by Joe Douglas, Black Dog Custom Rods, 208.699.5893, www.blackdogcustomrods.com
March arrived a bit sooner than some of us expected. Well, it is here and it is time to start getting your gear in order for the new season. Don’t delay maintenance until the last minute before your first trip to the water; you know there will be a disappointment in store as you try to get everything together at the last minute. Here are a few comments on various items to prepare yourself or take to your trusted expert to make sure your gear is ready.
Let’s start with my favorite, your fishing rods. Time to get them out and clean/test the components:
• Remove the reel and check it for working properly.
• Clean the reel itself, add drops of reel oil where needed to keep it working smoothly.
• Make sure all screws are tightened, make sure the line counter (if present) is working.
• Inspect the line on the reel and replace it if it is worn or frayed.
– I change line often that has been used extensively due to exposure to UV rays.
– A full spool of new line, allows you to, as needed, clip the first 30 feet of old line and redo the terminal tackle.
– If you clip and re-tie several times, you will eventually need to replace the entire line to assure enough line to cast and play the fish.
• Inspect the reel footing and make sure it has a solid connection to the reel body.
– Check the footing that holds the reel in place for damage; if damaged fix or replace.
– Different rods have different types of footings, make sure yours holds the reel tight.
• Inspect every guide on the rod and look the wraps over for damage; if damaged fix or replace.
– You may be able to do this yourself; or you may need help from a rod builder.
– Fortunately, you now know a rod builder, in the immediate area, that can help.
• Apply a coat of automotive/boat polish to the rod shaft and buff it off with a soft cloth.
– This will do some good toward protecting the rod, wraps and guides from UV light.
– Clean leftover polish out of each guide and the tiptop guide.
• Damage to the handles: cork, EVA, carbon fiber, metal, bamboo, etc. If damaged, fix or replace.
– Minor damage can be neglected for a while as long as it does not impact your fishing.
– Most repairs should be left to a professional.
• If your rod has multiple sections, make sure you clean the ferrule connections.
– We use Q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean inside any metal ferrules.
– Scrub and clean the outside of each ferrule using rubbing alcohol.
– Apply a lubricant to both parts of the ferrules, inside and outside.
– There are commercial lubricants available at most sporting goods stores
– All types of ferrule connections should be lubricated on a fairly regular basis.
– Caution: Do not use pliers or excessive force to free stuck ferrules.
• Rod security when travelling is best handled by storing your rod in a padded container.
– PVC pipe makes a good container; and is relatively inexpensive and easy to make.
– Safety for the rod is much better than arriving at your destination with a broken rod.
– Typically, any damage or breakage to your rod can be repaired.
What about tackle? If you are like most who fish, you have way too much. But, you have to be prepared, right? Well, you need to review your tackle and determine any need for additional lures, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, tools, etc. A bad situation is to arrive at your favorite fishing hole with only one of your favorite lures in the box. Make sure you have an abundance of tackle, and a wide variety.
• Check your hooks for sharpness; sharpen them if needed.
• Make a list of items you need to purchase before the season starts.
• Renew your license, put fresh fuel in the gas tank.
Your boat just sat through the winter. Take the time to check all of the connections in the boat as well as the exterior lights, all the batteries, the fish finder, the hull, the prop, and the engine/motors.
• Inspect each of the electrical connections to make sure they are clean and working.
• Check the running lights to make sure they work, same for the gauges and dials on the dash.
• Check the wiring harness on the trailer and all the electrical connections, make sure they work.
• Grease the hubs, check tire pressure, and the hitch/ball, and make sure the motor is secured.
• Lubricate the motor if needed, check the gas, start the motor, make sure it fires and runs.
Don’t forget to pack your cooler, flotation devices, lunch, jacket, fire extinguisher, extra fuel, nets, paddle(s), rods, reels, lures, rope and tool kit. I’m sure I forgot something, you will too, double check before you head to the water and make your day much more enjoyable. Good luck and tight lines !!