Always inspect the bottom of your boat’s hull
Congrats to our boat question contest winner Jerry Durand of Cape Coral. Of the 118 email responses received, his was the first correct one also winning an inshore lure prize package. Of the 118 submitted 91 gave the correct response to the contest question. Yes, Uncle Homer’s boat had grown a think mat of algae on the bottom of the hull making it impossible to get on plane.
Next time you give your hull a wash and wax to keep it looking sharp and, more importantly, to protect it from our intense sunlight causing your finish to chalk and fade, don’t overlook the bottom of the hull.
Get under it and inspect, looking for cracks, chips or deep scratches or gouges that are potential hull cracks. Those of us that run flats boats obviously play the shallow water game and running aground, getting stranded due to a quickly falling tide, or simply hitting shells, rocks and other underwater obstacles while running all takes a toll on your hull’s bottom.
Any deep scratches or rock/shell gouges should be addressed and repaired using a simple fiberglass repair kit. If you aren’t the handy dandy type, open that wallet and pay for a professional repair.
Unless you have a hull crack or tiny hole, any water leaking into the hull usually comes from thru-hull fittings, which, depending on their location, can be difficult to repair and best left to a pro. These leaks can at times be nearly impossible to find without the boat being on the water and the bottom under pressure from the weight of the boat. Hull leaks around fittings on trailered boats can sometimes be found by using the hose and simply adding water to the hull then inspecting it for leaks from underneath. Don’t overdo it as water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon.
After inspecting and repairing the bottom, give it a good wash and wax which not only protects the fiberglass from the harsh realities of saltwater but increases your speed and saves fuel.
When buying a used boat, always get under the boat and give the bottom of the hull a good inspection looking for obvious issues that you might get stuck with. Oftentimes the seller has no idea there are issues as he/she hasn’t been under there to inspect, clean or wax as long as they’ve owned it.
Received many emails concerning my confusing comments about using “jigs and swimsuits” for night casting for bridge tarpon. That spell check auto correction should have said swimbaits, not suits.
Speaking of jigs, I recently hooked and released a Sanibel Causeway tarpon on one that was attached to my favorite night tarpon lure, the Hogy eel.
Jigs catch everything that swims and are truly an all species lure for anything that eats other fish. Jigs are also a time honored lure for tarpon but come with a built-in flaw for these head shakers. The weight of the jigs’ head can sometimes help pop the jig out of the tarpons jaw when the fish gives a violent head shake.
The Hogy lure section of your favorite tackle store usually sells a compatible jig head called “The Barbarian.” These jigs heads have some built-in angles in the hooks shaft instead of a simple curve leading up to the hook. These compound angles help lock the jig in place, greatly reducing the number of thrown hooks during those big head shakes.
Tarpon, cobia and other predators eat eels with gusto and the Hogy is a great night bait for not only tarpon, but trophy snook as well.
Start with a straight 1-inch Hogy eel in black and switch to white if you don’t have any takers. In dirty or muddied waters, try the paddle tails to give more thump or sound to the bait making it easier to find in the dark. Try 3/5 to 2-ounce jig heads..
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.