With spring just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for this year’s fishing season. The time has come to gather up the fishing rods, reels, and tackle boxes and locate all the fishing hardware in order to take inventory and make a list of the items to be replaced. The easiest place to start is with tools. Look over pliers, hook sharpeners, line cutters, etc., and see if a little WD-40 can clean them up and make them serviceable, or if they need to be replaced. Don’t forget to check the landing nets to make sure they are not damaged or broken.

The rods and reels will take a bit of work, because it’s necessary to strip 1/2 to 2/3 of the line off each reel and rewind the reel with fresh fishing line. Don’t throw the old line in the trash (we don’t need it in a landfill). Bundle it up and drop it by FishTech tackle store in Morton Grove, where they will recycle it.

Next are the tackle box(es), the hardest part for me. I inspect the lures to make sure the hooks are not rusting and the rubber skirts are still usable. Then I divide the plastic lures by color, since they can get mixed up in the course of a year’s fishing. I try to remove the baits I never used last year so I can keep the ones I had been catching fish with and add new ones.

I usually need to take a break from tackle sorting. That’s when I go online and get my fishing licenses for this coming year. The Illinois license from last year expires on March 31, as does the Wisconsin license. Minnesota’s license expired Feb. 28. It is easy to apply for and purchase licenses online from the website of each State Department of Natural Resources. Those planning a trip this year should purchase a license now rather than waiting to get it at the vacation spot. That way, no holiday time is lost.

Let’s start getting that gear ready.

Until next time…keep a tight line.