The fall and winter hunting seasons are now history with most outdoorsmen storing their bows and rifles until next August.
That means it’s time to pull those fishing rods off the rack and complete a little preseason maintenance in preparation for early spring bass, crappie and trout fishing. It doesn’t take much time and it is the perfect project for a late winter weekend and it will make that first outing of the spring much more enjoyable.
The first step is to strip the line down to the bare spool if you have an open-face spinning reel. Most medium-sized reels have a capacity of approximately 50 yards, so it is a minimum investment to ensure better casting and fewer lost fish because of abrasions in the monofilament.
After cleaning any dirt or old oil spots with a small brush or soft rag, apply a drop of Quantum Hot Sauce reel oil to any of the exterior moveable parts. If you take the spool off the spindle, make sure all the parts remain in place, then carefully complete the cleaning process and again apply a single drop to the moving parts.
A word of warning: too much lubricant can greatly reduce the performance of the reel.
The same process should be used for a bait-casting reel, with the exception of keeping some of the old line on the spool for backing near the spindle because this line is never used when fishing for bass. I would only lubricate the exterior moving parts on a bait-caster and when repairs are necessary or interior cleaning is needed, then send the reel back to the manufacturer for servicing.
The next step is to check the fishing rod for any obvious broken tips or guides, which will need immediate repair. The ceramic insert in the tip or guides can be fractured or chipped and this may not be obvious at a casual glance. The best way to determine a break is by pulling a small cotton ball through the eye or guide and if the fiber is held, there is probably a fracture, which needs to be repaired. Monofilament line rubbing against these chipped spots will quickly lose tensile strength and may result in the loss of that trophy fish.
If you have any questions or want a free examination of your favorite fishing rod, give Jim Goughnour of Rim Country Rod Repair a call at (928) 468-0263 and he can give you that professional advice before your first trip. A quick repair can add so much enjoyment to any spring fishing trip.
Finally, when respooling that reel, use a line that corresponds to the fish and habitat. In most waters for trout fishing 4- to 6-pound test is sufficient for any medium or lightweight spinning combination.
If the destination is Roosevelt Lake for springtime crappie fishing, then 6- to 8-pound test is recommended, depending on how close one plans to fish to the brush line.
Of course, bass fishing will require various line sizes depending on the technique and the habitat in which the fish are located.
Berkley products offer a wide variety of lines; its Trilene is the most popular for most weekend fishermen. Their newest line is a real innovation called TransOptic, which is high-visibility gold above the water line and clear beneath the surface. This will aid the angler in seeing the strike and still be invisible to the fish!
Berkley continues to make a great product even better.
Don’t wait; get that fishing equipment ready for that first trip to the lake. Good fishing is right around the corner.
This weekend, enjoy the Arizona outdoors — God’s creation.