Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Disable a Boat in 30 Seconds or Less

I have horrible luck. Mainly I have horrible luck at the worst possible time , but then sometimes the sun shines on me and I have a stroke of good luck that makes up for it all.

First , the horrible luck. I was out last Friday with fellow blogger and excellent fisherman Jody White. Jody is the current president of the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team , so needless to say I was stoked to have him on the boat. We went out right in the middle of a cold front , caught bait and soon enough I had a fish in the boat.

A small one , but a fish just the same.
It would be the only catch of the species we were after on that fateful day. We did manage 2 White Bass , but that's not what we wanted. The cold front was steadily driving the fish deeper , so after a short discussion we decided to move further downstream to a spot I know that should have been holding fish.  I also wanted to show Jody a few hotspots for bass. It never happened.

I started my cold natured boat , let her warm up and eased her into gear. As we got underway , I pushed the throttle forward intent on speeding up. As I neared the end of the arc on the shift lever/throttle control , I was sickened to hear a crunching , grinding sound as all tension on the lever went slack. My boat was dead in the water. Wouldn't go into gear , wouldn't idle. I was sure I was looking at a major problem and a 2 hour drive to secure the necessary parts. Jody took it like a champ , only saying " Sounds like a trolling motor issue " as we contemplated what to do.

We ended up trolling back up to the launch with the electric motor , thankful for a strong battery and trying to fish as we headed back. No takers , but all things considered we were lucky it only took us an hour and a half to get back. It could have been far worse , especially if we had made it to the spot we were headed for. Boat problems suck.

Now for the good luck. As I mentioned above I was not looking forward to a 2 hour drive ( 1 hour each way ) to secure the parts  I needed to repair the boat. I started taking the control box apart and , much to my surprise , the guilty party that had left my 2000 pound boat stranded on the water was this little guy :

A 1/4 inch Machine Screw
Good luck at last! I had the EXACT SAME SCREW here at the house and had the whole works back together and working smoothly in about 15 minutes. It amazes me that such a small screw could cause so much trouble. It held the fast idle lever onto the main bushing that the throttle used as a leverage point to rev the motor up. So I guess if it breaks you're "screwed"?

Unfortunately for Jody , he had to sit out the next two days while I headed back out and did THIS  , followed by THIS. We'll get you on the fish next time!

Have a great week!


  1. At least it was an easy fix.

    Now you should get a kayak and -always- be stranded without a motor haha.

  2. There's one thing Ive learned about boats, they can BREAK your heart in a LOT less than 30 seconds, however, they are still a LOT of enjoyment :-)

  3. Alex , I've thought about it , but I'm still undecided.

    Captain Paul , I found out a long time ago that a boat is just a hole in the water to put money in. Wouldn't trade it for anything though , unless it was a bigger boat :)

  4. Note to self, make own arrangements if I go to NC ;-)

  5. Salty , that's probably a good idea :D

  6. Good luck or bad luck life is never dull!


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