Folks at Home, Folks at Home! How are you coping with winter? Well, being “iced in” or “iced out” as the case may be, this guy is going stir crazy! I’m not into fishing the ice anymore, so I’m stuck at home. So what do I do to pass the time while wishing I was fishing? I Organize! Organize! Organize!
Over the course of a season things tend to get disorganized. We buy new stuff, move old stuff, shift pre-spawn bait boxes to the back of the boat compartments to make room for topwater and other summer baits. Then you layer on the fall stuff and suddenly you can’t find anything. We beat the heck out of our rods and reels pulling them out of the rod lockers and jamming them back in. It seems like I always start the season with 5 rods at the ready in my locker with 4-5 boxes of organized baits in the boat, but by the end of the season, every inch of space in my Triton is stuffed like someone trying to get into pair of tight jeans.
So, when I can’t fish, I figure it is time to unload the boat and get organized. I take all my Kistler rods out and examine the guides to make sure there’s nothing wrong that will fray my line. Then I take my Ardent reels off the rods and take off all the old Balsax line. The reels need to be cleaned, and nothing works better than Ardent Reel Cleaner. After a good cleaning, I lube them up with Ardent Reel Butter. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of money on our equipment so it’s important to keep up with the maintenance to extend the life! When it comes to the rods, there is nothing like a good rod cover and iBass360 is selling a good one at a very reasonable price. Each one include a strap to hold it firmly in place as you take it in and out of the locker. The reels will need new line. Balsax braid and White Peacock Fluoro will be the ticket and I plan to use my iBass360 Line Cutterz cutter to finish the job.
Then there is all the tackle. When I look at all my tackle I just shake my head. I could probably fish for the rest of my life and still have enough unused tackle to last me, AND my kids, another lifetime. Well, there is no better time to go through it all and organize it. Take the baits, jigs, weights and hooks and spread them out to start organizing. Check those crank bait and topwater lips and tie eyes for damage and check every hook. Are they dull? Sharpen them while you are looking at them and don’t risk a bad hook set later. Are any bent? Change them out. How about rust? Make a determination if you can file it off or if the rust has actually weakened the hook. When in doubt, change them! This task will take some time- a good activity while you are watching your favorite hockey or basketball team or when you are binge watching your favorite series.
Of course you bought new baits during the season. Go through all the lockers and get all those bags out of the boat. Some of them probably still have the unopened tackle you bought and never looked at. Put them in the appropriate newly organized box or, if you are like me and have a pegboard organizing wall resembling a small tackle shop, put it all- including the new stuff you have gotten at the various winter shows and flea
markets- on the appropriate hook to organize it. Put the Zee Baits blue rib tail worms with the other rib tail worms. Put the Forage Lures 1.5 crankbaits with the other crankbaits of similar diving depth and color. You get the point- organize it!
Of course the fishing gear is not the only thing needing attention. Take the opportunity to organize the boat. Sadly, recent events have reminded us of the importance of checking all the safety gear. Make sure the life jackets are all In good shape and that your lighting is in working order. Yes, if you have an inflatable life device, CHECK your CO2 cartridge. If in doubt replace it or charge it as needed. It will only save you if it’s in top working order! Check your fire extinguisher. They will leak over time and they do not like being stored in the cold. Do your batteries have water? Do all your pumps work- especially the main bilge? Get it all cleaned up and working! How about those trailer bearings- do they need to be greased? Do the trailer tires have enough pressure? Are the trailer lights working? Don’t wait until you are ready to fish to run your checklist.
This is definitely the time of the year to get all this stuff done, so get off the couch and get it done. When you lay into your first hookset and everything is working you will be glad you did. Your enjoyment of time on the water will be enhanced by the time you spend in preparation now. There is nothing more frustrating than a spring outing marred by a failure to properly prepare and organize- and you don’t want to be rooting around for the needed bait when your buddy just landed a big one and you can’t find the key bait anywhere. Proper organization will ensure you #LiveThePassion.