Power for your boat

Well, I think it’s safe to say the 2011 ice-fishing season finally has came to an end here in Sunset Country.
Warm weather over the past week finally has lifted winter’s grip on us. The ice looks like it should be out of the big lakes in the area–Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake—by around May 10.
True, if we get plenty of wind and sun between now and then, perhaps “ice-out” will arrive a few days sooner. But that’s still about a month later than last year.
Since we have a week or two before we can get boats in the water, it’s time to make sure everything on them is ready for another season.
For anglers, the batteries they put in their boats play an important role in the success they have on the water. Having the power to run electronics, trolling motors, and reliably start the motor all the time is important.
For the past two years, I’ve been using Optima D31 batteries in my Lund and they have performed admirably.
Although they cost more than the average battery, Optima batteries have a much longer lifespan so anglers can count on getting three or four years of hard use out of them.
The beauty of them is that they are leak-proof, so they can’t spill, and they are totally maintenance-free. Just make sure you charge them up at the end of the season and they will be ready when you need them in the spring.
The other cool thing about the blue-top D31 Optima batteries is that they can be used for any application in your boat. I have four of these batteries in my rig—three to power my 36-volt trolling motor system and one for my cranking battery and electronics.
Makes things easy for us anglers that want reliability and ease of use.
In the past two years, I’ve never had dead batteries in my boat. And I push them hard on many days in my guiding, pre-fishing, and tournament activities.
I actually have two trolling motors on my boat—a Minn Kota Fortrex on the bow and a Vantage on the stern. On those days when the wind really blows hard, and I need to sit on a specific spot, I’m able to run both motors (my partner on one and I on one) to hold in any conditions.
At the International Falls Bass Championship last year, Scott Dingwall and I used both motors to hold on a small rock pile in the river’s strong current and netted the biggest catch of the event en route to winning the tournament.
Most batteries would not be able to run both motors in high speed at the same time.
Another cool new electronic item for anglers who spend a lot of time on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake comes from the Minnesota-based company, LakeMaster, which makes high-content lake maps that can be used in GPS units.
These maps offer much higher definition of the lake bottom than anything we have ever seen before—really mapping out how the structure is laid out in these lakes.
When you load one of these chips into your unit, you will see structural elements that you never knew were there. It’s really neat stuff.
LakeMaster is not totally finished mapping Lake of the Woods at this point, although they are continuing to update their data. Currently, this high-definition mapping is available across the entire southern section of the lake, up through the Big Narrows area, and Yellow Girl Bay (this includes Whitefish Bay).
Look for the northern section of the lake to be done in the next year or two.
On Rainy, nearly all of the lake is done except for the Redgut Bay area.
There are a pile of shoals and humps on Rainy Lake which are shown on the “Woods/Rainy” card that are not shown on any other mapping. The treacherous Rainy River also is mapped out extremely well for anglers who spend a lot of time fishing it.
Upgrading your equipment to the highest-quality products available will increase your fishing time when you hit the water, and at the end of the day you will catch more fish.
Give these products a try—you’ll be glad you did!

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