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We’re getting close to that exciting time of year, at least for me, when the ice goes off the lakes and spring fishing begins in a major way. I know that there are some anglers already fishing open water in the area, like at Navy Pier for perch and Busse Lake for early season walleye, but for the rest of us we’re still 3 to 4 weeks away from fishing.

This window of opportunity before we start fishing again is a great time to get our gear ready for this year’s” trophy” fish. Let start with the tackle box or boxes and get them ready. We need to open them up and see what condition all our baits are in, if we put in a moisture pouch in the fall this step should be a quickie, if not we could be here awhile. First you should remove any baits that you did not use last year, there’s no sense carrying stuff you’re not using, instead make room for the lures and baits that you do use. Check all the hooks for rust, and using a scuff pad or steel wool get the rust of the hooks so that the metal doesn’t deteriorate, sharpen all the hooks. Check your inventory of terminal gear; snap swivels, split rings, snap locks, split shots, etc. and replace as needed. Next it’s time to replace the line on your fishing reels, you don’t need to replace all of it, but you should peel off about 2/3 of the line and put fresh line on for the new season, just tie the ends together and spool up the new line. This is less expensive to spool on new line then to lose a big fish when old line breaks. While you have the line off of the reel, it’s a great time to apply some lubricant to the reel to ensure smooth operation this spring and summer. Last, but not least, check your fishing rods for loose guides, broken tips or cracked ceramics in the guides. Loose guides can be repaired with a small application of super glue; broken tips can be replaced with kits available in most tackle stores.

A little preventive maintenance early and go a long way to ensuring a worry free fishing season. Let’s get ready for fishing, until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.