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Easy Does It
By John Kolinski
Editor's note: John Kolinski is the 2002 Professional Walleye Trail Angler of the Year, last year's Illinois River RCL winner and a 15-time championship qualifier on the PWT, RCL and Masters Walleye Circuit. His articles can be read in numerous Midwestern outdoor publications and at several web sites. Kolinski is sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Motors, Lowrance Electronics, Normark/Storm Lures, MinnKota, Lindy Legendary Tackle, Flambeau, Tempress Rod Holders, Off-Shore Planer Boards, Berkley Trilene, Optima Batteries and Panther Marine.

Imagine our angling ancestors fishing only where they could row a cumbersome, wooden boat. Imagine being limited to heavy braided line or trying to cast plugs for hours on end with a stiff, fiberglass fishing pole. Imagine the days before electric trolling motors when the only way to slow a river drift was to throw a couple of five-gallon pails over the side of the boat. Imagine our ice angling forefathers chipping holes in the ice with a heavy steel bar rather than a gas-powered auger and warming their hands over a coffee can of charcoal. Those were the days Many of us remember when employing a multiple system of batteries meant using multiple chargers to replenish them. We can recall the days when one rod served all our fishing needs. We hailed the arrival of Lowrance's "Green Box" flasher, but still relied on landmarks to triangulate the location of our favorite fishing spots. It's been said that invention is the product of necessity. Today, it's more a product of making our outings on the ice or water as convenient, comfortable and efficient as possible. Triton has given us rock-solid, roomy fiberglass boats that take us from spot to spot comfortably and quickly. Mercury's low-emission, fuel-efficient outboard motors help us protect the environment and give us the means to fish areas that are miles apart, and their four-stroke kickers purr like a sewing machine without gagging us on exhaust fumes. MinnKota gives us powerful electric motors that let us slip in and out of fishing areas without spooking our prey, and Optima Batteries give us the technology to power those motors for hours upon hours. Highly detailed sonar units like Lowrance's new LC109 tell us exactly what is beneath us, from fish to thermoclines and hard bottoms to soft bottoms. Lowrance also gives us the means to return to precise locations and discover new spots with global positioning units. Underwater cameras offer an even clearer view of the aquatic world.

the author holding a nice wallye caught on a crankbait Graphite rods and super lines make it seem like we can see the bottom through our hands when we fish, and Off-Shore planer boards allow us to cover water that previously would have meant multiple trolling passes. The reason most of us go fishing is to fish. We don't want to deal with half-charged batteries, rusty or dull hooks or tangled rods. We don't need the hassle of stumbling over a bulky tackle box or fiddling with the mount on the kicker motor trying to get it into fishing position. Here are a few more ways to make your fishing outings hassle-free and more enjoyable than ever: When I fish, I may hit 20 spots in a day, or more. If I'm trolling, that used to mean a lot of trips to the back of the boat to deal with the kicker motor. Sometimes, it meant getting blown completely off course while I set rods. No more. Panther Marine Products (www.marinetech.com) has integrated kicker control into the main control cockpit. First, Panther's Auxiliary Motor Lift lets an angler lower the kicker into fishing position with the push of a button. Second, the Electro Steer Remote Auxiliary Steering accessory allows the motor to be controlled from the cockpit rather than the back of the boat.

Now, I can make directional adjustments with the touch of a finger while setting lines, and troll from the comfort of the captain's chair in my Triton 219X. Anglers with older outboards not equipped with trim and tilt will also appreciate Panther's Integral Trim and Tilt systems. MinnKota (www.minnkotamotors.com) offers some options that are well worth the investment, too. The Maxxum Pro Bow-Mount is a lift-assistance feature that cuts the weight of lifting the motor in half. There are also power lift options available. Many new MinnKota models come with a universal sonar feature. The transducer is incorporated in the main body of the motor, and can be connected to virtually any type of sonar unit. For anglers who spend most of their time anchoring up on structure, the DeckHand electric anchor is a great tool. Quick Release brackets are another great invention that allow removal of the bow-mount in seconds for either security purposes or when heading out on especially rough water when you know it won't be needed. And one other MinnKota accessory I wouldn't do without is the MK106 On-Board Charger. Plug it in at night and rest assured that your batteries will be ready to go the following morning. It will handle up to four batteries and shuts off when the charge is complete. And it eliminates the need to take along multiple chargers that require multiple extension cords and can short out or blow fuses if it rains. All of us have wondered during a long day of fishing in extreme current or heavy wind how long our trolling motor batteries can hold out. While I know my Optima batteries will get me through any day, it's nice to know exactly how much charge they have remaining. Both Panther and MinnKota have accessories for that purpose. Panther has battery gauges that can be mounted in the dash while MinnKota has a monitor that can be flush-mounted anywhere in the boat. Tackle storage is another issue. Fortunately, there are systems available today like Flambeau Outdoors' Tuff Tainers (www.flambeauoutdoors.com) that promote better organization and convenient storage. You can also reduce the threat of rust-causing moisture in your tackle boxes by using Flambeau's Zerust Dividers which replace the standard plastic compartment inserts and help keep everything from jigs and crankbaits to plastics and terminal tackle dry and organized. Sometimes, it's the little things that make a difference. Tools like needle-nosed pliers, scissors, line snippers, hook sharpeners, fish counters and even line strippers are always good to have at hand. Consider an organizer that mounts along the inside of the boat to stash these tools, or a couple in various locations so you always have the right tool at hand. Technology has given us more conveniences for our angling outings than most of our forefathers ever dreamed possible. It's like air conditioning in our vehicles and four-wheel drive pickups. Give yourself a break. Once you've tried some of these accessories, it will be hard to imagine fishing without them.


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