News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

My best advice: Have a professional winterize your boat

Now that winter has taken a grip on North Alabama, many anglers are ready to winterize their boats until temperatures rise again in the spring.

By no means do I claim to be a boat mechanic, but I have listened to many talk about boat maintenance, and Iíd like to pass along a few of their suggestions.

Fill up your boatís fuel tank, but leave a little bit of room in case of expansion by the gas. Consider adding a good fuel stabilizer to the gas.

Some boaters will turn off all fuel valves also and replace the fuel filter before storage.

It isnít a bad idea to flush out the engine with fresh water, and if you do this, it is extremely important to let all the water drain out.

Think seriously about changing the lubricant in your outboard or inboard. Doing this will help to eliminate water buildup that could freeze and create a costly crack in the unit. Lower the unit to its deepest level and consider wrapping it to keep the freezing temperatures from doing damage.

Many friends and I have had to leave boats outside, and we have wrapped the foot with a blanket or old comforter and then covered it with plastic. This helps keep the parts as warm as possible and any moisture out. Many of us know that moisture is the enemy when it comes to storing boat engines outside.

Iíve watched many people remove the engineís spark plugs and spray a fogging-type oil inside the holes and inside the carburetor, leaving a protective coating on engine parts.

Itís a good idea to clean the boat and engine thoroughly and even consider applying some wax to a few areas.

When it comes to the batteries, disconnect the cables, and if you can, take the batteries inside. Clean the terminals and apply a light coating of grease for protection.

Speaking of grease, itís a good idea to use a little on your steering cables while storing for the winter. This area is often overlooked. When you put the boat back in the water during the spring and try making a sharp turn, you will be glad you greased the parts during winterization.

Your boat trailer will need some attention, especially when it comes to the wheel bearings. If necessary, grease the bearings thoroughly or consider replacing them if needed.

If you do the winterizing by yourself, always refer to your manuals for proper instructions — or even better, take your boat, engine and trailer to a certified service center and have a professional do the work.

Some bass boats cost as much as small houses and taking care of them year round is important.

Deer rubs

Jackie Bushman, CEO of Buckmasters, has allowed us to pass along the following information about deer rubs:

ďNo one is sure of the exact purpose of buck rubs. Yes, bucks will rub trees to remove their velvet, but with velvet-drop being a fairly quick process (24 hours or less in most cases), and since most rubs are made long after the bucks have lost their velvet, we have to conclude that rubs serve some other purpose or purposes.

ďFrom a hunting perspective, rubs can certainly indicate a buck is in an area, and if the rub is on a particularly large tree, you can determine a given rub-maker is a trophy — but donít assume a rub on a smaller tree was made by a small buck.

ďWhether rubs are used by bucks to mark territory or if they are used as signposts to line the route to and from a bedding area doesnít really matter to the hunter as long as he can use them to help determine where to hunt. When keying on rubs, look for a rub-line or a series of rubs lining a trail. The rubs most often will be spaced 20 or more yards apart, but form a definite line.Ē

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Paul Stackhouse
Paul Stackhouse

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