Spring cleaning your tackle box

CHENANGO COUNTY – Many people go through a spring cleaning phase to get rid of items that have been replaced with newer, better models from holiday gifts or just started piling up over the course of the winter – in order to make their house more organized.

Your tackle box and the rest of your fishing supplies should get a yearly cleaning and freshening as well. Small, relatively inexpensive maintenance measures can help prolong the life of your favorite fishing rod or lucky lures.

Applying a little grease or oil to your fishing reels allows for gears to operate smoothly for reeling and allows the drag to run smooth. Many manufacturers advise that you do not use WD-40 on their reels as it may cause premature wear on certain parts.

Inspect all of the line guides on your rods. Make sure there aren’t any burrs or nicks in the guides that may fray the line as it passes through the guide during casting or retrieving. Give the rod a decent flex at the tip to look for any signs of the rod cracking or splitting. Inspect the reel handle for any damage to the cork or foam.

In addition to your rods and reels, your tackle box and lures should get inspected. Give your tackle box an overview with a focus on any hinges or snaps that keep it closed as well as any handle or strap used to pick it up. If you use a soft tackle bag, look at the zippers to make sure they are not coming apart.

Adding a desiccant to your tackle box will prolong the life of your hooks, swivels, and other steel pieces by absorbing the moisture in the tackle box after wet lures are put in it.

Check your lures over for rusting hooks or hooks that have lost their sharpness. Consider buying a hook sharpener or purchasing replacement hooks to freshen up older lures. Nothing is worse than not getting a good hook set on a fish because the hook isn’t sharp. Some fisherman like the looks of a red hook on certain lures to make the lure appear to be injured. If you are an artistic person, you can freshen up the paint job on any lures that might have faded patterns or you can see if a new paint job will make a lure more productive for you. Make sure to put a clear coat on afterwards so you don’t have the paint wash off when fishing if it’s water-based paint.

Aside from general maintenance, this is a good time to do some other important tasks. Replacing the line on your reels should be done at least once a year. Sunlight and dust can cause line to become brittle and more likely to break. With spinning reels, only fill the spool about two-thirds of the way due to the memory of the line. If spooled with too much line, the line on the spool can coil off from the reel when casting and become a tangle mess that nobody wants to deal with. Consider using a fluorocarbon line if you fish in extremely clear water or in waters with moderate underwater obstacles that can damage the line such as stumps or boulders. Fluorocarbon disappears faster in the water column and handles getting damaged better than monofilament.

If you use braided line, you will likely need to use a piece of tape to get the line to stay in place on the spool when you first start putting line on the reel. Most braided line has a coating on it that makes it slick and will cause it to spin on the spool instead of staying in place and having the line fill the spool.

When filling bait casting and trolling reels, make sure the line goes on evenly from end to end of the spool so that it will come off evenly when casting or letting line out.

If you fish in waders, give them a generous inspection to look for any holes or cracks that may have started. Check any straps or clips for dry-rotting or rodent damage. If you use live bait, give any buckets or cans you use for holding bait a rinse in plain water. If you want to use something as a cleaner, use distilled white vinegar instead of bleach. The acidity of the vinegar works as a disinfectant but is easily washed out without any real harm to the environment, when compared to bleach.

– Submitted by Mayhood's Sporting Goods

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