Major Saltwater Boat Improvements

Innovative Gun Support from Stratus
January 1, 2020
On the Water with Intrepid’s New 407 Nomad SE 
January 8, 2020

The boat, a 22 Glacier Bay, in mid-refit.

After living with the same saltwater boat for 12 years, I figured it was about time for an upgrade. But I didn’t really want a new boat – I just wanted mine to be better. So over the next eight months I initiated a number of projects ranging from re-wiring the boat, to replacing all of its pumps and switches, to upgrading the electronics. And through it all, these three items proved to be major-league fishing enhancements.

The boat, a 22 Glacier Bay, in mid-refit.

  1. Tackle Stowage – For years, I’ve kept all my tackle housed in the compartment under the leaning post. There’s room for one large box holding bulk items (like leader spools, extra plastics, release clips, etcetera), three large standard-issue Plano boxes for lures and assorted tackle, and a fourth smaller box for hooks and swivels. But the boxes have to be stacked in twos, and everything inside the large box is a perpetual mess. Worse yet, I have to flip the seat-bottom up to access the compartment and it’s always seemed that someone was invariably leaning up against it every time I needed a swivel or a jig tail. Meanwhile, beneath the post there was a very large box for bulk stowage which held things like fighting belts, the fish billy, flying gaff heads, and the like. Naturally, everything in there was a perpetual mess, too. The solution was found in a Teak Isle tackle station. Made of polyboard and stainless, these things are rugged. More importantly, they have over 100 designs (each individual unit is made to order, but they have the patterns and dimensions all set) so it was easy to take measurements of the space under my post and find a unit that fit it perfectly. Now, I have two slide-out drawers, five Plano boxes (two are the double-deep type), and dedicated leader spool and knife holders. Everything is securely held in place, there’s no more mess, and I can carry more tackle than before – sweet.
  2. Autopilot – I had a basic but reliable Si-Tex autopilot put in as a matter of convenience, so long runs offshore would be a little less physically stressful. Little did I know, it would vastly improve the boat’s fishability. Why? Trolling with complete novices, or even alone, becomes a piece of cake. Now, I can press a button and set lines, reel up fish, or do whatever needs to be done. Added bonus: I’ve also found that steering by “jogging” the boat in five-degree increments via the buttons on the autopilot makes for nice smooth turns, that greatly reduces tangles in the trolling lines.
  3. Wiring, Switches, and Pumps – Okay, I’ll admit that giving the boat new guts doesn’t affect fishability as most of us think of it. But what I’ve found is that with new confidence in the boat, I’m more willing to make long runs and head for distant waters. When I first got the boat I didn’t hesitate to head dozens of miles offshore in search of pelagics, but as the years wore on and stuff started going wrong I toned down the adventures significantly. Now that I don’t have to worry so much about mechanical failures anymore, it’s time to point the bow for the horizon and go!

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