Q: I have seen both rope and plastic cable ties used when rigging an anchor to trip, should it become snagged. Which are best? ROB RALSON, SWANAGE, DORSET
DL says: Either can be used, provided that your choice is strong enough to sustain the weight of the boat when anchored for fishing. It needs to be weak enough to break under controlled pressure using the engine, and allow the anchor to be pulled free from a snag.
Q: When driving an open boat, where is the best place to attach the engine kill cord? CLIVE HEADLAND, COLCHESTER, ESSEX
DL says: I find that clipping it around my leg, as shown, is best. Others clip it to their life jacket, belt or around their wrist, but I find this can result in the cord getting in the way.
Always ensure that, should you fall over the side, the cord cannot become detached from you in any way and will stop the engine.
Q: Do you have any advice for night fishing aboard a small boat? BOB HYTHE, BY EMAIL
DL says: Do not attempt to fish in darkness aboard your own boat until you have plenty of experience running it during daylight.
Always ensure you know the area you intend to fish at night really well, and obviously avoid those marks with hazards in the near vicinity.
When you do plan your first night trip, always choose an evening with perfect weather conditions, and set off in daylight in order to get securely anchored before the onset of darkness.
Q: I have acquired a trailer (left). Is it a road trailer, ramp launch trailer, or is it suitable for beach launch using a tractor? SHARON FRIZZEL, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
DL says: The trailer illustrated is suitable for either purpose, but if you intend towing it on a road, I recommend you have it fully serviced before use, paying particular attention to the wheel bearings and brakes.
Q: Over the years I have lost count of the number of small tools that I have dropped over the side and subsequently lost. Can you offer any suggestions on how to prevent this? BRIAN MEADOWS, WHITBY, NORTH YORKS
DL says: accidentally dropping small items of kit over the side of a boat is inevitable from time to time.
attaching each item to something that floats, such as a cork or piece of polystyrene, will prevent it from sinking. always check that you have sufficient buoyancy by testing the efficiency of your float in a bucket first.
Have a landing net close at hand to retrieve any item that goes over the side.
Q: When running my outboard engine in shallow water, how far up can I trim it to avoid damaging the propeller?
ANDY HUTCHINSON, BY EMAIL
DL says: it is important to ensure that the engine has uninterrupted access to sea water for cooling.
The best way to ensure this is to avoid trimming it above the point where the flat cavitation plate above the propeller exits the water because the cooling water intakes are located just below this.
Q: MY BOAT IS NOT FITTED WITH A BOARDING LADDER. I NEVER FISH ALONE, DO I NEED ONE? MICHAEL BROADBENT, LIVERPOOL
DL says: a good boarding ladder is one of the most important safety features you could have aboard any angling boat.
regardless of how strong you are, lifting a casualty back over the side is incredibly difficult, to the point of being impossible.
My advice is to fit a ladder (as shown above) at the earliest opportunity.
Q: WAHT TYPE AND HOW MANY FLARES SHOULD I CARRY ABOARD A TRAILERABLE BOAT, WHICH I USE WHEN FISHING INSHORE? RUSSELL PILKINGTON, BRISTOL
DL says: as a minimum, you should buy an inshore pack containing two red hand flares for day or night use, along with two orange smoke flares for daytime use. i also recommend you carry a couple of parachute flares.
Q: ARE YOU ALLOWED TO TIE OFF ON ANY NAVIGATION MARK OR BUOY IN ORDER TO FISH? CARL TRIPPIER, BY EMAIL
DL says: no. in almost every circumstance, tying off to any navigational buoy or fixed marker is strictly prohibited.