Cold weather gives you time to get things organized and ready for Spring fishing.
The first signs of spring are finally beginning to appear in around my home in Tennessee. It's mid-March and normally by this time, my grass is growing, the trees are starting to bud, and the bass are thinking about moving into the shallows. But here, like in most parts of the country, it has seemed like winter would never loosen her grip. One week ago, the low temperature was 3 degrees and parts of our lakes were under ice. That might sound normal to many in the Midwest or Northeast, but not for us southerners.
I could gripe about the cold, but honestly, it has given me some unexpected time to get some things done that otherwise might have not gotten the attention they deserved. Although I love to compete and fish tournaments, I work full-time and own a business. Fortunately, work has been extremely busy. My work schedule, along with family, church and other obligations, have left my boat and fishing tackle in total disarray for the past five months. So, although I am tired of being cold, the cancellation of a few tournaments has allowed me the time to get organized for the upcoming season.
My new 2015 Triton 21TRX has been sitting in the garage, serving more as storage shelf than a tournament bass boat. However, last week in the brutal cold temperatures I took the time to re-evaluate and organize all of my tackle and my boat. Apart from just clearing out the clutter, I feel that organization is a very important part of being a successful tournament angler. Especially when time on the water is limited, the more organized I am and the better my equipment performs, the more efficient I can be.
Those of us who work full time and get one day (or sometimes less) to practice for a tournament must use our time wisely on the water if we want to be competitive. It is my goal, during my limited practice time, to use every minute to its maximum potential to help locate fish and develop a good pattern for the tournament. I want to know exactly where every crankbait, hook, and jig is, and be able to access them quickly. I want my rods and reels to function at their maximum ability. I want my electronics to be set up correctly so that I don't have to spend my valuable practice time messing with graphs and trying to get things to work the way I need them to.
While everyone's ideas of organization and preparation may differ, here are some things that I like to do to prepare of the upcoming year:
Clean and lubricate reels
I scrub them with soap and warm water, dry everything out and lightly lubricate the level wind, reel handles and all the moving parts.
Clean and check rods
I like to clean my cork handles with dish washing soap and check all my guides to make sure they are good to go.
Examine the fishing rod guides for scratches and snags. Replace promptly if the the guides are damaged in any way.
Organize terminal tackle
Over the course of a fishing season lots of junk accumulates in my hook and weight box.
I sort used hooks to use for practice or fun fishing and restock with new hooks. I throw away old rusty hooks.
Take an inventory of plastics baits
If you haven't ever just dumped all of your plastics on the garage floor and gone through them, you might not know what you have. I try to do this every year, then organize them into bins or on peg board.
This saves me hundreds of dollars every year because I don't buy another bag of Rodents or Rage Craws when I already had 10 bags that I couldn't remember I had.
I spent a few hours with my new Humminbird Onix units making sure they had the latest software updates, as well as setting up "favorites" or short-cut screens. This way when I do hit the water, I will be sure that my electronics (and me) are working at maximum efficiency.
I know when I finally make it to the lake this weekend that all of my tackle is in top working condition. I know where everything is in my boat. I know my electronics are set up right and ready to go.
Being organized saves valuable time on the water on practice and tournament days. That extra five minutes during the day can make all the difference come weigh-in time.
Now, I just wish I knew where to catch some big bass!
Until next time, keep chunkin’ and windin'.