by Keith Krych

Preparing for the fishing season means different things to different people. For some, preparing simply means waiting for the ice to go away. To others, preparing for the fishing season includes certain rituals and tasks. Following are some of the things you can do to insure that you are ready to go fishing when the lakes open up.

Check your boat as well as your boat trailer. You donít want to find out that the trailer needs attention when you get ready to take that first fishing trip of the year, and you donít want to discover that the boat wonít start when you arrive at the boat ramp. Check the air pressure in the trailer tires, make sure everything that needs to be greased is, check charge levels in the batteries, insure that battery connections and power connections to sonar units, electric motors, and the like are in good shape, and make sure you have the plug in the boat. It is amazing how many boats fill up with water on the first trip of the year because someone forgot to put the plug in.

Now on to fishing tackle and equipment. This is the time of year to put fresh line on your reel. Many anglers take the line off their reel in the fall after their last fishing trip of the season. This forces them to start out fresh with new line the next spring.

Lots of anglers like to have their reels oiled before the season starts. If youíre a do-it-yourselfer, timing isnít quite as critical, but if you have a reel-repair person perform this task, you need to get the reels to him right now. Reel-repair people are often swamped with maintenance jobs this time of year.
Check the guides on your rod for chips or cracks. A damaged guide can nick your line, which weakens it. The same person that repairs your reels can probably repair a guide.

Now dig into your tacklebox. Do an inventory and determine which baits you are missing and which baits need to be added to your arsenal. Are any of the hooks rusty? If so, can they be replaced, or does the entire lure need to be replaced? Rusty treble hooks on crankbaits can be replaced, but rusty jig hooks can only be cured by buying new jigs.

Many anglers enjoy this preparation for the fishing season almost as much as the actual fishing. I donít, but I also realize this preparation helps make the first trip of the year an enjoyable one.