With spring right around the corner and much nicer weather to look forward to, the excitement of getting back on the water in a Sportsman Boat is on the mind of many. This time of year those in the boating industry are busy with boat shows showing all the latest innovations and improvements for new year models.
Fishermen are trying to catch up on "honey do's" and the wife is just patiently waiting for completion just to inform big daddy that a fishing trip sounds awesome! For me, it's time to store the hunting gear, throw the boots in the closet, and put my favorite flip flops where I can slip them on and hit the water. After a short break from the tournament trail, I am ready to get back to fishing every week in my Sportsman Tournament 234 Bay Boat.
One thing I liked to do at home when the temperatures were bitter cold and the wind was howling is browse fishing forums and groups talking about almost anything that has to do with boating and fishing. One of the great debates was what batteries to use for trolling motors. A new Sportsman Boat owner posted the question online and it got me thinking. Trolling batteries, a subject I have a ton of experience with, peaked my interest. With the question what's the best? I felt compelled to weigh in on my opinion.
When I set up accessories on my Sportsman 234 I wanted the best. Knowing I would be putting in countless hours behind my Minn-Kota trolling motor, I wanted batteries that would hold up to the challenge. The choice was easy as I put a call in to Lithium Pros. The end result after talking to them was a 36 volt battery that would single handedly replace three lead core 12 volt batteries. Amazed and a bit skeptical I installed the 26 lbs. battery. Comparing the 12 volt lead battery which weights around seventy pounds give or take, this new battery feels as light as a first grader's lunch box. I knew that Lithium batteries were making flash lights and drills last longer but this seemed unreal. With great anticipation off I go on my first fishing trip. The result was amazing after eight hours trolling across countless creeks and mud bars the only thing on my boat that was low on power was me. I pushed this battery as hard as I could, trolling on high in strong currents and it just kept rollin'.
As a Tournament angler, I am always trying to find an advantage. The fact that I have now cut over two hundred pounds off the weight of my boat means less fuel consumption, faster speeds and less draft, not to mention the extra room that two batteries would have taken up. These batteries are more expensive than the three conventional batteries and that seemed to be a issue for some boat owners. I went as far as to go compare and to be honest the gap in price for "the best" battery is not that far apart, without factoring in the great benefits mentioned. As I write this I can almost hear the guy saying "I can get a 12 volt battery for $150!" And while that may be true but we're not trying to just get by, let's compare apples to apples. And to that I say, I can burn those batteries down in three hours on the tournament trail. Let's face it, there are many variables and choices when it come to trolling batteries and that is what makes it a hot topic.
I don't have a crystal ball nor can I predict anything that will happen in the future for a fact. I think with the overwhelming benefits of a lithium battery will become a standard when it comes to power in boats. Perhaps if it was included in the boat package for those who are looking for the ultimate angler rigging, it would be a more accepted expense. Keep in mind what the cost of Power Poles and a Minn-Kota trolling motor are, both of which are useless without a good battery system.
In conclusion, considering your battery selection closely on your Sportsman to obtain the desired result out of your expensive anchoring and trolling equipment.
Thank you all for reading my blog. Be safe out there, and until next time see you on the water.
Tony "Redfish" Gaskin