Clean and Dry

Just what does it mean

The heading should say it all for you but what does that really mean? There are as many interpretations of that phrase as there are colors of Robo Worms. I went through the Casitas anal probe the week of the WON Bass tournament and did I get a lesson in clean and dry! Some people will tell you that I am fairly fanatical about my boat and I am but I have to tell you I was concerned. I would not have bet on my chances on passing their inspection. I think bass boats are a thing of beauty and I clean my boat every time I get out of the water plus I have it detailed every 6 to 8 weeks. My boat stays indoors and covered when I am not using it.

Again when I watched Ranger Aaron Wall at Lake Casitas going through my boat I felt he was doing an appraisal for a buyer. He went through every locker, opened every door and looked in my glove box?!&@#

As violated as I felt it may not have been as much as my boat when Ranger Wall stuck his finger up my boats….uh …..drain plug hole. All my boat could say all day was “I’m so embarrassed”

How can the inspection deny access to anyone that is “clean and dry” where they are supposed to be………….in the wet areas of the boat? It makes no sense to me to bust someone for having leaves in a dry storage locker. How about some jig skirt material or plastic worm parts they don’t carry Quagga’s do they?

With that said the intent of “clean and dry” is to make sure you are not transporting the Quagga Mussel. What does it take to transport the little pain of a shell fish? WATER, yes you need water for the little critters to survive for any length of time at all. The intent of an inspection is to check the areas of your boat that would have the ability to drain water into the lake. Hence livewells and bilges, the built in cooler drains into the bilge and is intended to be wet and the trailer and bunks.

Part of the problem with Bass boats is the livewells were not built to drain completely dry. Even after you have drained your livewells there is still some water in the pipes. Driving around will slouch that water around and back up through the drain and now you have water in your livewells again.

I went through the inspection with Ranger Wall and to this day still feel a little used. So I’m going to detail exactly what I did to make it past from what I hear the toughest inspection process out there.

First when I pull out of the lake I open my livewells then I try to find an incline in the parking lot so the back of the boat is sloped downwards to get the maximum drainage, no big deal if the parking lot is flat. I pull the drain plug and lower the motor to drain it as well. I wipe down my boat using either Tom Phillip’s “Pink Stuff” Sieg Taylor’s “No Sweat Mist” both are excellent products and do a great job. I then get in the boat and pick up all the baits I’ve thrown on the deck during the day especially the parts and pieces of jig skirts and plastic worm parts.

Once I’m done with that I unscrew the livewell screens and clean them and wipe out the livewells. I look for scales, crawdad parts and sand or pebbles or any debris that might be in there. Once I’m satisfied that the livewells are “clean and dry” I wrap the screens up in a “dry” towel and set them in the livewell. I also throw in an extra towel and leave them there. Next time you show up for inspection when the Ranger looks in your livewell you have lead them to believe you’re livewells are dry just because the first thing they see is a towel (sort of a little head game).

Once I tie my boat down to the trailer I make it one more time around the boat checking the trailer for vegetation. Do not leave the lake with vegetation on the trailer……period! Pull it off and throw it away. Now that I’ satisfied that I’m good to leave the lake the last thing I do (unless it’s raining) is leave the livewell lids open. As I’m driving home the wind will help dry out anything that I might have missed.

Now you are ready for the next inspection right? Almost. You need to stop before you get to the lake next time you go because if you remember our livewells are not built to drain completely dry so there could be some water in your pipes. A good friend of mine was quarantined from Casitas for 28 days because of that very reason. He spent a lot of time making sure his boat was ready for inspection but did not stop to double check just before he got to the lake; a very irritating lesson that he passed along to us so we do not make the same mistake. Now you are ready for inspection and this should hold up no matter what lake you go to.

If it looks like it’s going to rain hopefully you have a travel cover. Cover your boat, I don’t like using a travel cover but sometimes you just need to. After all that maybe now you can go fishing. With any luck the bite will be on and you will have a great day on the water. I know that if I am on the water the rest doesn’t matter, I’m fishing.

If you have any questions regarding the steps you need to take please contact me. Thanks to several people for the trouble they have gone through to help refine this process. I will be writing about different products you can use to help sterilize your boat and kill the Quagga adult and veliger (larvae) in case you do go to a lake that is infected like most of the San Diego lakes and the Colorado River lakes.

Most of all if you want to go fishing this is the way it’s going to be in the very near future at most of the lakes, at least for a while anyway. We need to get used to it, accept it and move on. We need to be the first line of defense against the mussel for the water district not fight against them.