Protect that investment in your boat

By: George deVilbiss
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It doesn’t much matter if your boat is made from aluminum or fiberglass and it doesn’t matter how big it is, combine the cost of that boat with the motor and the trailer it sits on and you’ve got a major investment.


Unless you leave your boat stored away and shrink-wrapped for protection, it will show the effects of weather and water. Direct sunshine alone is a killer on painted boat surfaces and gel coats.


Anyone who spends any time on the water has seen very expensive boats that are becoming badly oxidized, the bright luster having given way to a heavy film of dullness. Combine that with dirty water, and trip after trip after trip, the boat very quickly begins to show the effects.


And it’s just not pretty.


Take some pride in that boat. Put some work in it. You can make and keep even an older boat looking as if it just came off the showroom floor.


Your fingers, unfortunately, are simply not sensitive enough to feel the embedded contamination. Rub your fingers over the surface and it will probably feel nice and smooth. In reality, there’s embedded contaminants in that paint, in the gel coat, that downright ruins the bright color.


Waxing? If you wax your boat, then your heart is in the right place, but that is not going to take care of the problem. All you’re going to do is put wax over the contaminants and seal the stuff in.


If you were to look at your paint-gel coat under something like a microscope, you’d see nothing but hills and valleys and little pits of holes. And, it’s those pits and holes that literally fill up with contaminants. Washing the boat down with soap and water only removes some of it.


What needs to be done is to thoroughly clean all exposed surfaces of a painted or gel-coat surface with a boat cleaner. It gets down and cleans out all those valleys and pits, the pores.


The same wax you happily put on your painted vehicle is not necessarily the best wax for your gel-coated boat. Most waxes formulated for painted vehicles are usually too abrasive for the gel-coat finish of a boat and will eventually ruin the finish by creating scratches on top of scratches.


While the economy has hit the boating industry pretty heavily with numerous shops having shuttered their doors for good, there are still enough shops around and they will carry the products best suited for the special needs a boat will require to be properly maintained.


Personally, I use a product called Yacht Brite by Shurhold and I use two different products to keep my 19-foot North River looking like new. While it may be an aluminum boat, some of it is bare aluminum and some of it is painted. Both surfaces need to be cleaned and polished.


First, I’ll use Serious Shine, a cleaner that is good for vinyl, fiberglass, metal, plastic, glass and rubber, that removes all those very small contaminants from the pores that you just can’t feel. It’s an easy to use spray on that afterwards provides a high gloss that will protect and repel water.


Serious Shine is followed up with Pro Polish, a sealant and polish that protects your boat’s finish from the harsh effects of the sun and the environment and provides a high gloss finish.


While I use both products on my aluminum boat, the stuff is formulated to work equally well on fiberglass boats, too.


It’s hard to convince people to go boating this time of year with the rain and cold weather. But it is an absolute prime time to stay busy making that boat look like it just came off the showroom floor. Pick up the right materials and do it right.



Before round after round of storms moved in, snow levels in the high country and rainfall in the valley were seriously below normal. Today, that’s been nicely changed to over 100 percent of normal. What must be remembered, however, is the totals include the big, three-day storm in October that dropped copious amounts of rain, none of which was captured.


All these rains aren’t going to last forever and once it clears, fishing will bust loose everywhere.


Folsom Lake: It was so low. The water was clear. While the lake is rising nicely and the speed limit restriction should be soon lifted, the lake will be debris covered due to the inflows that will make for a disaster waiting to happen. Water won’t be clear again for quite some time now. So, if you hit the lake anytime soon, keep the speed down and your eyes well peeled for debris. Bass will be following the rising shoreline for fresh foodstuffs but will generally hang out around the rocks, ledges and drop offs. Water will be cold so you’ll still need to work them slow, slow, slow.


Bay Areas: All the rains have caused rivers to rise, which means a lot of fresh water is hitting the saltier waters of the bay. The fresh water pushes out much of the salt water and the unwanted critters follow the salt – crabs, kingfish, etc. That leaves stripers and sturgeon, and the fishing. Suisun Bay is seeing some downright great action for sturgeon with an occasional striper biting in all the usual haunts: Big Cutt, Montezuma Slough, Ozol, the Mothball Fleet. All the shrimps, eel and salmon roe are all working.

A little further drive, but San Pablo Bay is also kicking out sturgeon. I always do well launching at Loch Lomond and going around the point, anchoring between McNear Pier and Rat Rock off China Camp. The whole Pumphouse flats region is a good bet for dropping anchor.

Just watch the tide books. The outgoing tide will always be the better tide for sturgeon fishing.

Next week: how to fish for sturgeon.


Lake Pardee: Haven’t heard that lake’s name come up for a while. That’s because the lake hasn’t been open to any fishing. But, mark your calendars.  That changes soon.  The gates will open Thursday, Feb. 4  for those wanting to camp for the night to get an early start when fishing will commence on Friday morning., the 5th. The lake is always heavily planted, especially for the opener with catchables by the DFG and some much bigger trout by private hatcheries. Both boat and shore action is good.


If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.