Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back to School

First fish in the boat!
Yep, back to school is what I describe as the process to unlearn what is no longer valid, relearn a new system of fishing, and try to figure out what all this connectivity means between the satellites, my depth finders, GPS, trolling motor, and my entertainment center.  A smart man looks around and figures out who is best to at least help you to move forward and that guy is Bill Lundeen. I've talked about Bill many times as he's pretty sharp with the Lowrance stuff and had expressed an interest to see how the new Motorguide i5 works when networked into the HDS units.  We agreed that Sunday afternoon would be a great time for me to drive up, we'd head out of Cove to try our hand at some fishing and more importantly play around with the new electronics.  We were on the water by 2:00 and heading for a gravel hump a couple miles out.  The first thing we tried pretty simple, mark a fish then tap that mark on the screen which then pulls up a cursor on the GPS side. Pushing the command "go to the cursor" and voila, it circled back to that point.  The next thing we did was to simply set a heading, slowed the speed down to 0.7 MPH and let the motor control everything while we dragged some spinners and nightcrawlers.  We traveled in a ridiculously straight path, impressive. Once we were at the end of where we wanted to go our next experiment was to create a new route that we wanted the trolling motor to follow.  Bill created a waypoint 200 yards to the north of our current location then another one 25 yards to the east of where we were.  Naming the route Test1, we then told the motor via the HDS unit to go to the start of the route, follow the route, then stop at the end of the route. Immediately the motor headed directly north at 0.7 MPH until it reached the first waypoint we entered then did a precise hair pin turn to the right and headed back to the second waypoint which was the end of the route.  The boat traveled as though it was on rails then promptly stopped at the end.  It was amazing and the possibilities are endless.  I suspect it's simply going to take more practice to be good at it.  We did fish a couple of spots both for walleye and smallmouth bass with little to show.  Seeing the bass on the reefs was nice but they appeared not interested in what we had to offer.  I finally felt a hit yet I knew it wasn't too big and as predicted, a small rock bass.  Oh well, regardless it's still my first fish in the boat so what the heck!  Beyond that we really didn't do anything else and coupled with the fact that it was looking like rain, we headed back to the landing just in time to get the boat on the trailer before it poured.

Loon near the boat.
So, there are a few things that I need to address regarding the boat. First, my Sonic Hub disconnects from the system and my radio goes dead.  The only way to make it work was to restart the depthfinder, which is a pain if you need to do it after each time you start the engine. The second issue is the propeller that came with the boat.  Although the hole shot is amazing and the boat gets up on plane very fast, I can only get about 5000 RPM's out of the motor.  The rated full throttle range for the ideal horsepower is 5600 - 6000 RPM's.  At 5000 RPMs it indicates that the propeller has too much pitch and is overloading the engine.  I have talked to my dealer as the prop that came with the boat is a RX4 15 x 22P (4 bladed, 15" diameter x 22 inch pitch) and it looks like the same prop in a 20 inch pitch would be much better.  I am working on both issues and believe I have the first one solved by reconnecting the power cords while the second issue with the prop needs a little more patience but the dealer is working on it.  The third issue is that the boat is almost impossible to winch tight to the front roller when loading.  It is frustrating because on Sunday we had to back it into the launch to tighten it up.  It finally dawned on me that I had the same problems 14 years ago when I bought my first Ranger and was told to spray the trailer bunks with silicon to make it glide easier.  I'll be getting some spray and the next time I go fishing, before I load the bunks will get a good dose of it as I remember that it solved the problem.  I remember being warned that it is important to keep the winch on the boat until it's in the water to make sure it doesn't slide off the trailer at the wrong time. Beyond this it's just more time on the water, dang it!  Bill always complains that he attracts loons to the boat which I was curious if he meant me as well in that statement.  While experimenting with the trolling motor we had a really nice loon following us, maybe looking for an easy meal.  I took a picture with new Samsung S6 Edge, I'm pretty impressed how clear and detailed the picture is.  It's really cool seeing these birds "fly" under the water as it hung around the boat for a long time.

I am still have a lot too learn and with good reports coming out of Mille Lacs it is a great possibility we will be fishing on Saturday.  We have a upcoming trip to Lake Oahe in South Dakota in July and it would be nice to have most of these issues resolved before then.  My friend Hondro wants to meet the weekend of July 4th and there is already planning for our late September Lac Seul trip.  I told those guys that if they wanted me to bring the boat to Lac Seul they would have to wear surgical booties over their shoes before they get in my boat.  Last year I made them wipe their shoes on a rug at the dock and no feet on the gunnels as it is really sandy there.  Although I probably won't require booties it's really good to get the guys thinking early about my passion to keep the boat looking new!
I got my Sirius Radio working, I am not too impressed with how slow the weather portion of it is, and the bluetooth connection is working which allows content from my cell phone to be ran through the radio.


Jeff King said...

man I'll bet that's fun with the new Ranger....ya know about those rpm's, there's always that ' you don't have to run it at full throttle' deal. In fact until you get a good load in the boat you might find you want that rpm...just sayin.

Dave Anderson said...


I sent you an e-mail.