We’ve all said to ourselves, “she’ll be right mate” when it comes to an aspect of our fishing or boating equipment. It might be a little scuff in your leader, a slight grinding sound in the bait-caster or perhaps some green corrosion on a battery terminal. It might be fine, but what are the stakes if you lose the gamble? A classic example was when I was fishing remote northern Australia last year. A mate had used the boat the day before and failed to let us know there was a moment where the motor kicked over slowly. Just the once, for a brief second, he’d noticed the starter kick over with a little more labour, but didn’t feel it was an issue as the boat ran fine afterwards. The next day, I was sitting with two other anglers on a remote sand flat awaiting recovery after a completely flat battery had left us stranded.
That niggle in the starter should have been a warning not to be ignored. A fully avoidable shit situation, which was made even worse by being surrounded by truly excellent fishing! So the lesson is: when it comes to boating and angling, you need to know your bloody gear. The sound of your motor should be like a song you’ve heard a million times (Captain’s note: please, nothing by Abba). Any change in the pitch or the “chorus” should be a warning that something isn’t right. A little less “she’ll be right” will usually help you avoid a shitty day — or worse. Stiff latch handle on your emergency hatch? Oil it. Scuff on your leader? Change it. Water in your trailer lights? Get rid of it. If you wait until your boat breaks down, the potential drama ranges from a defect ticket to drifting beyond the shelf with a tsunami on the horizon — and possibly losing the fish of a lifetime.
TOP 10 SHOWSTOPPERS
1. Flogged-out impellor. Take a spare, as well as tools to service.
2. Broken rod tips. Take spares and superglue.
3. Wheel bearing blowouts. Can you change yours on the road?
4. Fishing line breakage. Change it up prior to the trip. Take spare line in case of spoolage.
5. General motor running. When was your engine last serviced?
6. Check batteries and terminal connections. Take sandpaper.
7. Tyre blowouts. Years, not kilometres determine the lifespan of your rubbers.
8. Broken trailer rollers will destroy your boat. Take spares and split-pins.
9. Check your safety gear. Mr Maritime can ruin your day.
10. Oh, don’t forget the bungs!