To slip or not to slip, that is the question.

Posted on January 4th, 2016 by CaptainJim

Most who ask why I don’t use a boat slip are past or present slip holders with pleasure boats that cruise area waters. Being a full time fishing guide on Lake Erie, my needs and areas of operation change as the seasons do.
So in summary, here are my top 10 reasons that I choose to trail my boat daily:
#10  Daily maintenance and tackle changes.  I might be guiding for bass one day and the next could be walleye, musky or even perch.  To carry all that tackle I’d run out of storage space.  At home, I’m able to switch it out each morning.  In the maintenance department, I’m able to fix a livewell pump, or pull a prop to get at line that wrapped around it, saving costly repairs in the future.  There is always something that needs attention or tightening that I am able to do at home after a day on the water.
#9  Overall Security.  My house, property and boat are protected and made secure by Mr. Glock as well as Mr. Remington. My property is safer at my house than at a public marina.
#8  Daily charging of 4 deep cycle batteries.  I’d need to pay extra for electric if I had a slip and often there is a power drop when many boats are tapping into the same line, leaving my batteries still in need of a charge. 
#7  A clean boat.  5 minutes with a towel, a mixture of vinegar and water and my Lund is looking super shiny.  If someone has chummed, spilled a beer, dropped food, or even squashed night crawlers and dirt all over the floor, a quick shot with the hose and she’s ready for tomorrow. 
#6  Fuel prices.  If you compare gas stations vs marina pumps, the price is double at a marina.  My boat holds 62 gallons and I fill up at least once a week, the difference in price per gallon makes a huge difference to my bottom line.  In addition, My truck gets 11 mpg when I’m towing, my boat gets 4 mpg.   Launching as close to my fishing area is important to conserving fuel on my boat.
#5  Marinas in WNY don’t open until May 15th and close October 15th.  I start fishing as soon as weather permits in the spring and often through the end of November.  I’d lose almost 2 months of boat use if I used a slip. 
#4  Time loading my boat on the trailer compared to securing it at a slip.  After I’ve backed my trailer in the water it takes less then 3 minutes to load (thanks to my drive on trailer) and pull out, 5 minutes to wipe is down and I’m off.  Compare that to 30 to 40 minutes covering and tying off, locking up electronics, rods, etc.. I’m already home having dinner by the time I would just be finishing up at the marina.  
#3  Care of my bait.  I have a 60 gallon refrigerated tank at home so I’m able to purchase or trap minnows in large quantities, saving me hundreds of dollars annully.  Each morning I transfer bait to the boat livewell with the amount needed for the day.  If I kept my boat at a slip I’d have to come up with a tank and aerator system for my truck, transfer it to a bucket and then carry it to the boat.
#2  No marina offers the perfect location.  I use the Buffalo Boat Harbor in May and June and I use the other 3 (Dunkirk, Cattaraugus & Sturgeon Point) marinas for the rest of the year depending on what I am fishing for and how the weather is.
#1  Following fish migrations is vital to my success.  As the schools move west to east and back again, I’m able to follow them using 4 different launch sites.  This makes for shorter boat rides and more fishing time as there about 45 miles between launch sites.  Two of the ramps are covered by a NY State Empire Pass which costs $65 a year and if you buy 3 years at the same time, you get one year free.  The marina in Dunkirk, which I use the least, is pay-as-you-go and the Sturgeon Point pass is $100 a year.  At years end, I’ve paid about $2.50 per launch