Water temperatures are warming, bait is returning in droves and the stripers won't be far behind. As Old Man Winter makes his exit, the onset of spring triggers heart palpitations among even the most casual coastal angler, let alone die-hard sharpies. But it's also the time that tests the patience of fishermen the most. Launch the boat without first doing the necessary checks and service, and the season can be over before it ever begins.
"Preventive maintenance will save money in the long run," says Ed Gensinger, who owns Riverfront Marina in Brick, New Jersey. "If you don't paint the boat's outdrives in the spring before you put it back in the water, by July-when the season is in full swing-you'll be shut down because of barnacles. You either pay now or pay later. The salt water environment is extremely harsh, so the adage 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' certainly applies."