and the actual exposure time when you consider locating cover and cleaning things down after the rain is relatively short.
A boat on a trailer parked in the driveway with a flapping cover will be exposed to the elements for an extended period of time during the winter. During those chilly, damp winter days, think about those mornings on the lake or river when your fish finder took a second or two longer to seem operational.
This occurred when you were fishing all of the time and using your gear on a regular basis. The moisture in the air and the cold morning temperatures had an impact on how well your equipment functioned.
Consider how many times a day those circumstances occur, but you aren’t in the boat to check on things and keep everything maintained. So, yes, your fish finder may be water-resistant; nevertheless why take a risk?
To begin, I’d like to emphasize that while I’m aware that not all owners of bass boats store them carelessly in the driveway with loosely fitting covers, some do, and others don’t. Some have heated garages; some store their boats covered and protected in storage facilities at the marina; and some keep their boats in unheated garages. So please accept these broad guidelines as a mitigating factor. Simply put, I’m suggesting you consider this when winterizing your boat’s fluids and starting batteries.
To keep your boat healthy, it’s a good idea to remove electronic equipment like your fish finder and store it correctly inside when not in use, such as during the winter. The same goes for things like battery-operated gadgets, as well as smaller trolling motors. Electronics that you wish to leave on board that operate on batteries should have their batteries removed. This covers everything from emergency handheld radios to flashlights. Corrosion must be avoided! Portable electronics should also be stored in their protective cases indoors.
For those who don’t want to spend the time removing electronics that are difficult to access, there is some excellent news. You may store items in place! It’s acceptable to leave things in place if they’re permanently affixed or installed and hard to remove. Just make sure they’re dry first; you may also use a thermal protector as you would with a battery.
Don’t use anything that might trap moisture in the air and cause condensation. I had a buddy who used bits of foam as insulation and rubber bands to keep everything in its place. He’d wrap the whole console and electronics with the foam, then attach rubber bands and tape to keep things in place. Before covering, he would fill a plastic butter dish with a few mothballs and set it on the middle of the boat.
He replaced his old foam insulation a few years ago. “Hey, Wes, I like the purple foam you’re using this season,” I said as I observed him winterize his boat. “Yep, it’s my wife’s old yoga mat!” You guessed it—he decided to go with a new yoga mat for his wife!
Bottom Line and Sinker!
The bottom line is that a boat and all of the technology on it is more than simply a recreational pastime for those who enjoy fishing. It’s an investment, and it should be properly maintained during the winter months or when not in use for lengthy periods of time. When you begin winterizing your vessel using conventional methods, consider the huge number of electronics that boats are accented with nowadays.
It only takes a few minutes of effort in the late fall to prevent much aggravation and, perhaps, financial damage in the spring when the fish start biting again!