Lake Norman & Mooresville

How to protect boats from a tropical storm

Fay hit the Carolinas like a ton of bricks.

The much-needed rain filled boat bilges and even sank a few vessels that had clogged scuppers or inoperative pumps. High winds and quickly rising lake levels caused some vessels to float free from their lifts or break from their moorings. Others banged against docks, pilings and other boats when bow or stern lines broke and left them to swing with the wind.

In order to better protect your vessel the next time a tropical storm passes, keep the following in mind:

Boats that can be moved by a trailer should be taken from the water to an area protected from the weather. Remove all contents not permanently secured, block the trailer wheels and remove the drain plug.

For boats that must remain in the water, inspect dock lines for chafing and dry rot, and replace as needed. To assure that the vessel remains secure, double the bow, stern and spring lines. Fenders/bumpers should be positioned in strategic locations to help protect the hull.

As with boats being moved by trailer, remove all equipment that isn't permanently secured. Check to see that bilge pumps are operable and test batteries to assure they are fully charged.

Bimini tops are made to withstand winds not much greater than 35 mph. When preparing for a storm, it is prudent to remove or secure them in the down position.

Vessels allowed to remain on a lift during a storm should be securely tied much the same way as those left in the water. Precautions should also be taken to assure that the drain plug is secure, as water levels might rise faster than expected.

It is wise to check your vessel during the storm to assure that everything is shipshape – dock lines secure, bilge pump(s) working. As quickly as possible after the storm, return to assess any damage and restore the vessel to pre-storm conditions.

As part of the pre-hurricane preparation, inspect all dock cleats to be sure they are tightly secured. Additionally, remove all items from the dock, deck and pier that might blow away during the storm.

Upcoming events

My free fishing seminar – “Fall Striped Bass Fishing on LKN – How to Find, Catch & Cook This Popular Game Fish” – is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Gander Mountain, Exit 36 in Mooresville. Details: 704-658-0822.

The Norman Fishery Alliance Annual Meeting and Fish Fry will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 11at Gander Mountain.

Hot spots of the week

Hot spots are river and creek points where stripers and bass are feeding early and late.

Best results are at depths from 10 to 50 feet for stripers and 10 to 20 feet for bass. Both artificial and live baits are catching limits.

Surface feeding activity is occurring at dawn and dusk in boat basins and over underwater humps. In the past week, striper and bass fishing has been good to very good. Perch and cat fishing has been very good to excellent.

The lake water level is near normal. Surface water temperatures are in the high 80s and low 90s.