After running a Skeeter and a Triton for years, I switched to a Bass Cat Cougar this year. With the change in brands, I also made some other changes to the equipment on my boat. When it came to choosing the Bass Cat, I believe the quality of their boats is second to none and the fishability of them will help me take my game to another level. I went with the Cougar because of the deck layout and its ability to handle all sorts of weather conditions.
This year, I will be running RELiON lithium batteries in my boat. This will be my first year running lithiums, but I’m excited to be cutting the extra weight out of my boat while increasing my battery life on the water. The long days of practice during the summer push the life of your batteries to the max and I’ll now not have to worry about draining them while I cover lots of water. For my trolling motor, I’ll be using three RELiON RB100 batteries and one RB100-HP for my cranking battery and all my electronics. Under my RELiON batteries are MegaWare BatteryGuards, which are used to protect your batteries from the vibration and slamming that happens during the year on the water. This added protection is a super easy way to prolong the life of your batteries. Another piece of technology that’s quickly becoming a must-have is the Power-Pole CHARGE – this charging system will charge you batteries throughout the day when your big motor is running. It also doubles as a jump starter if you really need it late in the day after running pumps and graphs all day long.
This season, I’m running four Lowrance HDS-12 LIVE graphs again just as I have for the past five years. I’m a huge fan of having dual screens at both the console and bow, which allows me to run mapping and multiple different sonar views at once. I’m extra excited to have ActiveTarget on my boat this year. The forward-facing sonar is going to play a big role in helping me catch suspended fish and knowing what kind of structure is in front of me before getting on top of fish and spooking them. All my graphs will be on Bass Boat Technologies mounts with the super strong aluminum “Warrior Series” Live Gimbal Brackets. I’ve been running BBT mounts for the past few years and I can tell you firsthand they’ll hold up to ANYTHING! There have been many bumpy rides over the years, whether it was down at Sam Rayburn or up on one of the Great Lakes where I have put them through some of the harshest conditions around.
At the console, I’ll also have an Aqua-Vu HD7I mounted off to the side. I’ve been using an Aqua-Vu since the Lake Erie event last year and quickly learned how valuable it was to determine the difference between schools of smallmouth, drum and walleye. This year, I’m really looking forward to using it down south to find fish under docks, in brushpiles and the like.
I’m going to be running the Lowrance Ghost trolling motor for my second year. I use the 47-inch shaft, which is a great all-around length when traveling throughout the country and fishing in many different types of water. If you are up north or on a lake that gets super windy you might want to consider the new 52-inch shaft for a little extra bite in the waves.
My boat will be powered once again by a 250-horsepower Mercury on a T-H Marine ATLAS Hydraulic Jack Plate. This motor is a mix of beauty, power and efficiency, year in and year out. When you fire it up it lets out a powerful growl and pushes your boat along with an amazing hole shot and top-end speed. Having the hydraulic jack plate allows you to fine-tune how your boat and motor are running in normal conditions. In shallow water situations, it lets you pick the motor all the way up to get on plane and then trim back down when you are running. To stop my boat in shallow water I will be using two 8-foot Power-Pole Blades. I’ve run both brands of shallow-water anchors over the years, but Power-Poles were the original and hold you in places in all conditions. Plus, the ability to add Drift Paddles when you are up north is something I like.
A couple of other things I like to put on my boat are two MegaWare FlexSteps on each side of the trailer near the front deck. Last year, I put one on and was truly amazed how often I was using it to get into my center compartment or just reach a bait in the middle of my boat without having to jump up and crush my ribs. To protect the bottom of my boat when beaching it on the bank or ramp I use a MegaWare KeelGuard. This is very helpful for when you are getting ready to load your boat or getting ready for weigh-in and need to pull up on shore.
To wrap up this blog and my boat, the final thing I did was take it to VFX Wraps for the same Landis Block and Nyce Crete wrap that I’ve run my entire career on tour.