- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2004

As winter arrives in earnest, there are two types of anglers: those who never stop fishing and those who prepare their boats for a long cold-weather sleep.

Preparing for winter is a habit most boat owners are into. Before that first frost hits, their boats are prepped, engines are fogged, lower unit grease is replaced and trailer wheel bearings packed. It makes that first outing next spring so much easier.

Sadly, most electronic fish finders, which also need special attention, are totally overlooked.

Ted Thibault, of Computrol, the makers of Bottom Line depth and fish finders, says high tech electronics require special care.

First, unplug the power cords and remove the electronic unit from the boat, says Thibault, adding, “It should be stored inside, away from the extreme winter cold. These products work just as good in January as they did in August but prolonged storage in cold is not recommended.”

Thibault says you should apply an anti-oxidant spray to terminal connections to reduce oxidation potential. And, he says, “this is a good time to inspect components, looking for cracks in the transducer or the cables.”

Thibault adds that people who put their boats away for the season should, for example, check a fish finder’s screen to see if it needs replacing or plan on sending the whole unit back to the factory or an authorized repair facility if there’s something that doesn’t seem to be functioning properly. That’s it.

Meanwhile, among the guys I hang around with, not one is winterizing a boat. The only thing we do is leave the outboard motor resting in a vertical position so any water that has collected can drain. You don’t want the motor in the up position and have water remnants freeze, because it could result in serious lower unit damage.

We keep fishing through some of the coldest winter weather. Only occasional ice stops us. However, from here on, I will remove the depth finder and bring it into the house when real cold spells are forecast.

Maryland muzzleloader hunt — Some 60,000 muzzleloader-using deer hunters will return to the woods and fields in Maryland on Saturday as a two-week segment of the blackpowder deer hunting season begins and continues through Jan.1.

Check your hunting license booklet for bag limits and buck or doe requirements.

Last season the top 10 late muzzleloader deer counties were Frederick, with 873 kills, Washington (811), Garrett (668), Allegany (650), Baltimore (586), Montgomery (403), Carroll (361), Kent (309), Harford (292) and Charles (291).

Nova Scotia says no to turkeys — Despite public support for the introduction of wild turkeys and a lack of evidence that they would harm crops, livestock, plants or other wildlife species, the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture has rejected efforts to introduce the game bird into the province.

Biologists for the National Wild Turkey Federation/Canada (NWTF) have worked with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources for four years to gain clearance for the introduction of wild turkeys to the province.

The International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies coordinated an independent scientific review of the NWTF’s release proposal and a risk assessment about birds bringing disease into a new area. Barry Sabean, the province’s director of wildlife, agrees that wild turkeys would pose little disease threat. But he said a low risk was still too much for agricultural groups concerned about avian flu and mad cow disease.

The NWTF’s biologist, Joel Pederson is dumbfounded by all this. “It’s obvious that unfounded concerns in the agricultural community played a stronger role in this decision than did sound scientific evidence,” he said. “State and provincial wildlife departments have moved more than 185,000 wild turkeys throughout North America over the past 50 years. There has never been any scientific or anecdotal evidence to suggest that these turkeys transferred diseases to other wild or domestic animals or had any negative impact on plant or wildlife species already present.”


Trout Unlimited chapter meeting — Jan.6, 7:30p.m., at Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, 400 Center St. Information: nvatu.org.

Chesapeake fishing series — Starts Jan.10, 7:30 until 9:30p.m.; also Jan.24 and 31; Feb.7, 14 and 28, and again March7 and 14, at Maplewood-Alta Vista Recreation Center, Bethesda. $85 ($95 for non-Montgomery County residents). To register, call 240/777-6870 or go to mcrd.net.

Fly Fishing Show — Jan.15-16, 9a.m.-5p.m., at Reckord Armory, University of Maryland, College Park. Information: flyfishingshow.com or 800/420-7582.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]



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