It is the end of November as I sit down to pen this article. There is already snow on the ground and there is a strong, cold wind blowing out of the north. The Atlantic is no place to be at this time of the year if you don’t have to be. Not here in New England at any rate.
I know as I have been on a boat traveling to Nova Scotia, Canada in Winter and believe me it was not fun. Now I use this down time to plot next season’s trips and importantly, to carry out my tackle maintenance.
The Importance of Tackle Maintenance
How many times have you headed out and noticed your mates fussing with lines that have tangled or that break at an inopportune moment? Have you experienced reels jamming or seizing? How about tackle boxes that look like a rat’s nest of tangled hooks? How often has that guy been you? I know it has happened to me. Being out on the water is no time to be messing with this stuff. That is why I take the time to carry out tackle maintenance. This makes sure everything is ready to go as soon as the weather allows me to get back fishing.
Change Your Line
There are many things that can affect your line and many of them are unseen. Things like temperature, sunlight, and saltwater all take their toll. Then there are those little nicks from rocks that go unnoticed. Even a small burr on the rod’s eyes or guides will wear out your line. I change my line at least once a year, sometimes more.
I don’t want the big one escaping because of something I could have prevented. Re-spool your reel with a quality line. I happen to like the lines put out by Stren and Berkley. Use whatever line that you like, just make sure it is good quality and fit for the purpose intended.
Service Your Reels
Saltwater takes its toll on reels, even reels designed for use in the marine environment. While your line is off the spool go ahead and open the reel. Clean the gears and re-lube according to the manual. Do not use cotton swabs to do this as small pieces of the cotton can quickly jam up the gears.
When it comes to my reels I go one step further. I spray them down with a product called GetSome 1000. This product contains no silicones, acids, kerosene or diesel oil ensuring a low evaporation rate and helping ward off salt damage. Best of all it will not harm plastic parts and it leaves no odor.
Check Your Rods
Rod inspection forms an important part of my tackle maintenance. Run a cotton ball over your fishing rods. Any nicks and cracks will trap the cotton wool strands making the visible. This is the best way to detect hidden defects that you will never notice with the naked eye. Either fix or replace the rod. Pay attention to the guides as they often get damaged, especially after heavy use.
Inspect Your Tackle
If you are like me, if the fishing is hot and heavy, you don’t take the time to put your lures all back neatly in the box. The end result is a tangled mess. Now is the time to get things back in order. Pull out all your lures and clean the box. Check every hard and soft bait for loose, rusted or broken hooks. Replace any hooks that are questionable. Take the time to sharpen your hooks. Check hollow bodied lures for damage and get rid of those that are damaged beyond repair. Big fish with teeth often make short work of even the toughest lures.
With all this complete, you can now sit back with a beverage of your choice, personally, I prefer a pint of stout at this time of year, and wait for the weather to let up. In the meantime, I wish all of you a great holiday season. May you get that new reel that you have been wanting.