Know where they are and how to reset your trolling motor circuit breakers. Also check your trolling motor manual and verify you have the recommended amperage breakers for your trolling motor. This knowledge will save you money and your day.
on a for real note, Turn your trolling motor off when stowed. Lucky mine was on speed 1. I tripped over the cable on a windy day fell down, my knee hit the pedal and turned the TM on. My hand landed on the prop and almost took my finger off. What really sucked this was only day 1 of a two day tournament. My co said that if I did not want to fish the second day he would understand. Well I fished the second day and it freaking sucked. it was 40 degrees and raining its azzz off.
Pick your trolling motor up before take off
Triton 19 XS Elite, 225 Mercury Pro XS, Twin 10' Power Pole Blades, Lowrance HDS 12 and 9 at console, Lowrance HDS 7 at bow, Mercmonitor, Rigid Industries Deck lights and other stuff to come that will make me go more broke
Loaded the boat on a windy, rough day. Rushed because I wanted to get out of there. Left the motor running and trimmed down so not only did I scrape the skeg, but also burnt up the impeller. My other favorite is when I trim down all the way in my driveway to drain it and then forget about that when I lower the trailer jack...as far as driving the boat goes, if you think you're going to hit a dock or another boat with the front of your boat and cut the wheel hard left and hit the throttle you pretty much will hit whatever it is with the back of the boat.
You need to have a routine for the day before and the day of fishing.
Start with Boat prep the day before. Batteries charged, rods and tackle in the boat, boat trailer secured to the tow vehicle. Check tire pressure, check oil level, make sure you have a spare boat key hidden in the boat somewhere. Start the motor with muffs the day before and let it run a little "Real good idea for older motors"
Day of fishing: Put the plug in, walk around the trailer and make sure everything is locked down again, bow is tight, back straps are tight, rods are in a locker or strapped down on the bow. Make sure nothing can blow out. Make sure the motor tote is on or the motor is up so it does not drag the ground. When you are at the ramp, make sure you have everything unstrapped when you back down or unstrapped enough for you to be comfortable. Once the boat is in the water, start the motor and let her warm up. I always run my livewell pumps for a few min. Pump in and pump out. Park the truck and trailer somewhere you will be able to get in and out. I have been blocked in before and it sucked. Also keep a spare truck key somewhere. I zipped tied one to the frame. I know where it is and it is still hard to see. This is just in case you lock the keys in the truck.
Those are a few things that should get you started. Having a routine will help make sure you don't forget anything, any steps in the process. But things happen to us all. I have left powerpoles down, forgot to take the motor locks off and could not steer the boat, had dead batteries when I arrived at the ramp, lost keys, and had a rod fly off the deck of the boat while driving down the road. Happens to us all and although they are expensive issues, they make for great stories later in life.
Don't watch the weather & get caught out in 3 footers in a 14ft v hull with a 4 horse. The only thing I could do was to point the bow straight into the wind & throttle down. I was lucky to make it to the other side of the small lake & work my way around through a large cove & back to the ramp. But that trip made me remember why I bought a little v hull tin & not a flat bottom.
Drain your cranking battery, cuz you forgot to connect the kill switch.
I totally did this, not totally killing battery, but in the stress of a tourney morning I had half of the ignition wiring loom ripped apart before I realized it was kill switch.... Hahaha, whata DUMMY!!!
Kill switch was pulled and laying right next to where it hooks in. At a glance it looked attached. I now know my Yamaha makes a sound when you try to start it doesn't have the kill switch attached. At least I caught it before we left the river, just lost the best part of the sunrise bite.
While the lake was down, the wife backs the trailer in so far the wheels fall off the back of the ramp. Go swimming to get the trailer free using my boat's eye hook and a ratchet strap. Oh and it's the first time you've taken your new boat out. What a day that was!
Drove all the way to BURAS LA, to go red fishing with a friend and realized my rods that i always keep in the boat were in the garage at home 536 miles round trip. By the way we are not friends anymore.
Complacency is what will get you. Having a routine is a great way to avoid overlooking things. I find most of the simple mistakes like leaving the plug out and other little things happen when I have new people with me and I get distracted, or even experienced people with me, they try to help, and I assume they've taken care of something I haven't. Fishing by myself comes with the fewest surprises, but the best stories happen when someone else is around to witness it.
A short list of my mistakes are;
*Leaving the plug out of the boat
*Hitting the TM button while motor is turned and getting slammed down on the deck hitting my head and seeing stars for a few minutes.
*Shifter barely in gear and motor wouldn't turn over. Tore the shifter apart with the boat tied to a dock, put it back together and still wouldn't turn over. Backed the trailer in, and instinctively shook the shifter in neutral when i sat down, boat fired right up. Why I hadn't done that earlier still escapes me.
* Beached the boat and it floated into the middle of the cove while parking the truck, good thing the ramp was busy cause I got a ride, but also had plenty of people to laugh at my situation.
Advice on operating a boat?
1; Never underestimate the stupidity of other boaters.
2; The price or size of a person's boat has no influence of their level of intelligence or respect for others. I have noticed it can almost be an inverse equation on the right days or bodies of water.
Aside from that, and the rest of the obvious, boating is largely darwinistic, in that it will usually weed out those who don't have the common sense required to do it very well. If we're lucky, we don't run across any of those who haven't seen the odds play out yet along the way.