Lakecaster Online

Off-Season Bassin' Activities
By Len Fairbanks

Deer season is open, so is squirrel season and duck season. Football season is going strong and the NBA season has just kicked off. Thanksgiving season is upon us and the Yuletide season is right around the corner. With so many seasons and so much to do, it's easy to just put the boat in the garage, put those rods in the closet and forget about them 'til spring. That would be a mistake that could cost you that fish of a lifetime next spring. Following is a list of things that you can do while watching a football game or basketball game on the TV or while setting at deer camp with nothing to do. Each of these items may seem minor and insignificant but when they are added up, they can be the difference between a trophy on the wall and just another story about a big one that got away. Please remember that this list is only the beginning and is certainly not complete!!!

No. 1 Clean those reels - Today's modern reels really are mechanical marvels and they will absorb a tremendous amount of abuse, but at least once a year you should clean the exterior of the reels and oil the spool bearings. A complete disassembly and thorough cleaning is best, but it might be beyond your ability. If so, now is the time to take those reels down to the local tackle shop and get them taken care of.

No. 2 Change those rusty crankbait hooks - Now is the time to make sure that all of your crankbait hooks are sharp. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have brought a bass in on a crankbait and had them hooked on the outside of the mouth. If those hooks aren't super sharp, you will miss those fish and probably won't even know that you had a bite. So replace any hooks that are rusty and get a hook sharpener and make sure that every hook on every bait is needle sharp.

No. 3 Check the swivel on your spinnerbaits. I like to grab my spinnerbaits by the hook and wire so that the blade hangs free and give the blade a good thump with your middle finger. Once you do a few, it'll be easy to see the ones that need to be replaced. I usually replace mine with Sampo ball bearing swivels of the same size that came on the bait. I want that spinnerbait blade turning at the slightest movement and the only way to be sure that it will is to try each one. Also while you're checking those swivels, check those spinnerbait hooks and make sure that they are needle sharp and replace those nasty, dirty, stained skirts.

No. 4 Run a piece of cotton through each one of your rod guides to check for rough spots and burrs. If you find any, then replace that guide.

No. 5 Put fresh line on all of those reels. Monofilament line breaks down with exposure to sunlight and even though it may look new, it is one of the cheapest items of fishing equipment to replace.

Hopefully, this short list has got your mind working. There is plenty more to be done, like organizing those worm bags and replacing the batteries in the digital scale where did I put those split ring pliers?

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