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With the open water season coming to an end and thoughts slowly shifting to the upcoming hard water season, here are a few tips to help you while putting away your summer gear.
CLEAN UP/CLEAN OUT
Fall is a great time to go through and clean out any clutter accumulated over the summer season. Food wrappers, line/lure boxes, and general garbage that may have collected during the past season should be thrown out. Avoid any unpleasant surprises when opening your tackle box in the spring by removing any smelly baits and liquid suntan/bug repellant bottle that may leak and store them properly.
Fall is also a great time to check on your line to see what shape it’s in and if you should be looking to replace it. It’s also important to take a quick look at your reels and rods for any preventative maintenance. Take a few minutes to check for unwanted holes in your net, test your lip grabbers/jaw openers, weight scale calibration, etc.
Is anything worse-for-wear? Now’s the time to get that Christmas wish list done early.
CHECK THE NECESSITIES
While you are going through your tackle box, why not get truly organized and make sure you have all the important items pre-packed. These items can mean the difference between a great trip and one that is miserable and ends early. Here are a few key items I find invaluable to have in my tackle box. In no particular order:
Now that you have everything clean and organized it’s time to store your gear.
Depending on your set up, you may want to put your summer gear away in exchange for your winter gear, or you may simply need to switch up some tackle organizers/compartments. Everyone seems to have their own way of doing this one.
My preference is to store my open water gear in travel cases and out of the way on a shelf or tucked in nicely under the stairs. I don’t want my gear damaged accidentally by someone throwing something on top of them or passing by and getting hooked by a rod end. I’ve seen many man-caves, dens, he-sheds or doghouses (as some would put it) and all the fishing equipment is displayed like a museum which makes an amazing visual but there can be an issue with that. Not many people take into account the effect of UV light on your gear. Some brands of fishing line are particularly susceptive to the effects of UV light. A few months of storage with the line in direct sunlight through a window could cause it to fail in the spring and usually when you’ve finally hooked that lunker you’ve been after for what seems like forever. The line isn’t the only thing affected by UV rays, in fact most of your gear in some small way is affected by it. Over time it can weaken everything from fabric to plastics and since that gear is usually exposed all summer long, it’s nice to give it a chance to hibernate.
Make sure you put all your summer gear in the same spot year after year. This will help ensure an easier load up when open water season starts again and with the right setup, it can be easy to see what’s missing at a glance. I’ve been on too many fishing trips where folks have their gear stored in multiple places and hence they seem to always forget something important on the first trip of the year.