For most anglers in Minnesota and Wisconsin the fishing season doesn’t get underway until early May in most cases. There are certainly other opportunities on border waters and in neighboring states, but the bulk of our open water fishing will kick off in about a month and a half. This leaves eager anglers plenty of time to prepare, sort tackle and make sure all of their ducks are in a row.
One fairly simple practice that all fishermen should include in their pre-season routine is getting your boat on the water prior to your maiden fishing voyage of the year. Due to an early ice out on many lakes in central Minnesota and Wisconsin, this year especially has provided plenty of opportunities for boat owners to do this.
Whether it’s a weekend outing or just a few hours after work, getting your boat on soft water to make sure everything is working properly can and will pay major dividends. The last thing you want is to show up at the ramp opening morning and find a major malfunction on your boat. Head to a local lake, run your boat for a decent period of time at varying speeds and make sure all accessories are working properly. Everything from electronics, livewell pumps, trolling motors, running lights, gauges and all other moving parts. If you are having issues with anything this will hopefully allow you enough time for repairs before it’s time to fish.
If you need to scratch the itch, a spring panfish trip is always a great time to test your boat. Get out on the water during a nice warm day, catch a few crappies and bluegills all while gaining the peace of mind that your rig is ready to rock come gamefish season.
If you’re heading into your first season with a new boat, getting on the water is especially a must. Most likely you’ll be going through a break-in period with your motor and you’ll have a learning curve in terms of operating your new electronics and other accessories that you may not be familiar with. There’s no better way to learn your electronics than to get out on the water and use them!
Getting your boat wet before opening day isn’t rocket science but it’s something you should strive to in order to avoid the headache that comes with early season boat and motor issues.