For those fortunate anglers that live in areas where Mother Nature is less harsh during the winter months, their boats and lines never stay dry throughout the year, but for anglers in the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada, we have an “off-season.”
Here are some offseason tasks that will keep you busy during these winter months, but also get you ready for the upcoming fishing season include:
- Clean your rods and reels and make sure they are up for another season on the water. It is important to check the insert in the rod guides for any nicks, as this could cost you a fish down the road. The easiest way to do this is to take a Q-Tip and run it through the guides and see if the cotton gets snagged on anything.
- If you feel comfortable cleaning your own reels, now is a good time to do so. Going back to that drawer of Q-Tips with some water can clean out a lot of last season’s gunk and grime from the reel. Along with applying some oil and grease to the key parts of the reel can have those reels working in prime form all season long! If you reel needs more in-depth maintenance then taking it to an authorized reel repair center is a great idea.
- When you are done cleaning your reels and have removed the old fishing line and discarded it properly, I will loosen up my drag and tension knob on the reels. This way the reel’s inner workings get to relax for a bit, as I won’t spool up my reels with new Seaguar line until I get close to my first fishing trip of the year.
- Depending on how you store your rods in the off-season and in your boat, picking up some more rod sleeves could be a very valuable investment. I’ll keep all of my rods in rod sleeves all winter long as it keeps the grim and dust in the garage from collecting on them.
- Most anglers over the winter have already gone through their tackle, sorted it, and sorted it again. One thing that I make sure I do during this prep period is to check the treble hooks on my crankbaits and topwaters for any damage, or with new baits, I’ll use a split-ring plier to put on some new super-sharp Lazer TroKar Treble hooks and extra strong split rings on my baits.
- Since safety on the water is so important, I’ll check my life jackets and rain gear for any holes, rips, or tears. It is especially important to check your inflatable life jackets to make sure they are properly charged and in working order.
- Now is a great time to organize all those important waypoints on your electronics. I’ll turn on all of my Humminbird HELIX and SOLIX units and export all of my waypoints, tracks, and routes to an SD card. I’ll then import them onto my computer and rename, delete and save them to corresponding lake files that I have. I like to use the Humminbird PC Program and LakeMaster Contour Elite software. This way, I have them backed up, should anything happen. This also is a preemptive step as next spring; I’ll restore all the defaults on my units and install any system updates that are available.
Well off to the shop I go, I have reels to clean and tackle organize and hopefully, we have a nice early spring!