Professional Non-boater Accesories

Moving from boat-to-boat requires a high level of organization and planning. The professional non-boater is faced with having to bring along all of the support equipment they need or face being without once leaving shore for a day of fishing. The best case is having to scrounge for a life vest amongst other club or tournament members. The worst case is leaving the hand-held GPS with the days’ hot spots at home.

One possible solution is to create a checklist much like an airline pilot might have to work through before takeoff. There is always a chance the list might get left behind though. The real challenge is to keep everything we need together so when it is time to go, it all goes with us.

This problem gets compounded if you do double duty as a boater. Now there are GPS coordinates on the on-board unit and others in the hand-held. Life vests need to be stored on the boat but when we go out with someone else, at least one vest must be taken out. The basics like rods and a tackle bag are easy to remember but how do we handle the accessories?

LIFE VEST
Aside from being perfect, it might be time to think about buying a second life vest to keep in the vehicle. What I do is keep an old vest that I don’t wear anymore handy. It might not be pretty but it works everytime.

GPS
This is a tough one. The only way I’ve been able to keep it together is to have a dedicated pocket in my tackle bag for the hand-held GPS. Before I leave the house, checking the tackle bag is automatic so if the pocket is empty, I need to go hunting. Since coordinate management can be a full time job in and of itself, I can’t depend on always having my hand-held files up-to-date. As a back up I carry a hard copy listing of my coordinates which can be entered into my hand-held GPS or perhaps the boaters’ on board unit.

TOWEL
Rig one so that it can be attached to the handle of the tackle bag and never be without one.

WEIGH SCALE AND TAGS
Even the most tournament hardened boater can forget to manage the batteries on their scale or run out of tags for sorting bass in a livewell. Some livewells don’t have dividers so it might be on you to manage five of your own fish and keep them separate. Keep a working scale and tags in a dedicated pocket so if they got moved to your boat, you will notice them missing and can move them back to your bag.

RAIN SUIT
No matter what the weather it’s a good idea to have a rain suit available.

Story: We ended our fishing day at the north end of the Lake with a short hop left to get back to the launch on the western shore.  Aboard was my friend Mike, myself and one other friend.  It was mid to late afternoon on a bright sunny day so our mutual friend was confused when Mike and I put our rain suits on before starting back.  He was soon to find out that the center console boat we were on was a “wet boat.”  The ride back was pretty much what Mike and I expected it would be and I would also expect that our friend never left shore without a rain suit again.

(My thanks to the gentleman who came up to me at the Grand Rapids show in 2010 to remind me about this important accessory.)

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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