It’s that time of year when there’s virtually nothing to fish for around here so why not take a day away from watching sports to clean and repair all your fishing gear, something I bet many of us won’t do once we can get out there and flail the water again. As soon as fishing gets going again, who has time to clean gear and repair accessories unless it just fails to work at all?
Start with your reels. All reels need to be cleaned and oiled. Fly reels are easy to take apart, wipe clean, get any grit out and apply some lubricant. Spinning reels can be another matter. Unless you kept the manual (who does that?), getting back together what you have taken apart can be a disaster. All I can say is do it cautiously.
Next is the line on the reel. Nearly all monofilament and fluorocarbon line rots after awhile, kinks up, gets abraded and so on. It’s good policy to just take it off and substitute it with new line. Fluoro can be a bit costly but mono is cheap. Just do it. You fly anglers recognize that your leader/tippet should be replaced. A brand new 10-inch tapered leader just makes you feel good. Make it happen. Clean all your fly lines with a good, slippery fly line cleaner — they’ll zip through your rod so well you’ll forget about purchasing any new ones for awhile.
Any rod that is two or more pieces needs to be taken apart and the rod given a drop or so of lube where it fits into the ferrule. Put the rod together and leave it apart until your next use. This is especially true of saltwater rods, which become one piece rods if you don’t do this.
Waders need attention when you leave them unused during winter. Hang them from the boot upside down in a relatively cool place but not where they might freeze. Check them for cracks, holes and anything that might leak. You can even do the bathtub test for leaks when no one else is home. Fix any leaks and repair or patch any potential leaks.
How about your pram, rowboat, float tube, pontoon boat or whatever it is you use to fish lakes and rivers? I’ll give good odds that you anglers out there have a lot of things that float that need attention. Upside down and covered during winter is common sense for boats. Don’t let anything be exposed to or allowed to ice. I see float tubes and pontoon boats outside, uncovered and inflated and want to post a sign on them that says “This is a no-no.” Deflate them at least 30 percent and get them inside for the winter. Leaky tubes and pontoons are no fun and hard to fix, as are leaky valves. They don’t need to be stored in the dining room, just get them out of sight so they won’t be a constant reminder of your irresponsible fishing habit.
Take a look at your flies and lures. Do you really need all those ridiculous and useless no-fish catchers that you have taking up space in your tackle box and fly vest? Give the totally hopeless ones away or, more responsibly, leave them on a fishing buddy’s porch like a zucchini, ring the bell and run like hell. He’ll probably love the stuff, like you did when you bought it.