Groundhog Day 2016 and Phil didn't see his shadow, meaning an earlier spring is on the way. Reality is, here in the south, we have enjoyed several spans of warmer than average days. Last week was mostly in the 70's with mild nights.
After a long layoff from fishing, I like to go through a checklist to make sure my gear is in top condition.
1. Line - The first thing I like to check on is the condition of my line. I use braided lines that can wear over the course of a summer. I typically like to change lines at the beginning of a new season. I leave the backing on the reel but replace the braided portion with fresh line so I get the very best hook ups possible.
3. Hard Body Baits - I know all of you keep your tackle perfectly ordered all year long and never are guilty of throwing a bait in the wrong box during the heat of battle. BAH! We have all done it, right? This is a great time to re-organize your boxes and double check if anything should be replaced or discarded.
4. Hooks - While organizing, I make sure to double check the status of the hooks on every bait. Check for rust, bending and replace where necessary. Treble hooks have become rather easy to remove and replace using split ring pliers.
5. Terminal Tackle - Weights, beads, rattles, jig-heads, needle-nose pliers, etc. Make sure your brother-in-law hasn't borrowed what you think is in your bag. Just the moment you need it and it isn't there, you'll thank me for this checklist - LOL!
7. Duplicate - I cannot emphasize this enough. If there is a certain bait you catch fish with routinely and you only have one of them in your bag...it's a mistake. Having a backup is a minimum in my experience. Personally, I am all about letting someone else catch fish too, so I keep 3 or more of my very best baits on hand so that when I am catching I can share the wealth.
8. Reduce - There is nothing wrong with getting rid of some things that you just aren't confident in to begin with. If you never use a particular lure or set-up, let it go. You can always try it again when a particular situation calls for it. Why lug around stuff that you are never going to use?
Enjoy the changing of the seasons, warmer days and lovely sunsets and may there be bass under all your Lilly-pads!