Thursday, April 30, 2015

New to Me Boat

I know it has been a while since we have had a new article here on the blog but I've got a pretty good excuse.  You see I've been busy shopping the used boat market here in the Houston area for one I could afford and also one that would suit my needs.  Since the wife and I will be retiring in a few years I didn't want to be strapped with new boat payments as we are trying to put extra money away for the day I can fish any day I want.  So I was looking for a good bass boat that was at least 18 feet.  My wonderful wife did put a limit on me in the funds department so I had to be really picky. The other problem I was having was the weather.  Heck we have had more rain and storms over the last month than I can remember ever having.  This has pretty much kept the Bayous all tore up and in a state where they are pretty much unfishable.  It also kept me from going and seeing a couple of boats I really wanted to look at, but before I could get there they were sold.  So mother nature can play a big role not only in our fishing but also in our boat buying.

I've always said everything happens for a reason and maybe those other boats weren't the right ones for me in the first place.  I finally noticed a really nice restored Skeeter 175SX, but the guy was asking more than I could pay.  I kept watching it and he came down some of the price, but still a little out of my range.  I still decided to contact him and see if my haggling skills were still as sharp as they once where.  He seemed like a great guy and we chatted back in forth on the phone and email for 3 day until Sunday evening we came to an agreement pending me looking at the boat.  So I arranged to meet him Monday afternoon.  When I got there I had the cash in hand just in case this was it.  I met him and started to crawl all over the boat checking out everything.  There were things I saw that I didn't like, but nothing I could fix myself.  I checked out the engine and it passed all the tests, but we weren't close to water so it wasn't tested in water.  I was impressed at how quick the old motor started and how good it sounded.  So, guess what I came home with a new to me boat.

Now one thing that I didn't mention was that the reason this guy was selling the boat was he was never home to use it.  The boat had been is storage for almost 2 years without being run.  When he told me this I was really impressed it started up the way it had started.  He had drained all the old gas and put new gas in her, but still after sitting that long she should have had some problems.  So needless to say I was excited and wanted to get her in the water the first chance I could get.  That first chance came two weeks after I bought her as there was issues getting the trailer registered to start with and also more rain.  I got the trailer registration worked out with the help of the guy I bought it from even though it took a week and I won't bore you with the full story.  The weather almost made me wait another week to get her in the water, but my Son-in-Law, Brett and I made a run to Fayette County Lake this past Sunday morning.  We knew there was a chance we would get run off the lake by storms but still took the chance. We made it to the lake just after first light.  Brett jumped in the boat and I backed her down into the water.  She fired right up for Brett and he eased her off the trailer.  I parked the truck and trail then joined Brett at the dock.  I climbed on board, secured my PFD to me and the kill switch then eased her from the dock.  We headed out and once out of the No Wake zone I gave her the gas.  She was a little sluggish getting up on plane, but once there she ran like a scolded dog to our first spot.

At the first spot I put the trolling motor in the water and started to use to using a foot control again.  I had gotten spoiled with my wireless remote FOB on the old boat.  I considered switching the trolling motors but the new boat has a 24 volt setup and the motor has more trust than the one on the old boat.  With this being a bigger boat I decided to stick with the one on her.  It was sort of like riding a bicycle and I got the hang of it pretty quickly.  The only down side is I can't control the motor if I have to leave the foot control for any reason.  With the old boat I could control it from anywhere on the boat using the FOD.

