Spring is just around the corner. What is uncertain is how far away that corner is. People are getting very eager for open water – and for what there is reason to hope will be a great year for fishing.

With the extent of the ice cover and its extreme depth on all the Great Lakes, and with the warm-up coming much later, the ice-off date will be late this year, too. This all will contribute to a much cooler lake all year, and it will be surprising if beach temperatures rise above the 60s this summer. This is bad news for the beach-goers, but very good news for fishermen: It will make for healthier grass beds and weed beds, and will keep more fish closer to shore.

With the prospect of a great season on the big lake, this is a good time to get some gear ready. (It may also allay some cabin fever.) The priority is to one’s fishing line, the most direct link between fisherman and fish.

Old line that has sat all winter wrapped tightly on the reel will have a memory that will decrease casting distance and lure depth. For anyone who has broken off and retied a few times, the odds are good that the amount of line on the reel is incorrect. As this also impacts cast ability, what will work is to pull off about two-thirds of the line, tie on some braided line and fill up the spool. The braided line is extremely abrasion-resistant and very castable. After that one can tie on about 20 feet of 10-lb test fluorocarbon as a leader: It is almost invisible and has great sensitivity and knot strength.

Well, that takes care of the first rod and reel. There are only 29 more to go, but they should be done by the time the ice goes out on Lake Michigan. An early start will ensure readiness – for whenever Spring finally shows up.

Until next time … keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.