November is a transition period of the year. Anglers in the northern plain pull out tip-ups, ice snails, and other winter fishing gear. Mama always said to pick ourselves up, and that means it’s time to properly store our fly, conventional, and bait gear. Here’s how to maintain your fishing gear in 5 easy steps before continuing your winter fishing.
1. Repair of fishing tackle
Pole tips, guides, roll holders, and cork handles should be checked and repaired. If your guides are ceramic, check them for nicks. Examine the stainless steel guides for grooves. Replace them as needed as these notches and grooves will fray the line. Leaking waders should be thoroughly dried, patched, and hung for storage. Wash the mesh baskets to remove any remaining fish slime.
2. Maintenance of fishing tackle
Clean the rod blanks and cork handles to remove fish slime, sunscreen, and blood. Lubricate the threads and circlips on the roll mounts and dry them thoroughly before storing them in closed boxes. Clean rollers and grease gears. Light oil is best for parts that need to turn easily (e.g. spool shafts on baitcasting reels and crankshafts on all reels), while grease is better for gears. Loosen all drags.
3. Make some fishing tackle
The wader patch kit, consisting of patch material and adhesive, is ideal for on-site repairs. Another idea is a rod repair kit with replacement tips and guides.
4. Prepare for fishing next year
Examine your tackle box and replace lost or rusted items like pliers, tweezers, knives, tape measures and the like. While dismantling your tackle box, pull out your split ring pliers and replace worn or rusted split rings and hooks. Also, when repackaging your box, remember to reorganize it. What items have you used often that you couldn’t easily access? What items did you not use that were in the best room? Repack with a new order that will make next year easier.
5. How to properly maintain your fishing tackle
If you are new to fishing, find an experienced angler to help you clean and repair. Or go to a tackle shop as most of the people in the shop can watch you at work.
Take care of your fishing gear and your gear will take care of you.
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.