I had always had good luck at this first spot on Fayette but on this morning the bass were lockjawed.  I finally got a hit on a Throw-n-Thunder spinner bait and it felt like a pretty good fish, but it got in the grass and came off.  That was it for a while as we kept looking for something they liked.  Brett finally tied on a Rat-L-Trap and soon after had the first bass of the day.  It was a nice chunk for the first bass on the new boat.  With this fish coming on a trap I decided to switch to a Creme Lures Mad Dad.  The Mad Dad is a soft crank bait that is similar to a Rat-L-Trap in how it swims, but it doesn't have the rattles.  The rattles didn't seem to matter as I was hooked up with my first fish on the new boat in short order.  It wasn't as big as Brett's but hey it was the first one none the less.  So we thought we were on to something at least for a little while.  However we must have caught the only 2 bass on that point as there just weren't any other takers.  I decided it was time to make a move and see if we could find some bass that wanted to play with us.  The engine fired right up with a bump of the key and I eased her away from the point. Again I gave her the gas and again she was sluggish to get on plane.  Once she was up she again ran awesome and let me tell you she is the best handling boat I've ever captained.  She also is the smoothest riding boat I've had the pleasure to pilot as well.  Brett even commented about her performance and that I had gotten a steal.  You know I was smiling from ear to ear!

Well the second spot wasn't much better than the first.  I did have a really good fish chase my Creme Lures Scoundrel worm on a Santone Lures Piget Shaky Head up to the boat, but miss.  I didn't get a great look at the fish but will say it was far bigger than the first two we had caught.  We again were switching between baits and Brett had gone to a Tube Craw.  He tossed it into one of the trees and was immediately setting the hook.  The water exploded and at first glance I though he had hooked up with a really good bass.  However it became clear pretty quickly that it was about a 2.5 foot Spotted Gar on the end of his line.  He did have a good fight and just as he was about to cut the line the gar came off.  So in short that turned out really nicely.  It was about this time we heard the rumbling of thunder not far off and decided since we were as far away from the ramp as you can get on Fayette we should move a little closer.

There is a cove just around the corner from the ramp with some trees that has been good to us in the past so that is where we headed.   Once more my new girl started with a bump of the key and also once more she was sluggish getting up on plane.  Again once on plane we were off to the races for her longest run of the day.  I finally opened her up all the way and she still responded very well and the ride was unbelievably awesome.  I did notice that at wide open throttle she was only making 5200 RPMs which was low.  So that was something I wanted to check into with some research once getting home.

When we got to the cove, it didn't take long, I eased her off plane and to a stop.  Got the trolling motor down and we started fishing.  This was short lived as the storm was moving right on top of us and there was lighting and thunder way too close for comfort.  We decide to take the boat to the dock and then wait out the storm in the truck.  I fired her up with a bump of the key and we headed out of the cove.  This time when I tried to get her up on plane she didn't want to go.  In fact she would only do about 2200 RPM before trying to die.  So I made best speed to the ramp and once there we decide to put her on the trailer.  I was a bit upset as anyone would be, but I should have expected something knowing she had been sitting for so long and not ran.

Once we were home I started my troubleshooting research and decided what the course of action would be to get my new girl running.  After doing some reading on being sluggish to get up on plane I found that her Prop might be too big.  She had a 25 pitch Prop and I read were many folks having the same issues switched to a 23 pitch Prop.  From the standpoint of not being able to get over 2200 RPMs and trying to die, it is a fuel delivery issue.  In other words she just isn't getting the gas she needs.  There are a few thing that could be causing this and due to the fact she sat for so long I'm going to take care of them all at once.  The way I see it there is no since fixing one problem only to have another one on the next trip.  So I'll be replacing all the fuel filters, replacing the fuel pumps and also cleaning the carburetors.  While I'm at it I'll replace the current Prop with a 23 Pitch and also change the low unit oil.  I really should have done all of this before taking her out for the first time, but hey I was excited.  Also for good measures I'll be changing out the spark plugs. 

So I hope some of you may learn from my mistakes.  If you buy a used boat I recommend you start fresh.  By this I mean change out all the filters, the lower unit oil and spark plugs before heading to the water for the first time.   I also recommend if the boat has been sitting and not run to also check out the fuel pumps really good and also have the carbs cleaned before the first trip. Once I get all the work done I'll give all of you an update in my next article.

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

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Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants