We all know the unfortunate story of Jimmy Johnson when he caught a thief trying to steal his fishing equipment. It was such a sad and disgusting outcome that rocked the fishing community. Protecting your investment, in recent years, theft of fishing equipment has risen and boat security has become more important. One year ago, a thief broke into my boat and stole all my fishing equipment. At first, I didn’t realize just how much money I had invested into my hobby. It took several hours to compile a list of everything. I sat in my boat and imagined what I had. I even went and sat in a friend’s boat to help refresh my memory. After adding up the Plano boxes, baits, bags, terminal tackle, pliers, life jackets, rods, reels, fishing line, etc., I was devastated by what this thief had taken from me.
If thieves put the same effort into a job as they do stealing your stuff, they would be very productive members of society. If they want your stuff, they will do what it takes to get it, and they are very crafty at their trade. The standard locks on the boxes serve as a good deterrent, but a determined thief will get past them with ease. Wanting to protect our gear, we invest in additional preventative measures, but those don’t always work either. The Loc-R-Bar, for example, is a great theft deterrent: heavy duty and a lock with an alarm. However, it’s not a guarantee in protecting your belongings Thieves have been known to undo the winch strap, connect it to the Loc-R-Bar, and winch it until it pops off. Another method they use is one you hope they don’t. They will use a battery operated sawzall and cut the fiberglass around the Loc-R-Bar mounts. Not only do they take your stuff, they also destroy your top cap. Additionally, there are alarm protection devices available, such as the Two Way Boat Alarm, and Bandit Buster Security System. Both of these systems will let you know when a thief has opened a compartment via micro switches installed in the compartments. Additionally, they can also be set to let you know when someone has entered your boat with vibration detection devices. These alarm systems are a little pricey and might not fit into your budget. Keep in mind, these are preventative measures—nothing is absolute.
Most of the stories we hear are from people who are traveling. With increased publicity, thieves know when tournaments are coming to town. They know what hotels to hit late in the night. The thief may notice you hours before striking. They may notice that you have had several drinks over the course of the evening while sitting in your boat retying tackle, and conversing with friends and other anglers. By the time you go to bed it is pretty late, and this provides an opportune time to strike. The best way to protect your belongings is to remove them from your boat. This can be tedious and annoying, but if you keep them in your room it can save you a ton of heartache. When you take your stuff inside, don’t lock your boxes. The thief won’t know that your boat is empty. They will try to open the box, and if it’s locked, the will break the lock just to find there is nothing inside.
We have to be extra cautious these days. We all work hard to be able to pay for our own things. With insurance, we can replace our stolen belongings. It’s not an easy process, but I’ll cover that in my next article. Insurance, however, can’t help when you wake up on tournament morning to find that you have been robbed.
Teach a Man to Fish and you’ll never see him again,