It’s been said the time a man spends fishing is never deducted from his life. If that’s the case, I plan to live for a few hundred years. When the end does come, though, and I (hopefully) ascend into heaven, where the days are always sunny, the water is always calm and the big bass are always biting, this is the boat I would gladly fish from for all of eternity. If you’ve got the cash, on the other hand, here’s everything you need to get to fishing heaven right here on earth.
The boat: Z522 Comanche
This is where it all starts, with the Ranger Z522 Comanche. Measuring just over 22 feet long and eight feet wide, this fishing machine features a pultruded fibreglass transom with an integrated engine set-back, as well as huge carpeted decks set on an unsinkable, foam-filled fibreglass hull—complete with a warranty for as long as you own the boat. The Z522’s unique Rite-Track Keel keeps the hull low to the water when you’re using a bow-mounted electric trolling motor, while making for a smooth, dry ride when you’re running. Boasting hydraulic steering, digital ignition, a 64-gallon fuel tank, tapered rod tubes and more lockable dry storage than you could possibly fill, the Z522 is in a bass-boat class by itself.
The motor: Verado
Even when you’re cruising along at 75 miles an hour, the six-cylinder, 24-valve, 300-horsepower Mercury Verado is remarkably quiet. With its computer-controlled, electronic fuel-injection system and SmartCraft throttle, trim, tilt and engine systems, this powerful four-stroke is pure outboard-motor perfection.
The trolling motor batteries: BlueTop D31M
For power aplenty, you want three Optima BlueTop D31M batteries. The 12-volt D31Ms deliver 155 reserve-capacity and 900 cold-cranking amps, making them the best choice for powering high-drain trolling motors. The leak-proof BlueTops are 15 times more resistant to vibration and last up to two times longer than traditional flat-plate batteries. They also have an ultra-slow discharge rate, so they’re ideal for long Canadian winters when boats go unused.
The console sonar: 1197c SI Combo
Imagine scanning the lake bottom 480 feet from side to side, as well as straight down in the traditional manner. Enter Humminbird’s 1197c SI Combo side-imaging sonar. The unit features a 10.4-inch colour display, 8,000 watts of power, 16-channel GPS with track and chart plotting, and selective narrow- and wide-beam bottom coverage. If you can’t find fish, cover or structure with this beauty, it’s because they’re just not there.
The bow sonar: 1157c Combo
This unit is identical to the 1197c on the console, minus the side- imaging capabilities. Otherwise, Humminbird’s 1157c will also show you everything you need to see as you fish. And to share GPS positions, waypoints and travel routes between the two units in real time, install Humminbird’s digital Interlink Fishing System Network Connection.
The trolling motor: Terrova 101
The Terrova 101 from Minn Kota gives you the ultimate in boat control, regardless of the weather. Packing 101 pounds of punch, this electric lets you troll all day with plenty of juice in reserve thanks to its Digital Maximizer, which optimizes battery power. Too busy to man the low-profile foot pedal? The digital AutoPilot locks onto the desired heading and steers the boat itself, allowing you to concentrate on the fish. Or, you can operate the Terrova remotely from anywhere in the boat using the wireless CoPilot. Compatible with most fishfinders, meanwhile, is the Universal Sonar transducer concealed in the motor cone, providing expanded views from down below, as well as water temperature readings.
The mounts: Marine Electronic Mounts
RAM Mounting System’s adjustable on/off Marine Electronic Mounts are worth their weight in gold. This is especially so with the Trolling Motor Stabilizer, which anchors your motor to the boat and prevents it from shaking loose, inadvertently dropping down or getting swept overboard if you spear a wave in rough water. Ditto for the RAM sonar mount (pictured) that lets you adjust the angle of the view screen as light conditions change.
The throttle: Hotfoot
With Mercury’s SmartCraft DTS Hotfoot gas pedal, driving this boat is much like driving a car. That means you can keep both hands on the steering wheel in rough water or in areas congested with boats. And when you take your foot off the pedal, the engine immediately idles.