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Winter Outboard Motor Tip

There’s many areas of the country that don’t have the luxury of fishing in the winter but many anglers are able to fish all year. If youre fortunate enough to be able to fish in the colder months there’s some adjustments to make for winter catfishing and protecting your catfish boat.

Fall and winter are my favorites seasons for catfishing. I’d rather fish in the colder months than any other time of year. This is partially because of how great the fishing is but there’s a variety of other reasons as well (like the fact that there’s much less boat traffic on the lakes and reservoirs).

I’ve noticed over the past few years that more and more anglers are venturing out in the winter and many of them aren’t prepared for fishing in cold water.

Over the last few weeks I’ve encountered half a dozen anglers at the boat ramps early in the morning that are dealing with an outboard motor problem that can be easily avoided (and help protect your outboard from permanent damage as well).

hen temperatures dip down to freezing (even if it’s just at night) you’ll save yourself a whole lot of hassle and potentially a big repair bill if you’ll follow these simple steps


Plus, you’ll make sure you avoid ruining what could be an epic winter catfish fishing trip.

Here’s What Happens

Many anglers follow this routine.

Pull boat onto the trailer at the boat ramp

Trim the motor up

Drive to a staging area

Stow you’re catfishing gear

Pull the drain plug and allow water to drain

Strap the back of the boat to the trailer

Insert transom saver to secure the motor to the trailer

Drive off and go

While this is a perfectly good routine for much of the year you need to take an extra step and pay a little more attention to your outboard motor if there’s a chance of freezing weather.

When you pull the boat on the trailer and trim the motor up water stays in the motor. If you leave it there and don’t drain it you’re asking for trouble.

When you go to launch you’re boat that next freezing morning that water you left in the outboard will be frozen preventing water from pumping correctly to cool your outboard motor. The engine alarm will go off and you’ll be stuck waiting for the ice to thaw that’s inside the motor. This can not only cause a significant delay in the start of your fishing trip but I’ve also heard stories of very expensive outboard motor repairs from allowing water to freeze inside the motor.

Winter Outboard Freeze Protection

Here’s what to do to keep this from happening when you get to the staging area.

Trim motor all the way down and let sit for a few seconds (you’ll see water draining from the motor).

When the draining slows trim the motor all the way up again

Trim the motor all the way down again and drain any remaining water.

Stow motor as usual

These simple steps will keep water from freezing inside your outboard motor and causing any delays in fishing or potential damage

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