As the mist comes off the lake and the sun is beginning to rise, your line twitches. A bite! You start reeling in, and with the scoop of a net, you have your catch! But how did you get here? A good boat needs a good trailer, and the skills to get the boat from the trailer to the water. Let’s go over everything you need to know about boat trailers and launching your boat, so you can get the big catch this summer.
Before even thinking about transporting a boat, you need to have the right boat trailer. Depending on what type of water you will be fishing in, you will need trailers made from different metals to resist corrosion.
For example, painted steel is fine for freshwater use, but in salt or brackish water, the trailer will easily corrode. Galvanized steel, on the other hand, just needs a quick rinse after a launch to avoid corrosion. If you are worried about weight and corrosion, your best bet is an aluminium trailer. However, aluminum trailers come at a high cost.
Just as important as the trailer are the tires — the part of the trailer that touches the ground. We suggest the Carlisle Radial RH, which have higher speed tolerances than the average trailer tire. Carlstar Tires, makers of the Carlisle brand, are the official tire sponsor for the American Bass Anglers, providing tires for towing boats for competition.
Speaking of towing, now that you have a trailer, you need to get your boat to water. The first difference when towing a boat is that your acceleration will be much slower due to the added weight. Stopping will also take more time, so leave more room to slow down. It may help to practice before you actually intend on fishing, so that you get to know your trailer better.
The Boat Ramp
You have successfully navigated to the marina or lake. It’s time to back up into the water and launch the ramp. Here’s a few tips to easily get the boat in place.
Make sure the area is clear. Children should stay clear of the boat and tow vehicle. The only people involved should be two adults — one behind the wheel, and one guiding the driver. If there are kids around, a third adult can wrangle the tykes, who should already be in life jackets.
Before backing up, make sure the drain plug is installed in your boat.
Roll the windows down so that you can communicate with your guiding partner. Turn off the AC and radio, and anything else that might interfere with hearing directions. Should a catastrophe occur, and the tow vehicle follows the boat into the water, having the windows down also provides an escape from the car.
Finally, once you are going backwards down the ramp, put the car in neutral. This will give you an easier time braking, and will prevent you from accidentally backing up further into the water once the boat is launched.
For more backing-up tips with a boat trailer, check out this video.
After a fun day fishing in your boat, it’s time to pack up and head home. Don’t forget to remove the drain plug when you leave, and replace it when you get home.
You should also regularly perform maintenance on your trailer, both before and after trips. Visually check U-bolts, winches, axles, cross beam, and the hitch coupler. Check tire pressure, and inspect sidewalls for cracks. Has the tread worn too much? Don’t forget to check the spare. Lubricate all the wheel hubs with waterproof grease, but don’t overfill. Hub bearings should be checked and repacked at least once a year. Also don’t forget to check the brake lights, and be sure your trailer registration is up to date.
With all that done, you are ready to go back out again on the lake and have fun fishing!