Preparing for Fishing Season, Part 1 - Tackle
At this very moment in British Columbia, some people are worried about Japanese radiation, others are worried about earthquakes, and Vancouver cyclists are worried about getting nailed by cars. Me, I'm just worried that my tackle order won't be in for the start of the fishing season. However, in the meantime, I can make sure the stuff I've got will be ready to go for opening day.Whether you're a beginner, a weekend angler, or a total die-hard, having your tackle prepared ahead of time is going to (1) make things easier once you're on the water, (2) help save time by allowing you to find exactly what you're looking for, and (3) save you money by keeping your baits in optimum condition.Here's a few things to consider when you're sitting in your garage/shed/man-cave preparing your tackle and pining for the start of fishing season:1. Get the Rust Out.
It seems no matter how hard I try to keep my baits dry over the winter, moisture always seems to find it's way in and rust up my baits. So the first thing I do when I'm getting my tackle prepared for the coming season is to empty all my lures out of the trays into plastic bags and clean the rust stains out of the trays. The next thing I do is take a bucket full of CLR (available at Canadian Tire) and mix it with water and soak my rusty lures in it. After the soak, scrub the lure with a wire brush to get the rest of that rust off. This stuff works amazing at getting the rust off and has rejuvenated lures that appeared to be more rust than metal.CLR loosens up the rust on well-worn lures.
Some other key tools to have for this lengthy process include old toothbrushes, SOS pads, a sink basin, and assorted rags or paper towels.Not only does it clear off the rust, but it also makes your lures shiny and more noticeable for the right crowd.2. Organization (specifically for tackle nuts)
If you're already using the tray system for keeping your baits organized skip this part, but if you're still using a tackle box consider the following. (1) By switching to trays you can keep similar types of baits together to make it easy to pick out a specific one. (2) By having a variety of trays to choose from, you can pick and choose which ones you pick each time you go fishing. (3) Trays are huge for saving space. You can cram a ton of baits into a small area, and bring as many options as possible each time you go fishing.The Plano 3700 series is the standard for tackle trays, to take a further look check out the Plano Website
. Here's some extra tips for organizing your stuff: (1) Put a label on the end of each tray (e.g. crankbaits) so it's easy to identify which is which when you're searching. (2) Use trays where the compartments match the baits inside (e.g. long compartments for crankbaits and topwaters, smaller ones for jigs and jig trailers). (3) For baits in danger of rusting, use waterproof trays such as the Berkley Gulp! trays found here. These trays also work magically for keeping especially smelly, or scented lures contained, as once those seals are closed, they're locked (seriously, my Gulp! baits didn't even dry out during the off-season).Finally, you'll want to make sure you have a few extra trays for day-to-day fishing. There are going to be situations where you can only bring a few trays (like fishing in your buddys' boat), so it's good to have a few trays where you can keep the baits you feel are going to work the best on that given day. This also works well for tournament fishing, as having one tray with all the baits you expect to use can save you time searching through your tackle for the hot bait.3. Storage
If you haven't quite made it to tackle nut yet, count your blessings, and be glad that you can fit all your tackle in a bag or box every time you go fishing.However, if you're a die-hard tackle nut, storing baits becomes a science, a tetris-like game of cramming as much stuff into as small of an area as possible. Make sure to store trays label side up to make identification easy, and definitely make sure you're storing in a waterproof container.If you're like me, you like to keep your baits/lures in their packages as long as possible, however, this also requires using more space then with trays. The best system I've found is to use a shoe drawer for my bait packages, and then putting them into a reasonable order (e.g. by colour, or bait type).Got bagged baits? Pick up a shoe tray!
Once again, keep your gear in order and it will make your time on the water that much simpler, and help you make the most of your tournament, derby, or even fish-off against your buddies.Stay tuned for Part 2 - Reels and Line, for more tips on getting ready for the season.