Kevin Winkler

Born and raised in Todd County, Minn., Kevin Winkler was brought up living the life of a outdoorsman. He loves fishing and hunting and now runs a guide service. He offers fall combo fishing and hunting trips and does some photography on the side. He will talk fishing or hunting with anyone, anytime.

Public access etiquettes

Posted by: Kevin Winkler under Fishing, Equipment, Fishing Techniques Updated: August 6, 2009 - 11:23 AM
  For many people getting your boat in and out of the water is a snap. For others, things never seem to go very well. How many of you have ever sat in line at the ramp watch someone struggle at every attempt to just get their boat to the water. I've often wondered how they would ever get the boat back out of the water with so many troubles just getting it to the water. Things don't have to be so difficult. Sometimes just offering to help out might get you on the water a little quicker. Most days when it's my turn in line I can have my boat off the trailer and the truck parked in under 3 minuets, and 5 to load it and get it out of the way of others. I've spent more than my share of time watching people struggle to just get the boat backed down to the water only to watch them unload the truck into the boat. Many times holding up the rest of the line for more than 15 minuets at a wack.

 Some of the small steps I take at home before I even head to the lake make my launch time go so smooth. For starters, I have my cooler with bait in the boat. If I stop for bait and snacks, it gets loaded right away so I don't have to do it at the access. Things like jackets or camera gear that I might need to load get loaded in the parking area before I get in line for the ramp, and that is where I check to see that my plug is in place and my straps and/or tarp are removed. I know ahead of time that I don't have to get in someone else's way to do these things.

  Lets talk about backing up a trailer. Number one on the list is Mirrors! Think about it for a second, Semi truck drivers that have sleepers on their big rigs don't have to open their doors or drive with half of their body out the window to see where they need to get that 53 foot trailer backed down a tight alley to a loading dock. And they don't have the option of climbing half way in the back seat to see out a rear window. They do everything from the two side mirrors. You can ask anyone of them and they will tell you how good they were at backing up a trailer when they first started. They didn't learn how to do it over night, and they did not use the public boat ramp as a practice area either. Chances are they got most of their practice at home or in a vacant parking lot clear of all other traffic. Over steering is probably the biggest problem most of us have had when it comes to going backward with a trailer. Start out with one hand and grip the wheel and don't let go. If you have to go all the way around once when you started out strait in line with where you were headed, you've already started to over steer. Practice using your side mirrors at home without a trailer, and once you can back up without sticking your head out the window, or over the seat, add the trailer and start over. Keep one hand on the wheel and your next time out, you can spend more time on the water and less time on the ramp.

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