The countdown is on for all of us anxious anglers in the Southern Manitoba region. The 2015/16 season opener, which is traditionally the second Saturday in May, lands on the 9th this year. In stark contrast to last year’s opening day where we had to deal with flood waters and lingering ice cover, this year appears set to kick-off with prime conditions for open water fishing. If you are like me, to survive the next few agonizing weeks, I will pull out all of my gear and tackle and get them ready to go for the first trip on the water.
Fishing equipment such as rods and reels require periodic maintenance to ensure proper performance. They are often put away immediately after the last trip in the fall and forgotten about until this time of the year. It is always good practice to ensure that your equipment is working properly before you hit the water to avoid any surprises that may have occurred over the winter.
Reels should be taken apart, cleaned, and lubricated with reel lube. If you have spools lined with monofilament, these should be replaced with a fresh spool as this type of line gets weaker over time. If it is a larger reel, say like the ones paired with the longer ‘greenback’ surf rods, you can get away with stripping off a good length of the used line and start the season with the less exposed remaining spool. Reels with braided superline or nanofil are usually more resistant to degradation but should be checked for fraying or nicks and replaced as needed.
Wipe down all of your rods and check that all components are intact. Check the line eyes for chips or missing inserts and examine the rod blank for fractures or cracks. Setting the hook on that long-awaited first bite of the year and then having the line get cut or your rod breaking can quickly ruin your day.
Another important thing to go over thoroughly is your tackle. Tackle boxes, bags, and trays can get very disorganized and jumbled up over the course of a fishing season. This is a great time to tidy everything up and discard any items that are no longer useful or things that you do not plan on ever using. Rusty hooks, jigs, spoons, etc . are not the most effective tools for catching fish and should be cleaned up or replaced altogether.
Even equipment such as camping chairs, life jackets, landing nets, coolers, and anything else that you would normally take with you on a trip should be given the once over. Should an item need replacing or repair, it is always much better to know in advance instead of being disappointed when you get out there.
I always get my angling licence ahead of time and encourage anyone that I will be heading out with to do the same to avoid any delays in getting a line in the water come opening day. These can be purchased at any tackle store, sporting sections of the big box retailers, or some gas stations that advertise selling bait and tackle. As always, if you have any questions about anything fishing related or want to share your fishing pictures with our readers, don’t hesitate to email me.