Sport Fishing Boat Tips for May 2014

Accessories, projects and advice from the pros for keeping your boat in top shape.


Few fish-boat accessories are more useful than flush-mount, gunwale-top rod holders. Yet there’s more than meets the eye when installing these. Here are six tips. 1. Position Carefully: Gunwale-top rod holders are often installed in pairs, with one on each side. Make sure the surface-plate angle — be it straight back or outward — is replicated for each pair. Some rod holders come with ­templates to mark the position of the surface plate. 2. Cut an Angled Hole: The rod tube might be angled anywhere from 15 to 30 degrees. To cut a hole at the same angle, make a jig with a 1-inch scrap of wood wide enough to clamp over the gunwale. This will guide the hole saw. For more, see 3. Seal Exposed Wood: Once you’ve made the cut, use fiberglass finishing resin to seal any exposed wood under the gunwale top to help prevent rot and delamination. 4. Through-Bolt the Holder: Some rod holders use a large nut on a threaded tube to secure the holder from below, but most have three mounting holes you need to drill at 90 ­degrees to the gunwale top. Use a backing plate and through-bolt the surface plate with ­stainless-steel bolts, ­locknuts and ­washers ­underneath. 5. Bed the Surface Plate: Use a marine-grade sealant such as 3M 4200 to bed the surface, and mounting holes to prevent water from ­seeping underneath, ­generating crevice corrosion. Use a clean cloth to wipe away excess sealant. 6. Install Drains: If the rod holders allow water inside an enclosed gunwale, you might need to install rod-holder drains. For more information, check out rod-holder-drains. — Jim Hendricks Jim Hendricks


When installing antennas or transducers, it’s often necessary to pass the cable through a bulkhead or transom. Yet doing so without letting water leak into a console, cabin or bilge compartment can be tricky. The first rule is to never install a ­pass-through below the water line. One way to plug the pass-through is to seal up the hole with a generous application of marine sealant, and install a stainless-steel or plastic “clam-shell” vent fitting over it — for aesthetic reasons and to shield the hole from direct spray. You can also use a deck fitting. The chrome-plated-brass ­coax-cable deck fittings from West Marine are available in three sizes, and mount on the bulkhead over the hole. Pass the cable through the main fitting, install the rubber washer over the cable, and then pass the cable through the nut. You then tighten the nut over the ­fitting to make it waterproof. — Jim Hendricks Jim Hendricks
blue seas_cable_clam_cutaway copy.jpg


Blue Sea Systems offers its ­CableClam Waterproof Through-Deck Fittings. Available in three sizes, the nylon fitting allows you to drill the appropriate-size hole in the rubber compression washer to match the cable size. — Jim Hendricks
_mg_0602 copy.jpg


Your boat’s plastic windshields and ­enclosures will stay crystal clear for years if you follow these guidelines: • Spray the windshield or panels with lots of fresh water to loosen salt crystals or grit. • Avoid harsh cleaners or chemicals such as Windex, Rain-X or vinegar, which strip away plasticizers. • Use mild liquid soap such as liquid Joy (­nonfragrant) with lots of fresh water to gently wash windshields and panels. Rinse thoroughly. • Apply a cleaner/polish made especially for clear vinyl, polycarbonate or acrylic such as ­Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Detailer from Meguiar’s. • Use a microfiber towel to clean or polish your acrylic windshield or clear enclosure. — Jim Hendricks Jim Hendricks