Fisherman’s Winter Checklist….. Get Busy
Winter is a time when the fishing slows down and we start to get the fishing “blues”. We talk about fishing to our friends and we check out all the fishing social media sites and we even binge watch shows like “Wicked Tuna” to get our injection of fishing. It’s kind of like needing to take a vitamin D pill to fight depression on those cold, cloudy days of winter.
The fact is, there’s a lot of things you can do to involve yourself in fishing during the winter months. They are actually productive and beat watching some guy in Florida catch a snook from 3 years ago. Best of all, by doing these things you’ll be prepared when warmer weather comes and not scrambling to get yourself ready when the fish return in big quantities.
- Take an inventory of your tackle box. Count everything from hooks, snaps, swivels and lures. Throw out the old lures that you’ve never used or have not used in years. Make a list of the items that you need and head to your local tackle shop to restock. When you return, make sure your tackle box has been cleaned and ready for the reorganization you’re about to give it.
- Start a “Fishing Log”. Sit down and think about the things you need to know when it comes to fishing notes. Things like water temp and clarity. Also dates of good catches and the types of lures, bait and rigs used. Most of all think about the location you fished, a spot and the time of day. Once you’ve made your list head down to the office supply and find the perfect notebook that will serve as your fishing encyclopedia for years to come. Set up the notebook and put it in a safe place near your clean tackle bag or box.
- Get your reels serviced. Pull your reels off and take them to your local tackle shop for a good cleaning and servicing. Don’t wait till the height of the fishing season when a couple of your reels start to sound like a food processor mincing rocks, to get those reels serviced. Saltwater takes its toll and all reels need a good cleaning and worn part replaced. You can do it yourself, but believe me the guy at the tackle shop is a pro and your reels will come back like new.
- Change that line. Fishing line can become damaged due to many reasons. Things like the saltwater, heat, UV rays and other factors can breakdown your line’s strength. Replacing your line every year or every 2 years is a must. You can do it yourself or you can have your tackle shop do it for a minimal cost. Don’t leave old line to chance.
- Start making your favorite rigs. Get a big box of hooks, a spool of your leader material and the swivels and snaps you need and then head to the garage to your work beach. Take a hot cup of coffee with you and turn on some classic rock music on your mobile device. It’ll be a great productive way to spend a cold winter’s day. Organize the fishing products in a way that it’s easy to get them when the fishing hits.
- Sharpen your knives and sand your cutting board. Get those fillet knives off the boat. You know, the ones that’s been in a compartment since that last fishing trip. Sharpen them up. The bones of a fish can dull even the best fillet knife in no time, so take the time to get them back in shape again. If you’re not sure how to effectively sharpen your knives, then look on
- YouTube. Also, if you have a wooden or plastic filleting board, YouTube has great tips on how to resurface your boards that will make them like new.
So, rather than sitting around watching bass fishing shows, get to work. You have a lot to be done before the weather warms up. Don’t put it off because before you know it the weather will warm up and the fishing forums and Facebook pages will be filled with fishing stories and pictures and you will have a dirty, disorganized tackle bag and your reels will be sounding like the clutch in your grandfather’s old truck. Get a jump start on the 2020 fishing season and have fun doing it. It’s also a great time to show your son or grandson or even daughter or granddaughter a little more about fishing and about organization. It’s time together both of you will always remember.