Even though it has been a relatively mild winter in eastern NC, fishing activity for most folks slows down the first few months of the year. When I’m not spending my free time in the winter fishing, I use the time to get ready for the next fishing season.
If I can’t fish, at least I can get ready to catch a few once the fish begin to bite. A little time spent now preparing for the season will help me get off to a great start this spring and fish right on through the fall with fewer missed opportunities.
Like many anglers, I enjoy making my own rigs and this time of year is a good time to stock up on them. I make my own flounder, grouper, and king mackerel rigs. It saves a little money but the “reel” pleasure is a certain satisfaction I get when catching fish on something I handcrafted. It also keeps me connected to fishing activities when cold or stormy weather forces me indoors. The materials are simple and are available at most well equipped tackle shops.
Maintenance of my gear is very important too. I check my lures to make sure they are still serviceable. Looking for cracks or deep dings in the lure body or connecting materials and then replacing or repairing those lures as needed. That will prevent them from breaking when fighting that next smoker fish.
Some of them may need to have the hooks changed if corrosion or rust has appeared. Even if the hook looks fine, it probably could benefit from sharpening. I’ll have a better chance at catching fish with very sharp hooks.
Also it’s important to check leaders made from monofilament or fluorocarbon material to make sure there are no nicks or cuts and that the knots are still tight. I always replace the line if questionable rather than chance losing a prized catch. I also replace any wire leaders that are bent, crimped or with loose crimps.
Now is also a good time to get organized well. Cleaning out my tackle boxes and tackle bags will help free up some space and make it easier to find items. It also shows me where I need to restock. Now I’m getting closer to being prepared for the busiest fishing times.
It is also the time to clean and lube those reels. I check the guides on my rods to make sure the wraps haven’t begun to fray. Also checking for nicks on the inside of the guides, these can cause the fishing line to break and let the BIG one get away. I replace my monofilament line each fishing season. Even if it looks okay to the eye if it’s been in the water last season, it is in a weaken condition. Monofilament fishing line once wet will absorb some of the water then dry out causing the line to lose strength over a period of time. Catching fish also stretches the line and weakens it.
I also go through all my other gear like gaffs, landing nets, cast nets, etc to make sure they are in good shape and ready for another season.
Alright, time to make a trip or two to the tackle shop an now I’m ready for another season of fishing!
Tight lines to all!