Make sure gear is ready for open water season

First Posted: 1/3/2015

If you are like me, you likely received some fishing, hunting or some kind of outdoor sporting activity presents for Christmas.

While I’d love to try some of the crappie baits I received, it’s not practical now. Nor will it be with some frigid temperatures coming in the next few days.

While that idea will move to the back burner for a while, there are some things anglers should have taken care of in the late fall or should soon if you procrastinated.

Gear should have had a maintenance review and then be properly stored away for the open water season.

Before putting away tackle boxes, check hooks on lures to see if they need sharpening or need replacing. Lures get lost while fishing. Make a list of which ones and colors you prefer you need to add to your tackle box. I keep extra lures and flies stored away (buy them when you see them on sale or on a bargain table) so I can replace worn out ones or lost ones in my tackles boxes and bags.

Check your rods and clean them. Make sure tips and guides are not loose. Fix these problems or if you are not sure how to do it, have someone do it for you.

Take reels apart to clean them as well as oil and grease them. If you are not comfortable doing this, have them done professionally. Loosen the drag completely on bait casters.

Make a note to replace line before you head out to open water. If you fly fish, clean the line with soap and water.

Store your equipment out of the sunlight. Store your rods vertically. This avoids having any bends occur in them.

Check out waders and hip boots. Make sure they are aired out completely. Always hang them upside down when they are not being used. Special hangers are available for this. Also, check them for any leaks. Leaks are not always easily found. Pinhole ones can be detected by putting a flashlight inside the waders in a dark room.

This also is a perfect time of year to scope out your local bait and tackle shops or even one of the giants like Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shoppes. I know few anglers who don’t purchase some kind of equipment each year.

It’s also a good time to get online and see what kind of lake maps are available. You may find one for a lake you have always wanted to fish or if you are planning on heading out of the area or out of state, many state department of natural resources have a plethora of maps available. These maps often highlight shore features, vegetation and other water body specifics.

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A tournament on Indian Lake will be part of an expanded 2015 FLW College Fishing season.

The tourney is slated for July 11 and is the second of three Northern Conference tourneys. The others are on Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Va., on May 9 and on Chautauqua Lake in Jamestown, N.Y., on Aug. 1. The conference championship will be held Sept. 12-13 on Chesapeake Bay in Northeast, Md.

The northern Conference is one of five conferences on the circuit. Others are Central, Western, Southern and Southeastern. The Northern includes Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Indiana and Kentucky are part of the Central Conference,

The top 15 teams in each qualifying tourney advance to the conference championship. The top 10 teams at the conference event qualify for the national championship.

The program was expanded this year to allow full-time graduate students at four-year colleges and full-time undergraduate students at community colleges to participate. Participants must be members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university. Teams can register by calling 270-252-1000.

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Cabela’s World Walleye Championship will be held on Lake Erie in Huron on Oct. 21-24.

Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit season has expanded to 11 regular season events.

None of the regular season events are on Lake Erie, but some of the sites are familiar to walleye anglers. Among them is the opener on the Detroit River out of Saint Clair Shores, Mich., on April 17-18. Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin, Little Bay De Noc in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Devils Lake in North Dakota and the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa, are familiar walleye waters.

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