Bass anglers across the country know the term cabin fever. It happens to most of us every winter. You fish during the year and when the tough fall fishing comes, you might not fish as much. Maybe you are a hunter and spend the fall in the woods and not on the water. Either way, you start to feel the need to set the hook on something with a big mouth. The problem is that the lakes could be frozen or the cold temps just make it very unpleasant to go fishing. This is called cabin fever.
This time period is one of my favorites, because I get time to go through my bass fishing tackle and prepare for the next season. Being a pro bass angler does require more preparation time than most other anglers, however any bass fisherman should enjoy this process. I start by laying everything out and group baits by category. This gives me the opportunity to get an inventory of what I have. If I am low on Bruiser Flash D Bombs or Spring Craw Little Johns, I can see that and get more. I also look through to see what I did not throw much the year before. I will make the evaluation to take those baits out of the rotation or make a note to throw them more next year.
Hooks and terminal tackle are the biggest overlooked items to not forget. I use a bunch of different Gamakatsu hooks in my fishing. Making sure I have all the ones I need is important for me. The terminal tackle like weights, snaps, swivels, and beads are also really important. If you throw a Carolina rig much, you need a number of different components to make sure to are ready. Tungsten weights are expensive so preparing early like this can be the best way to let you find the ones you really want.
The other preparation during this time of year is to make reservations for fishing trips for the year. With my tournament schedule, I am forced to travel to fish, but it gives me time to look ahead. I get to think about all the fun places we are going to fish. If you don’t travel normally for your bass fishing, plan at least one bass fishing trip. Doing these reservations during the cabin fever time is like therapy. It gives you something to look forward to.
Most anglers don’t get a new boat every year but as a pro bass angler, I have the added planning and preparing of a new boat each year. I do most all of my own rigging and it is time consuming. If you already own a boat, this should be the time of year when you do all your maintenance. Changing lower unit oil is something that should be done every year. Checking the power in your batteries and fixing little things during this cabin fever time give you more time to actually fish once the weather breaks.
Many years I feel like I needed more cabin fever time to prepare my tackle and boat for the season. I hope that gives you an understanding of how much I do in the winter. I think it is important for me to spend this time in order to perform at the top level. Even if you are not competitive in bass tournaments, it is much better to spend this time preparing now than when you really want to be fishing.