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Spring time means big cat time, are you ready for them? Are you one of those that heads to the lake or river at the first sign of spring and find the big one breaking your line, or you have motor problems as soon as you get on the water, or the outboard will not start at the boat ramp, or on and on. Listed below are a few things you can do to avoid some of these situations.

First, lets get the boat ready. Still have that old gas in your portable tank? Well, if you did not stabilized it this past winter, do yourself a favor and pour it out in an enviormental safe manner. Check your battery post and make sure they are clean. Take a wire brush to them if that are not shinny. Check the battery for fluids, add if needed. Make sure your bow and stern lights are working. Turn your depth finder/sonar on and make sure it is working okay, same with your GPS. Make sure you have your rod holders in the postion that you want them and make sure they are tight. Inspect your life jackets and make sure that they have not dry rotted, same for your throw cushion. Make sure you have 30 some feet of rope available for emergencies. Make sure you have a paddle or oar on board. Check your anchor rope and make sure it is okay. Don't forget to put the anchor in the boar.

Check the wiring on your boat trailer, make sure all your running lights are working. Grease your ball bearings and put a little on the coupler. Check your runners and carpet on them. Make sure your trailer tag in on and up to date.

Now you should oil and grease your reels. Check your fishing line and make sure it is okay. Most likely, you would be better off if you replaced your fishing line. Your hooks on your rigs should be replaced with new ones. Check your guides and eye on your rods. Make sure that there are no grooves in them. This (grooves) can cut your line in a heart beat if you connect with a trophy cat.

If you have a trolling motor, make sure the batteries for it are charged and have at least 12 months life left. Check your male and female electrical connections. Spray some contact cleaner (Blakemore has a good product for this purpose) on the M & F connections. Test the trolling motor controls.

If you have a portable bait tank or built in bait tank, clean it out and scrub it down with baking soda and then rinse real good several times. Check you pump for your tank and make sure it is working okay. If it makes a whinney sound, get rid of it, this will save your bait later on when it dies on you. Check your battery clip for your bait tank pump. Make sure they are not rusted, which leads to a poor connection.

Check out the BOC Sponsors and see if they have something you need this year for your fishing trip. Do you have plenty of hand rags in the boat. A screw driver, pair of pliers, needle nose pliers, knife, filet knife, fire ext., lake map, etc.

Check out the BOC threads for the lakes or rivers that you want to fish. Ask question on the threads if you don't see the information that you want or desire. There are somewhere around 17,000 fisherperson out there in cyber space that most likely has the answer to your question.

Last but not least, check your fishing licenses and make sure they are current. Make sure you have ICE (In Case of Imergency) or home number registered on your cell phone. When you leave home to go fishing, let a family member or friend know where you are going to be fishing. If you have health problems, be sure and wear your life jacket.
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