By Steve Graf
Now that the fall feeding spree is just about over and bass have headed for their winter haunts, it is a great time to start preparing for the upcoming season. For many anglers, the new season starts the first weekend of January. So, what to do now? Let’s start with taking care of any maintenance and repairs that relate to all your equipment. Most anglers have a fishing room or man cave where they store, clean, repair, lube, and re-spool all their reels. It’s a good time to check rod eyes for frayed edges that can cause fishing lines to break on the hook set. A fishing room is an angler’s sanctuary, a place where we can get away from all the noise of the holiday’s and focus on getting our gear ready for another season. You want to try and control as many facets or variables of fishing as you can like equipment and boat maintenance. Some anglers neglect this portion of work that’s not fun, but necessary.
Another area that anglers need to focus on is boat maintenance. As soon as my last tournament is over, which is usually by November 1st, I’ll make an appointment with my boat dealer to take care of any routine service work like changing my engine lower unit oil and replacing spark plugs and water pumps. As the old saying goes, “You can either pay me now or pay me later.” Preventative maintenance goes a long way in helping me to avoid motor breakdowns. I think this is one reason I’ve had very little issues with my Yamaha motor over the years. This type of maintenance is even more important today than in years past, since now parts are so hard to come by. Part shortages like computer chips and power packs continue to plague boat dealers due to Covid issues and shipping issues from China. Spending the preventative money now, will save you repair money later.
Next thing to do… clean up and rearrange your fishing room. After a long season of taking tackle boxes in and out of my boat and fishing room, it’s usually a big mess. I’m an angler that likes to be organized. I hate digging and looking for something. I want to be able to go directly to a certain spot and pull whatever I need off the shelf. One item that helps me with being organized is a label maker. There are several on the market and all will do a great job. It also makes it easier to walk into your fishing room and find what you’re looking for. The same goes for storing boxes in your boat. You don’t want to waste valuable fishing time looking for a tackle simply because you’re not organized. In tournament fishing, time is money, and looking for a tackle means you’re not fishing.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a tournament angler, the things I’ve mentioned above are critical in helping you to eliminate and control some of the variables that can keep you from being productive on the water. Tournament anglers are some of the most detailed people you will ever meet, and they understand that fishing is more than just luck; it’s all about preparation. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!