Prep Work Now, Can Pay Off Later!
For those fortunate anglers that live in areas where Mother Nature is less harsh during the winter months, their boats and lines never stay dry throughout the year, but for anglers here in the Midwest, we have an “off-season.”
So as I sit here writing this, I realize that I’m still a few months away from getting back behind the wheel of my Ranger boat and giving my Mercury Optimax some gas,. Ok, enough daydreaming. This is the time when I start to get my fishing gear set for this next fishing season.
Some of the off-season tasks that not only will keep me busy during these final months of winter but also get me ready to go for the upcoming fishing season includes:
- Clean my rods and reels and make sure they are up for another season on the water. It is important to check the insert in the rod guides for any nicks, as this could cost you a fish down the road. The easiest way to do this is to take a Q-Tip and run it through the guides and see if the cotton gets snagged on anything.
- If you feel comfortable with cleaning your own reels, now is a good time to do so. Going back to that drawer of Q-Tips with some water can clean out a lot of last season’s gunk and grim from the reel. Along with applying some oil and grease to the key parts of the reel can have those reels working in prime form all season long! If you reel needs more in-depth maintenance than taking it to an authorized reel repair center is a great idea.
- When you are done cleaning your reels and have removed the old fishing line and discarded it properly, I will loosen up my drag and tension knob on the reels. This way the reel’s inner workings get to relax for a bit, as I won’t spool up my reels with the new Seaguar line until I get close to my first fishing trip of the year.
- Depending on how you store your rods in the off-season and in your boat, picking up a rod sleeve could be a very valuable investment. Rod sleeves such as The Rod Glove keep your rods protected and organized; keeping you ready to go when open water arrives.
- Most anglers over the winter have already gone through their tackle, sorted it and sorted it again. One thing that I make sure I do during this prep period is to check the treble hooks on my crankbaits and topwater for any damage, or with new baits, I’ll use a split-ring plier to put on some new super sharp Lazer TroKar Treble hooks and extra strong split rings on my baits.
- Since safety on the water is so important, I’ll check my life jackets and rain gear for any holes, rips or tears. It is especially important to check your inflatable life jackets to make sure they are properly charged and in working order.
- To store the tools that can help keep your day on the water fun and moving forward and first aid supplies, I’ll restock and make sure all these items are kept in a Plano Guide Series waterproof case, so they stay dry and ready for use.
- Now is a great time to organize all those important way-points on your electronics. I’ll turn on all of my Humminbird HELIX units and export all of my waypoints, tracks, and routes to an SD card. I’ll then import them on to my computer and rename, delete and save them to corresponding lake files that I have. I like to use the Humminbird PC Program and LakeMaster Contour Elite software. This way, I have them backed up, should anything happen. This also is a preemptive step as next spring; I’ll restore all the defaults on my units and install any system updates that are available.
Well off to the shop I go, I have reels to clean and tackle organize and hopefully, we have a nice early spring!
Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos. He keeps busy fishing events across Minnesota and on the Mississippi River. Glenn’s sponsors include: Bass Boat Technologies, Ducky Products, Humminbird, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Plano, Rayjus, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, War Eagle Custom Lures, Witch Doctor Tackle, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits. For more information check out glennwalkerfishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.