Prepare your Big-Water boat for duck season

Illustration by Robert L. Prince

Turn your summer fishing boat into a dinghy and deliver diving ducks all winter long, just by drilling a few holes and turning a few screws. These additions, upgrades, and layout research necessities can outfit any old fishing rig into a Deep Water Duck. Just load your layout and go. Here’s how.

1. Install an anchor reel ($ 285; anchorwizard.com) for longline deployment and retrieval to minimize tangled lines and trip hazards. It is also useful for hoisting a heavy anchor in deep, overgrown water.

2. Attach four eye hooks near the bow and use two ratchet straps ($ 16; homedepot.com) to secure your layout boat. This also prevents it from turning into a sail when powered or in strong winds.

3. Take a boat hook ($ 35; westmarine.com) to retrieve submerged longlines and keep a rubber fishing net handy to retrieve downed birds and cripples diving below the surface ($ 60; cabelas.com).

4. Mount gunnel lure bags ($ 45; customdecoybags.com) on both sides of the boat to better organize your blocks. This will save time and energy when setting the spread and achieve a tangle-free pickup.

5. Cut the 2 inch clear tube in half. ($ 4 per foot; mcmaster.com) lengthwise, and use it to rubberize gunnels and protect your layout while loading. It also allows a quieter ride in rough seas.

6. Install a water-fuel separatorr ($ 29; walmart.com) between your gas tank and the outboard motor to make sure that water or moisture, which is more likely to accumulate in cold weather, does not stall your motor .

Need a development boat?
Choosing the right style depends on the environment in which you intend to hunt. A submerged box layout has a low profile, which hides well and is suitable for calmer seas. Check out the Waterfowl-Works Erie Layout Boat ($ 1,050; waterfowl-works.com). For rough waters, a pumpkin seed is a good choice, like the One-Man Layout from Bankes Boats ($ 1,695; bankesboats.com). It climbs higher and provides a better view of birds flying low in a chop.


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