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Colder weather is definitely upon us. The subject of my last column was winterizing the boat and motor for winter. Now it is time to talk about getting the rest of the gear ready for winter: the tackle box, the fishing reels and the fishing rods.

Preparing the tackle box for winter storage involves a combination of cleaning and sorting. The most important thing is to ensure that all moisture is out of the box.

While going through the box to check for moisture, think about which lures were used most during the year.

Consider putting only the most-used back in the box. Fishermen tend to buy fishing lures that attract them more than fish. Eliminate those and it will be possible to carry a smaller tackle box, which is easier to maintain.

Check all the lures for moisture, and wipe them dry – especially the hook – to prevent rusting over the winter. Check at one of the local craft stores for silica gel. These little packets can be placed in a tackle box to absorb moisture over the winter.

Next check fishing rods for damage to the line guides and guide wraps. Simply wipe the inside of the guide with a cotton swab. If the cotton sticks to the guide, there is a nick in the surface that will damage the fishing line.

Guides can be repaired and/or replaced by professional rod-repair shops. And brighten up cork handles that are looking a little worse for the wear by using a sheet of 1,200-grit sandpaper, available at most hardware stores.

Fishing reels take some winter care as well. Start by removing about 1/2 to 3/4 of the line from the spool. This makes it necessary to put fresh line on this coming spring instead of fishing with the old line, which is very prone to failure.

Wipe down and lubricate the reels before storage. Then release the drag system completely, removing the pressure in order to prevent the springs and magnets from premature failure. Consider wrapping the reels in something to keep off dust and dirt until they are used next.

For those of us who are not ready to put our equipment away, there are reports of big fish being caught on Lake Geneva, Lake Delevan and Big Green Lake — walleye, bluegills, and smallmouth bass. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.