Soon enough, Christmas will be behind us. Then comes the long wait for spring. That’s a tough time, but you can shorten it by tinkering with your tackle and, at the same time, make next year’s fishing more efficient.
Organizing what you already own is a good place to start. Take it all out of the boxes, spread it out on a table or bench and inventory what’s there. If you need a particular crankbait, plastic bait or anything else you’ll quickly realize it. Make a list and you’re half-way home.
While you’re doing that I suggest you look over everything. If something needs cleaned or repaired, do it. Crankbaits can be easily cleaned with toothpaste. It’ll take off darn near anything, including rust stains. If necessary, remove the split rings and hooks. Put whatever replacements you’ll need on your list.
Do this early in the year and you’ll have time to compare prices and offerings from several tackle shops or online retailers before you restock. You’ll be surprised at all the products that are available and at the price differences between retailers — brick and mortar as well as online.
If you’re really into bass fishing you might want to have some of your crankbaits hand-painted. That has the advantage of showing the fish something they’ve never seen before, but it has the disadvantage of being a little expensive. Most of the better painters are local guys with small operations. Ask around at your next club meeting for a recommendation.
Clean your rods with Windex or with line dressing. Pay particular attention to the eyes. Sometimes gunk will build up on them over the course of a season. If that happens, it’ll shorten your casts.
You can clean the exterior of your reels, clean and lubricate the worm gear and maybe put a drop of oil on the gears. That’ll make a big difference in how they perform. But, a word of caution is in order here. Be very careful about taking them apart.
Modern reels are complicated examples of modern engineering. Do this only if you’re mechanically inclined and if you know what you’re doing. I’ve tried it myself. It didn’t go well. The parts didn’t go back together exactly like they came apart. I send mine out now.
Note: I don’t replace my line — or my hooks for that matter — until I’m getting ready for a tournament. You never know exactly what you’re going to need until you check out the local conditions.
A really fun thing to do is to pour your own jigs and shaky heads. It’s easy and there are several good molds available. Some of the better ones are at Jann’snetcraft.com and Do-itmolds.com. Check them out. You’d be surprised at how many of the Elite Series pros are making their own these days. You can paint them a couple of different ways depending upon how much work and money you want to put into the project.
Something else you might want to take a look at is making your own jig, spinnerbait and vibrating jig skirts. That’s a really good way to match the hatch on your lake perfectly, or to create something unique. You can get everything you need from Jann’snetcraft.com or from Fishingskirts.com.
All of the places I’ve recommended for jigs, shaky heads and skirts have tutorials. They’re good. I highly recommend you watch them before you start a project.
Don’t sit around this winter doing nothing while waiting for spring. Spend your time productively tinkering with your tackle. When spring does arrive you’ll be glad you did.