The weather is still speaking winter but spring is not far off, a good time to sort through gear to be ready when the first weather permits a fishing day.
There really is no perfect place to begin; I usually start with the fishing rods and reels, because they’re the easiest to access in the storage area.

First, we remove last year’s fishing line from the reels, applying lubrication to the gears and spool on fresh line. It is recommended to leave the drag setting very loose until you go fishing, then tighten it up.

You should clean your rods with a soft cloth. Use #300 grit sandpaper on the cork grips to bring them back to shape. Check the guides using a cotton swab and replace any of the guides that have nicks.

The next project should be the tackle box. Begin by sorting out the lures and putting them where they belong – in the back, rather than where you dropped them on your last fishing trip.

Then check for rust on the hooks and clean that off with a file, sandpaper or steel wool. When you get the rust off, put a little WD-40 on the metal to prevent re-rusting.
This is a good time to examine what lures were used and which ones never left the tackle box. Then decide: do I really need to keep those lures in the box or can they be moved to the back-up supply in the storage box? This will allow for room to install new lures or additional supplies of the lures that were used a lot last season.
Review what you have planned this coming year for fishing trips and make sure to have the lures you want and need.

Check all the other gear and tools; check landing nets for torn webbing, loose handle or bent frames. These should be repaired or replaced before the season. There are usually sales going on in early spring (like now). Check all tools – pliers, knives, etc. – for rust, then clean or replace. Don’t forget to check life jackets for fit and hardware – better now than when you first put them on.

This should get you ready for when the weather warms up and you can head out for the open water and the first fishing of the spring.
Until next time…keep a tight line.