A bass fisherman uses nothing during a fishing season that takes more of a beating than the bass boat. The pounding begins when you pull out of the boat and trailer out of the driveway and doesn't stop until the boat and trailer are parked.
The boat and its parts are being jostled and jarred by every pothole and bump on the road. Then when the outboard is fired up, the pounding continues with every ripple and wave the hull encounters during a typical day on the water. Even the tiny, insignificant vibrations of the prop slicing through smooth water cause screws and fittings to loosen over time.
Time and the elements also take a toll. Even a boat stored in a garage or shed will face the effects of corrosion because a certain amount of moisture is always part of the bass boat's natural environment.
All this leads us to preventive maintenance.
For a bass boat subjected to such rough use to function correctly, a certain level of preventive maintenance is required once a year.
A great time to give your boat a thorough bow-eye to prop nut inspection is during mid-summer, when many bass clubs put tournaments on hold for a couple of weeks so families can enjoy vacations together.
One way to make such an inspection is to invite your favorite draw partner over for lunch and a couple of beers while lending a hand getting your boat ready for the second half of the season. (Or, you could always convince the wife and kids this is a prerequisite to taking the family for a week touring Jellystone Park or Dollyland.)
Once you have a helper or two around, use the checklist below as an essential guide to giving your beloved bass boat that once-a-year checkup.
You'll probably need a few essential hand tools close by, many zip-ties, cleaners, garbage bags, and clean rags handy.
The basic procedure from bow-to-stern is to make sure everything you check is tight, clean, and properly working. Suspect items should be repaired or replaced.
Such an inspection will take several hours-maybe, even a half-day. But when you're done with the inspection, you can rest assured your bass boat will be as ready as ever the next time it's splashed.
60-POINT BASS BOAT CHECKLIST
- Bow-eye; inspect for looseness, cracks
- Navigation light; clean connections on pole and socket, wires secure, test
- Trolling motor; prop good and shaft clear of fishing line
- Trolling motor foot control; wiring clean, tight
- Bow electronics; mounts, wiring, connections
- Bow controls/switches; tight connections; function
- Bow power panel; circuit breakers/fuses good
- Front livewell; hose connections/fittings/sprayers
- Remove unused tools gear from all lockers, organize
- Forward storage lockers; inspect seals, locks, hinges
- Front seat; brackets and bolts secure; replace bad/missing snaps
- Metal seats; check and tighten all mounting screws/bolts
- Bow pedestal seat; check mounting screws/bolts, lube pedestal adjusters
- Rod lockers; repair loose carpet, broken organizers, drooping wiring looms
- Console(s); make sure it's secure
- Wiring under the console; fix loose, hanging wires
- Helm; steering wheel, steering cables/hoses tight lubed
- Steering wheel trim controls; secure, tight connections
- Hydraulic steering; reservoir filled, system bled
- Instrument panel; inspect and tighten/clean all wiring/connections
- Gauges; check the function of all, replace those defective
- Console switches; inspect, repair or replace as needed
- Shift/throttle control; secure, cables adjusted properly, lubricated
- Fuel tank switch; inspect and test
- Foot throttle; base secure, moving parts lubricated, cable adjusted
- Windscreen(s); secure, clean; replace if broken
- Glovebox; secure, clean, hinges & lock work properly
- Cockpit seats; check snaps, mounts, straps, hinges
- Under-seat compartments; cleanout, check seals and hinges
- Livewell controls; check operation, adjust linkages
- Cockpit carpet; secure loose edges, clean
- Aft storage compartments; check and repair hinges, seals, locks
- Battery compartment; clean, secure loose, hanging wiring
- Battery trays; remove batteries, tighten tray mounting bolts, clean
- Batteries; check cables for fraying, clean terminals, tighten connections
- Hydraulic jack plate pump; tight hoses, fittings, and wiring
- Bilge pumps; hose connections; mounts; wiring
- Livewell pump(s); hoses not kinked, clamps and fittings tight
- Fuel filler; check and tighten mounting screws; tighten the filler hose clamp
- Fuel tanks; tighten filler and fuel line connections
- Fuel tank sender; tighten mounting screws and clean/reconnect wires
- Engine mounting bolts; tight
- Engine steering; bolts tight, fittings greased
- Manual jack plate; engine and transom attachment bolts tight
- Hydraulic jack plate; mounting bolts and fitting tight; slide lubricated
- Prop shaft; remove the prop, clean fishing line from the base, check the seal, lube
- Prop; inspect for cracks, dings, re-install, tighten
- Engine fuel filter; replace; connections tight
- Engine water filter (4-strokes); drain or replace the cartridge
- Engine; lube throttle/shift mechanisms; grease fittings
- Engine; clean out speedometer pitot hole on the front of skeg
- Stern light; clean pole and socket connections; check wiring connections, test
- Rub rail; remove to inspect for loose/missing screws, replace
- Transom; check transducer and speedo paddle wheel if so rigged
- Fiberglass hull; clean, inspect for cracks, repair minor Gelcoat dings
- Aluminum hull; clean, inspect/repair loose/missing rivets or broken welds
- Hull; replace registration numbers if they are faded or missing
- First Air kit; refill or replace with a new one, place under the driver seat
- Fire Extinguisher; fully charged, still within date
- Safety flares; put two new packs alongside the First Aid kit
- Dock lines; replace old frayed ones with new ones, store inside the locker
- Anchor; place in a compartment along with 100-feet of new anchor rope