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Angler Overkill

June 1, 2001

I felt the take, closed the bail, and-wham!-swung my rod into an outrigger, shattering the top foot of my host’s favorite spinning stick. So much for my Ultimate image.

I felt stupid, but I also had an epiphany: Sometimes, in the name of fishing, we make our boats harder to fish from. Those riggers, for example, were mounted on a 24′ walkaround that was moored in Chesapeake Bay. The boat never has seen (and probably never will) blue water, and outriggers are useless when you spend your days casting for stripers, blues, and weakfish. But it just doesn’t look like a fishboat without them, right? So what if they reduce the casting space in your cockpit by 50 percent, add weight to the boat, and make it harder to get to the foredeck?

Have you fallen victim to I’m-supposed-to-have-it disease? If you’re hauling riggers you haven’t used in years, pull them.

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Let’s say you use a net to land everything you catch. But is there a gaff in the rocket launchers because you were told you needed it? It’s nothing but an unnecessary hazard filling a perfectly good rodholder; dump it.

Did that same little bird tell you to haul a spare shaft? If you don’t travel to foreign ports, it’s just more dead weight. Bow cushions are a common item of interference on center consoles. They keep you from standing on the casting deck and tend to blow around in (or off of) the boat. For the days you plan on fishing instead of sunning, leave them on the dock.

And don’t worry, Jim, I’ll replace your spinning rod…as soon as you get rid of those darn outriggers.

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