There’s no better time than the dark days of winter to check on the condition of your fishing gear.
Let’s start with hooks. Chances are some were dulled when you bounced them off the rocks last summer. Is there a barb missing on some of your trebles? Replace the hooks that need replacing and sharpen those that are still in good shape.
I also use my downtime to take care of the skirts on my spinnerbaits. Sprays are available to spray on rubber skirts so the tails stay separated. Taking care of the skirts on your spinnerbaits or other lures is another of those little details so easily taken care of when the winter winds are blowing.
Do it now and next spring you won't lose valuable fishing time when you reach into your bass box to get your favorite black and chartreuse Mack’s Lure Stan’s Spin spinnerbait only to find it looks like the last rose of summer the year of the blight.
While hook sharpeners and skirt sprays are great items for getting tackle into shape, don't despair if you don't have them. There are a jillion other things you can do. They range from painting plugs to polishing spinners.
Like me, you may have found certain lure colors more effective than others last season. A variety of paints are available. I purchase some of them from auto supply houses. Another great spot to find such items is the Netcraft catalog. If you’re really into fishing, you should have one. You can visit the Netcraft website at www.jannsnetcraft.com and get all the details.
Let's consider how a western steelheader can spend spare time profitably. If you've read my book, "Catch More Steelhead," you know there's a chapter titled "Do It In Advance." Often winter steelheading means repeated casting in temperatures near freezing and water temperatures not much warmer.
They say the future belongs to the guy who prepares for it. I'll go along with that because when it comes to steelhead fishing the prepared angler is going to wind up with more fish.
One of the simple but important things a steelheader can do in advance is pre-tie his leader and hook setups. Do it on those dreary winter days you can't fish. It applies whether you are using natural bait or artificial lures. That’s one of the things I especially like about certain of the Mack’s Lure products. Many come already rigged and with a leader attached. All you need do is tie a loop in the end of your leader and you’re ready to go.
Many Mack's Lures are available rigged & ready. I like to take mine out of the original package and stick them in a small plastic bag like that pictured here. Then they go into a pocket of my fishing vest.
And that’s just for starters. Mack’s has a couple other items that are a “must” for the serious angler who wants to take the misery out of trying to make freezing fingers do what’s needed out there on the riverbank.
The items I’m talking about are the Mack’s Lure Pip’s boxes. If there’s a better means of storing pre-rigged hooks and leaders, I’ve not seen it. The Pip’s boxes now come in two sizes. The larger of the two boxes, the one called the Pip’s Leader Caddy, permits storing stouter outfits, double hooked rigs and leaders tied with drift bobbers.
The original Pip’s Box has been around for a long time. I don’t have to detail the benefit it and the new model give the steelhead angler or for that matter fishermen in general.
I favor using a snap swivel at the end of my main line. When I have the inevitable hang up and bust off a lure---out comes my Pip’s Box. I simply remove a pre-rigged outfit. I hang the loop at the end of the leader into my snap and I’m back in business.
|Having rigs tied up and ready to go are a tremendous help any time, but especially so in cold weather when half frozen fingers don't always cooperate. Pre-rigging your hooks and leaders in a Pip's Leader Caddy like that shown here make it easy.
I’ve a suggestion if you’ve never used a Pip’s Box or if you’re uncertain how they work. If you’re reading this column you obviously have computer access. Go to the listing for the Mack’s Lure catalog. When it comes up, click on Pip’s Boxes. At the top of the next screen you’ll find a listing for a Pip’s Box video. Click on it and your monitor screen will show a brief video of how this handy storage device functions.
I do most of my fly tying in the winter. It’s a great time to stock up on productive patterns. I never put the finishing touches on a proven pattern without catching myself grinning because I know what I'm going to do with that fly once the snowflakes quit flying.
As I’ve said before, the next best thing to fishing is making preparations for the time when you can. You’re a cinch to get a good return on the time investment you make doing so.