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Time for cooler-weather boat maintenance

This last week has felt more like fall weather than our typical mid-August hot weather. The cooler weather and 50-degree nights have dropped water temperatures about 5 to 7 degrees in the last week on area lakes. This is the time of the calendar when we typically still have rising water temps that peak at their highs before Labor Day.

I have also been seeing monarch butterflies coming through our area for a couple weeks and the loons already seem to be gathering in larger groups. These are early signs that indicate to me we may already be starting our transition into an early fall.

I don't mind at all, as I love these cooler temps. Fall is one of my four favorite times of the year! We will have some hot weather yet, we always do during the fall, but I thinking we are trending to a little longer fall season this year.

As water temps continue to drop and we transition to fall, fishing continues to be good and will get even better the closer we get to transitioning to winter. Almost all anglers that put more time in fishing instead of hunting start to realize what a great time it is to be on the water.

The cooler weather reminds me of some boat maintenance issues that are important and deserve attention this time of the season:

Boat trailer tires will drop pressure as weather cools and we have cold nights. Check pressure and keep tires inflated to max pressure. Low pressure tires wear unevenly (and this can happen fast with boat tires) and may require replacing earlier.

Low-pressure trailer tires can increase the risk for blow outs and/or losing their bead and going flat.Boat batteries that have been hanging on at the end of their life and have been ok during the summer, will show how weak they are in the cooler and cold temps. Starting batteries can fail, and trolling batteries that are weak will not last as long with as much power during your fishing trip. Making sure they are charged and cleaning the connections can go a long way to having trouble free fall fishing. Connections need cleaning this time of year because the hot, humid, wet weather of summer, and then the transition to drier cooler air, promotes the corrosion. Don't worry, you get to clean them again in the spring!

It is not uncommon to pick up fishing line in the props of your boat or trolling motor. When this does happen, the prop should be taken off and all fishing line removed as soon as you can (immediately after you are done or before your next outing). If you have forgotten, now is the time to make sure it is done. Fishing line in your trolling or gas motor can take the seal out and allow water to seep into the lower unit or electric motor.

Water in the electric trolling motor will destroy that motor and cause premature replacement. Water in the lower unit of your gas motor can take the lower unit out and that is an extremely closely repair.

By this time of the season, if you haven't been in the habit of cleaning your graphs, they will be water-spotted and dirty. Do not use a window cleaner on the graph! White vinegar on a soft rag will remove the water spots and not damage the smoke-colored class on the unit. White vinegar will also work to remove water spots on the boat. Cleaning the boat well now will make it much easier to clean up at the end of the season before putting it into storage. We still have 10 to 12 weeks of open water to enjoy!

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)

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