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It’s unwise to neglect that trailer

September 19, 2009

Think about the most neglected piece of gear for a lot of fishermen - his boat trailer.

We spend hours washing and waxing our overpriced fancy and not-so-fancy boats, spend hundreds of dollars on high tech super graphite aerospace rods and reels that catch no more fish than a $39.99 Wal-Mart "Ugly Stick" and think nothing of spending $15-$25 on a new shad swim bait, but spend two bucks on a tube of bearing grease or 45 cents on a replacement trailer light bulb? No way!

The boat trailer obviously is one of, if not the most important piece of equipment we own. After all, if it doesn't roll down the road you are not going to get your live well full.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

First, do you have a decent tire pressure gauge? Of course not. Do yourself a favor and buy one. Keeping proper pressure in your tires will increase tire life and save gas, lots of gas. Even Obama will tell you that.

While you're at it inspect the tire sidewalls for age cracks. Trailers that sit in the sun and aren't used that much may have great tread, but can be rotten with tons of hairline cracks waiting for that first long road trip to surprise you with an unexpected five-hour delay because you also don't have a lug wrench in the truck, or the spare has only two pounds of pressure. You would know that because you bought that new tire gauge. Cover or shade your trailer tires from the Florida sun if practical.

Brakes on a trailer will rust, fall apart and fail. Period. No matter what you do. If you have disc brakes, flush them often. Drum brakes, get a flush kit. Inspect them, and flush them with fresh water often.

Fishing trip reports

While you have the hose out get under there and flush the wheels, springs, anything to get rid of trapped salt deposits. Also spray off all lights and electrical components. If you have spent life as a freshwater fisherman, saltwater has become your maintenance enemy if you relocated to these parts.

I am known as the "king of grease." I will grease my bearings at the drop of a hat. I grease before I leave, sometimes on the way back, and sometimes just for fun, but have never experienced bearing failure in 40 years. Many have scoffed at me for wasting grease, but joined my cause after finding out that bearing failure in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhereville, is no party.

Capt. Phil Evans of AFishinMission Charters sent a three-trip report starting with one family's trip catching trout, blues, redfish, and hooking tarpon while fishing for pompano that were jumping all around them. Eight-year-old angler Amy Carter caught seven trout and a stout 31-inch red, the biggest in the boat. Another trip found a Lake Erie guide and his wife on the flats catching trout, reds, ladyfish, and snook. Finally, a family of cousins caught three back-country slams (snook-red-trout), including first-ever snook and first redfish honors.

Capt. Bennett of Hot One II Charters reports multiple charters this week with a 36-inch Ding Darling snook release between a.m. and p.m. storms. A 24-inch gag grouper on bottom bait intended for tarpon. Also, a 13-year-old female angler that foul-fin hooked an upset and long-fighting bull shark that was released unharmed after supplying her with lots of thrills.

Another great tarpon trip had several silver kings hooked up to the 100-pound mark, most of them off Fort Myers Beach and two in Pine Island Sound.

Finally, a brute tarpon that almost spooled a big Penn filled with 50-pound braided line. Seven lines in the water prevented a chase and a tightened drag resulted in a parting of the line.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.



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