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Winter Maintenance

Lake Fork Pro Jim ReaneauArticle: January, 2005
This article should been written a couple of months ago. But with the weather here staying in the mid 40s I didn’t think about it. As the weather turns cold everyone starts putting their summer toys up and gearing to winter. Before we put up the things with gas and batteries we should either drain the gas tanks or add stabilizer to the gas. When you put the stabilizer in start the motor so it can run for a while this will get the stabilizer to go through the system and then all should be well. This goes for outboard motors also. Many of us will not fish till the warm summer breezes start to flow. That is a long time for gas to sit up. Do the same thing with your boat. For boats it is a good ideal to go to your local marine dealer or Wal-Mart and purchase a flush out for the lower unit. This will be in boat accessories It will look like two big suction cups and has a hose connection on it. Pull your boat out of the garage and let your motor down. Clamp the unit over the lower unit with the suction cups covering the intake holes on the lower unit. Hook up the water hose on to the clamp and turn on the water. Now you are ready to start your boat motor. DON’T PUT IT IN GEAR, let the motor run for about fifteen minutes at idle speed. After running for the allotted time kill your engine. Now turn off the water and disconnect the clamp. This should be done once a month all year long if your boat sits up for extended periods of time. The reason is the water works to keep your water pump working and the running keeps the gas from gumming up carburetors. You will be surprised how this will keep your motor in good running order. Many people put up their boats and leave a charger hooked up to them all the time thinking this will keep up the batteries. My personnel opinion , this is not a very good ideal. With the new chargers that will turn them selves off and on it sounds good but I just don‘t trust it. One thing you could have a short and burn up your boat, house, car and worst of all yourself and family. If you are planning to not fish for a month or two. Unhook your battery cables. Now once a month when you get ready to start the boat hook them up and put the charger on them and then you are ready to run the motor. Always check your batteries for water, this is one cause for battery failure . Every time you charge your batteries you lose a little water. Don‘t for get to wear goggles when you are working on the batteries. Opening the lids to the cells can be dangerous. There is acid in the batteries and if you flip a cap off and some of the acid flies up it could get into your eyes. I wear glover when adding water or working on the batteries. Be sure and only use distilled water to fill the cells. I get a soap bottle that has been emptied from the kitchen from my wife’s dish washing soap. They usually have a open and close lid that will work for easy filling. I change my lower unit oil every month. This maybe much for most people. Once a year by a service tech is about fifteen dollars. This will insure you have no water in the lower unit. If you store your boat out side with a cover on it I would recommend letting the motor hang down rather than leaving it up where water can be caught in the lower unit. This could freeze during the winter and bust your lower unit.

Next we should check out our rods and reels. Put up all the baits that we have left out so our or the neighbors critters wont find them and get hooked. Remember last months article. About critters getting caught in the rod locker with a long a that had been left on a rod. Spray your reels with wd40 and this should hold your reels till summer. Be sure to get all the crackers, Vienna sausage, drinks and another thing that may be perishable. Heed these simple rules and your rig should be ready to go when you next decide to use it.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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