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This is a collage of some of Gazette outdoor columnist Ted Peck’s fishing equipment that broke in 2021.

In 40-plus years as a licensed Wisconsin fishing guide, long-range planning for most aspects of this smallest of small businesses is about 24 hours ahead.

Right after this column is put to bed, I’ll call Natalie to finalize logistics for our fishing trip. This client has a 920 area code. She must live somewhere east and maybe north of Janesville.

If you look out the window right now you’ll see if the weather prediction for strong northwest winds and a wintry mix of precipitation was accurate. This doesn’t matter to the fish, as they are already cold and wet. But clients need to know how to prepare for their adventure—including the fact that fish get to vote on whether to bite or not.

This is the last trip in the book for the 2021 guide season. All things considered, it was a good year—even though there were just a handful of trips when all aspects of fishing equipment performed like they were supposed to.

Finding consistent success in outdoor pursuits requires the ability to adjust the sails and push forward when getting “snakebit” forces a change in plans.

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, the angry seas of 2021 could be a harbinger of a bigger storm just over the horizon.

In October 2020 Evinrude outboards went belly up. This Wisconsin-born company had been around since 1903. I immediately contacted Yamaha, was welcomed to their pro staff and ordered a new motor.

Initially the motor was supposed to be delivered in August. This got bumped back to December, then January—although corporate is trying hard to locate My-Yammie before then.

Fortunately, my Evinrude is running like a top after replacing two starters, solenoids and a lower unit. The crew at Jerry’s Sports Service is like a spectacular pit crew getting me back on the water ASAP.

The new lower unit required a pinion gear. All four national parts distribution centers were out of stock. The part would not be available until October, which was several months away.

An intense search by the folks at Jerry’s turned up just three available pinion gears in the U.S. I paid a premium price express shipping the part from Kansas City.

The trolling motor, electronics and boat trailer all had issues. The Humminbird Helix 10 had to be express shipped back to the factory at a cost of $325. I got it back in just a week. But this critical tool is still ‘tempermental.’

Replacing the bunks, taillights, winch and tie down straps on the trailer were projects an old retired firefighter could handle.

Similar results were obtained after multiple views of YouTube videos on fixing an Ulterra trolling motor after another time it broke down out on the water.

My Lund Alaskan is bulletproof. But with durable goods a wise hedge on runaway inflation, getting an entirely new rig looked like a solid plan. The price on the boat and a Shoreland’r trailer have essentially doubled over the past three years.

Lund pro staff has been advised they need to hold on to their boats until 2023.

Not long ago America snickered as Venezuela—the richest country in South America—ran out of toilet paper.

Batten down the hatches USA. We have rougher seas ahead.

Ted Peck, a certified merchant marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at tedpeck@acegroup.cc

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