By: Jeff Scoggin (AKA Deepstep)
As winter begins to fade and the first warmer days punch our river bass’n time clocks, it is easy to forget some simple steps that could make the difference between staying hooked up, or telling about the one that got away.
Rods are the tools we use to leverage heavy fish out of cover, or keep steady pressure on river bass using current against us. As river fishermen we are inherently harder on our equipment than our lake fishing brothers. A visual inspection of the rod itself is an important part of the spring cleaning process. Keep an eye out for cracks, breaks or weak spots that may result in poor performance or complete failure. If damage is present, it’s time to repair or replace the rod altogether. Another area to inspect is the rod guides. Take a cotton ball or Q-Tip and run it around each and every guide. If any cotton remains intact, your guide has a rough spot or burr, which will ultimately lead to a frayed and broken line. Replace any suspect guides for your own peace of mind. Rod handles can also be spruced up before the upcoming season. If the cork on your rod is full of dirt and grime, simply rub some fine grit sandpaper (220 works best for me) along the length to get it looking like new again. The last step I like to take is to wash the entire rod with mild soap and water and a soft-sided sponge. This will take off any water or dirt build-up from the previous year, and will leave you rod looking sharp and ready for attack.
Start with a visual inspection, again, noting any worn or broken parts. Items such as drag and braking systems should be checked carefully for smoothness of operation. These are all that stands between you and a giant. Open the reel up with a small screw driver and clean the gears with an old tooth brush. Make sure to reapply some reel grease and close them back up. Wipe the reel down with a clean, damp cloth to get all the grime off. The final step will be to strip old line off and replace it.
The final place to spend some preseason time is in the tackle bag. I like to take the approach that if I didn’t use it last year, I probably won’t this year. Spend some time prioritizing what you fished successfully last season. Often different types of baits may match your fishing style or area better than others. No reason to lug around extra weight in your kayak for no gain. If you have tons of extra stuff like I do, consider donating it to the riverbass’n camp for kids or better yet, buy a cheap taclke box and give the items to a local kid and take him/her fishing. Once your tackle has all been sorted and put back into your box, it’s now time to take an inventory. Make a list of lures that you are missing or that need to be replaced, and make it a priority to get out to the tackle shop at your earliest convenience. Don’t forget to check on the status of hooks, weights and other terminal tackle. (The last thing you want to do is start the season off missing some vital lures that will help you catch fish.)
It’s easy to ignore the maintenance our gear needs when the weather suddenly gets warmer and run out the back door with rod and paddle in hand. If we take the time now to take care of our gear, it will take care of us when it matters most this season.
Jeff became a published author by simply going to the riverbassin.com submit content section and sending us this great tip that we all need to hear. Thanks Jeff, RiverBassin.com staff