Properly Outfitting Your Watercraft
Having a boat is important, having a boat that is properly setup is crucial. Your boat won’t do you much good if it’s not outfitted for stillwater fishing. 100% of my fishing is done from an anchored position, so being able to effectively anchor the front and back of the boat is (in my opinion) the most important part. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a boat, I still run a 1032 flat bottom and it does everything I need it to do. Here’s a little list of must-haves for outfitting your boat:
- Double Anchor or Bust – Going stillwater fishing for a day can be tough for someone like myself that has a very easy time forgetting at least one thing, but I make 100% certain I never leave home without my anchors & locks. Being able to anchor the front & back of your boat is an absolute must for stillwater fishing. When a boat isn’t anchored properly, it can be an absolute nightmare in the wind. If you’re able to only anchor the bow or only anchor the stern, then your boat is going to get blown in circles which makes fishing basically impossible. I run two Scotty anchor locks, one at the middle of the bow and one at either the starboard or port side of the stern (mounted with a Scotty side mount). Being able to anchor the bow and stern will allow for much more fishing time and less time wasted on trying to position the boat.
- Choosing an Anchor – You can have your anchor locks perfectly mounted, but if you have an anchor that isn’t going to hold your boat in windy conditions what’s the point? For my 1032 I like a 10 pound uncoated pyramid shaped lead anchor. Though 10 pounds is good enough for my small stillwater boat, they don’t hold down a 16 footer very well so try your best to match the size of your anchor to the size of your boat. I have tried a variety of different anchors both coated & uncoated, round, mushroom shaped etc. but nothing seems to hold like an uncoated pyramid anchor. The advantage to these anchors is that when they tilt on their side, they’ll actually wedge themselves into the bottom even on marl. The problem I have had with coated anchors, especially the mushroom shaped ones is that they have a tendency to slide across the bottom in high winds which causes a lot of frustration. Wind is rarely our friend, you might as well get every advantage you can.
- Rope Matters – Choosing the correct diameter rope to fit through your anchor locks is important. Too thin and you’ll find the rope tangles itself easier, too thick and it won’t fly through the roller on the anchor lock quickly enough. I like 3/8” diameter woven rope, purchased in a 100 foot section and cut in half to make two 50 foot pieces. Attach to the anchor with a bowline knot, and once threaded add a half hitch to the tag end of the rope to prevent it from pulling through the anchor lock and losing the whole setup altogether. Melt the ends with a lighter once your knots are tied to prevent fraying.
- A Real Seat – This was one of the best decisions I ever made. Whether you’re outfitting your boat for your clients or just your buddies, don’t make them break their back for 8 hours while trying to get comfortable on the aluminum bench of your new flat bottom. It’s not overly expensive to add seat brackets that swivel 360 degrees, and a good seat with a backrest will save your back in the long haul.
- Carpet Flooring – This can be so easily done to any flat bottom boat, all you need is some plywood cut to the shape of the gaps in between the bench seats in your boat and some industrial carpet. The purpose of this is to prevent fly line doing what it does best, getting caught on absolutely everything possible inside your boat. If you can, make it so that the carpet can be removed & cleaned once in a while because boats dirty up faster than you’d think.
A properly outfitted boat leaves more time for this!
This is just a couple ideas for those looking to get a new boat, or just upgrade some bits and pieces of theirs. As always if you have any questions feel free to send me an email, until next time happy fishing!