By Captain Steve Chaconas
It’s time to fish, unless you’re a diehard and have been out during the winter.
If you haven’t prepared your tackle for this season, it’s not too late. Here are a few tips on replenishing, repairing and replacing what’s in your tackle box.
Start with the lures you will be using first. Lipless cranks, jerkbaits and medium diving crankbaits. Plano 3700 boxes, BPS or other brand are the perfect size to organize lures for most well thought out boat storage systems. My Skeeter has dividers for them.
Changing hooks is the best way to ensure you’ll hook and land more fish. While you are removing the hook, it’s also a good time to use some jig and vinyl paint to touch up some of the battle scars on your lures. Jann’s Netcraft has the paint and brushes for this. Q-Tips and pipe cleaners will work in a pinch.
Go through every crankbait and replace hooks or sharpen with a stone sharpener. KVD short shank Mustad Ultra Point Triple grips allow for bigger hooks, an advantage for every lure. The angled hook helps keep fish from throwing crankbaits.
Using a stone hook sharpener will put a point on dulled hooks. Feel for a burr on the tip of the point by pushing a thumb up the hook point to the tip. Not enough metal to sharpen, then replace. The point should catch thumbnail when sharp.
Consider replacing line tie split rings with oval split rings on all crankbaits. This will keep the split from altering the direction of the bait and will always allow knots to be tied away from the split. A good pair of split ring pliers will make this easier and with a little practice, one hook can go on as one comes off.
Lipless crankbaits can be sorted by size, color, and sound. Subtle differences in the width of the nose will affect the depth and ease of slowing down. Use a sensitive scale, like a Weight Watchers, to dial in on the precise weight of various brands.
For jerkbaits, start with suspending lures. Sort them by length and color. Replace hooks here too but use round bend Mustad trebles with a red hook on the belly. Test at home in various water temperatures to find the perfect suspending lure and mark temperature on it with a Sharpie.
Carry Storm Suspend Dots or Strips to add weight to jerkbaits. This will help baits to suspend or allow them to sink slowly. A nose down or tail down presentation can be achieved with the placement of the weighted strips.
Then it’s medium diving, 4-6 foot depth, crankbaits. Replace the hooks and touch up too. Sort by color, shape (thin and fat body), and sound (silent and loud), and the length of the diving lip.
Conduct a thorough rod guide examination, looking for chipped or cracked guides. Pay particular attention to the tip then work your way back to the butt of the rod. Chances are if your tip is OK, then the rest are too, but check them all and replace if you can or take to a rod shop.
Before heading to the water with last year’s line, strip, and re-spool. Tie fresh line onto backing with a uni knot, you won’t use as much line and it’s always fresher. Put the line type and size on a sticker and place on the reel foot.
Oil reels sparingly while changing the line to work it into the reel. For spinning reels, it’s a drop on the line roller, reel bearings and where the handle goes. For casting reels, a drop on bearings on the side plate and under the spool adjustment cap and a drop on the worm gear.
Chances are if you didn’t use a lure last year, you won’t this year so replace it.
With these simple preparations, your first cast will be ready with more than luck.