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The weather is beginning to break and spring is just around the corner (I hope), and a lot needs to done to prepare for the coming fishing season. Tackle boxes need to be opened up and checked for condition; fishing rods should be checked for damage to guides and handles. Fishing reels need to be lubricated and the old fishing line stripped off and replaced with fresh fishing line. For some, the boat needs to be scheduled for spring start-up and de-winterization.

A tackle box that has not been opened since that last fishing trip will probably reveal some pretty rusty-looking hooks on most of the tackle. Take a little time to get the rust off the hooks and put a fresh point on them. A tip to prevent this next year: Purchase a 3-in-1 Rust Inhibitor and place in the tackle box all summer, then replace with a fresh one next winter.

This is a great time to look through the tackle box and remove the tackle not used last season (because it will probably be unused this season as well); lighten the load and make room for the new lures.

Check fishing-rod guides for tightness and run a cotton swab inside the guides; if the cotton catches on a nick so will the line. Replacement guides can be purchased, but professional service is also available for repairs.

Peel about half the line from last year off the reel, tie on some fresh line and re-spool. Using old line that was exposed to sun and weather and then stored all winter can make the old more brittle – and it would be awful to lose a nice fish this spring because the old line snapped.

Next weekend I’ll be getting the boat ready for spring fishing. I have a lot of stuff that I take off for the winter: locators, batteries, tackle boxes, rods and reels that need to go back on the boat. The engine will get started and burn off the fogging oil, and the lower unit needs fresh lubricant. Then I’ll check all the bolts on the trailer to make sure they’re tight.

I’m looking forward to a great season. Early warm-ups are a good sign for a strong spring fishing season. Let’s get ready; time is getting short. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.