The hunting seasons are over, the ice-fishing season was a bust, and unless you are heading to Lake Erie it is still too early to get the boat out.
So far, March has given us a roller coaster ride of weather. Cold nights and flooding rains do not help with speeding up getting the fishing season here. So what do we do with ourselves for the next few weeks while you are stuck at home with the current health scare until the local waters warm up and we can start fishing? I tell you what I do to keep cabin fever at bay in March and that is to get my fishing gear ready for the upcoming season. What a great time to overhaul the gear, inventory the tackle, and have fun ordering your new fishing supplies.
When you fish as much as I do, you put a strain on the fishing gear, tackle boxes get cluttered and unorganized, fishing hooks get dull and you lose contact with the status of your fishing supplies. I am going to share with you some things you can do to get that gear ready and help make the fishing season get here sooner.
It is important to find a nice quiet spot where you can set up a card table and empty the tackle box. You need to find a place that is out of the wife’s way and the kids can’t get into your stuff! After all, we are going to make this project last a while to get our optimum enjoyment. We don’t want to get into a rush and make this an afternoon project. I prefer doing this in the basement because nobody goes down there in my house but your garage or den will do.
First you need to empty the tackle box and give it a thorough scrubbing. Getting the spilled fish scent, the melted rubber worms, and the rust residue from your hooks out of the crevices of the box can be quite a job that requires some good old-fashioned elbow grease. After the box is cleaned, you need to organize your lures into different categories. Separate your plastic baits, jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits into different piles. Go through the piles and inspect each hook and lure to see which ones need repaired or culled from your supply.
I know it can be tough to pitch that favorite lure you got that big ol’ bass on five years ago, but if the hooks are rusted and the paint is gone, it is time to pitch it! While inspecting each bait, replace the treble hooks that are bent, severely dull, or show any signs of rust. While you are at it, sharpen each hook. I will spend a week just sharpening each and every hook that is in my box. This will save me a lot of time while I am out on the lake and time can be crucial during a tournament.
After the inspection and repair of each lure, take an inventory of your baits. Mark down the number of lures that you have to help you be more organized when you purchase your new supplies. Reload your tackle box with organization being the top priority. Keep all your similar lures together no matter what type of tackle box you use. I have had many different types of boxes over the years and prefer the tackle bags that have individual utility boxes. These bags offer the most organized system that is very compact and easy to use.
Once you have your tackle box put together they way you want it, it is time to work on the rods and reels. Inspect each rod for loose fitting eyelets. For eyelets that have strings starting to unwrap, borrow some of the wife’s clear nail polish and coat the string with it. This is a very cheap and easy way to make the eyelet wrap last a little bit longer. Be sure to inspect the inside of the eyelets for nicks or grooves that can weaken your line and replace the ones that are bad.
To get the most life out of your reels, an annual cleaning and lubrication is a must. This job is not for the impatient person. You need to enjoy working on small things. If this doesn’t sound like you, then there are several services that you can hire to do this job for you at a fairly inexpensive cost. If you decide to tackle this job, on your own carefully take the reel apart by following your reel schematics sheet. Thoroughly clean all the parts and lubricate them before putting them back together. This annual job will make your equipment work smoother and will make those reels last for a very long time.
Now that you have the tackle and gear ready to go, it is time for the best part, purchasing your supplies. This is easily my favorite part. It is fun to go through all the catalogs and search online to pick out my order. Use your tackle inventory list to replenish what you need and have fun choosing what new lures to try out this year. Don’t forget to purchase the new fishing line as well. One word of caution though, it is very easy to get carried away and blow your fishing budget. Go over your list several times before placing it and weed out the unnecessary items to keep your wallet and the wife happy!
By the time your order gets here, the end of March should be here and hopefully fishing weather to go with it. The area waters should be warming up by then and crappie fishing will hopefully be in full gear. The last two years have provided us with some great bass fishing in late March and here’s hoping this year is the same. Don’t forget to purchase that new fishing license before you head out.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.