Not unlike any equipment malfunction on the water, it seemingly could not have occurred at a worse time. The fishing pressure had dwindled to one or two other persistent groups and small groups of gulls were getting more and more active under overcast skies.

For probably the fifteenth time that morning I pulled the release cord on the troll motor, but nothing happened. I have broken any number of cords over the years and carry extras on board, but this time it was obviously different. The latch released, but the motor was still hung up in the down position.

Long story short…….. it quickly became a long story. Fortunately, the shaft could be raised high enough for the foot to clear the water so that we could continue fishing, but we were limited to running the lake at a much slower pace. Upon returning to the dock where we could attack the problem with several sets of eyes, ideas and extra tools, we were still unable to solve the problem.

As you would expect, it was all but impossible to get the boat back on the trailer as the foot of the motor would not clear the winch roller. With clients lined up for the next several days, Gene Locke and Johnny Cormier rode to the rescue.

Johnny discovered a broken pin wedged in the easy lift mechanism and we were able to fold it up and get the unit off the boat. Gene loaned me his boat and carried my troll motor over to R1-Bass in Beaumont in the hope that Ray Westman could somehow squeeze in a rush repair job.

Not surprisingly, the problem was not an easy fix, but Mr. Westman went the extra mile and I was back in my boat by the following afternoon. I feel certain that he would tell you that I only bring him rush jobs and that would be an accurate assertion.

I cannot imagine anyone taking a troll motor that needs repairing anywhere else. The fact that I have never heard him start a diagnosis off with, “Well…it might be a…?” says a great deal about his level of expertise. Seldom if ever does he not have a part in stock and most importantly, the troll motor always works when you get it back!

I know of no other saltwater venue where the troll motor is more important to fishing success than here on Sabine. Many of the guides on the lower coast don’t even have a troll motor as they spend far more time wade fishing than actually fishing out of the boat. There is no end to the need for a troll motor for Sabine and Calcasieu anglers as they patrol shorelines, quietly maneuver around schools of surface feeding trout and hold their ground in a stiff tide change.

A significant benefit in dealing with R1-Bass is heeding the tips that Westman freely passes on that can minimize future problems. For years I wore out circuit boards much too quickly before he suggested that I install a simple floor mounted stomp switch and leave the variable on-off switch alone.

“You are turning it on and off more times in a week than most folks do in a lifetime and a stomp switch is safer as well. Should you fall out of the boat, the motor will cut off and the boat won’t leave you treading water.”I haven’t fallen over board to date, but I also have not had to replace a single circuit board since heeding his advice.

The following tips may well eliminate troll motor problems on your next trip and are easy fixes. Check your pull rope for frays around the rollers. In most cases you can simply cut off the frayed portion and re-tie the cord. Carry a spare along just in case!

Tighten all screws, especially those holding the head in place and check for electrolysis that freezes moving parts and leads to poor connections at battery terminals. Check the side of the foot of your motor that lies against the motor when locked down for wear. A little primer and paint will save you a lot of money.

If your motor is connected to the battery through a plug in receptacle, check the connection for a tight fit and clean posts. Most fishermen prefer wiring directly to the batteries through a reset breaker.

Last, but not least, remove your prop and check for hidden monofilament line wrapped around the propeller shaft. Any corrosion or rust can be cleaned up at that time. Badly nicked props should be replaced as they not only move less water, but can cause vibration as well.

Simply cleaning up your troll motor and lubricating moving parts is an excellent start to avoiding unwanted problems on the water. For parts or service, call R1-Bass today at 409-898-2277. With the best fishing of the year right around the corner, this is no time to get caught waiting in line for repairs!