It is the changing of the guard at our household. Ice fishing season has ended and we are starting to prep for summer season. This season I have been a little bit more excited because I was accepted in the Lund Guide Program last September and Mercury Marine Pro Team. As a result, I placed an order on a brand new Lund boat rigged with a Mercury motor and it’s currently sitting a few miles away from me waiting on final electronics.
Last year in the fishing industry, we saw severe shortages of everything and this year it is looking to be very similar. If you are looking to upgrade to new electronics, I’d start shopping quickly because you might not get what you are looking for. If you are looking at upgrading to previously used, you might be in luck and you might find some amazing deals out there. Garmin has released Livescope Plus, and the moment people heard the news Panoptix (Gen 1) and Livescope’s (Gen 2) were hitting the marketplaces quickly and some at a greatly reduced price. Humminbird has been extremely hard to get ahold of for almost two years and it is forcing some diehard customers to switch brands.
A lot of people will be getting their boats out in the next few weeks. Now is a good time to check oil, grease the hubs, and check air pressure in your tires. If you have a jack or lift check the bearings on your trailer tires if you haven’t done it in a while I would strongly suggest calling a tire shop and getting the boat trailer in sooner than later. A good once over early in the season can prevent a break down in the middle of no where requiring a tow truck. It’s also a good practice to clean out compartments to make sure mice didn’t make a winter home in your boat and while doing that check all the life jackets. Life jackets save lives and it’s a smart practice to make sure they are in good working condition, that you have the proper amount of them, and most importantly they still fit. Kids are growing quickly, and you might not realize it till it is too late that their old life jackets do not fit anymore.
This is also the time that I redo all my reels. I know some people will think ‘I just put it on last year why do I need to do it already?’ Well during the winter the line will get brittle and form a memory being on the spool and you will have nothing but issues on your first trips out this upcoming season. I have a lot of rods to respool, and it is a lot of work and money, but it is personally worth it to not have the hassle when I am on the water. Everyone has their personal preferences and I feel most line brands are the same but the biggest difference is Monofilament or Fluorocarbon. Growing up we always used Mono but in the last few years I have switched to Fluro and I will not go back. Fluro in my opinion is clearer and stronger than Mono and with the recent Zebra Muscle activity I think a person needs Fluro to have an advantage on the water. Fluro has less stretch so when I am long line’ing behind the boat to not spook the fish I have better feel and less stretch when I set the hook. Since Fluro is stronger I can get by with thinner line. I normally only run 4-pound test for panfish/trout and 6-pound test on all my walleye gear. I do not target bass in the weeds, so I don’t push for braided line.
When you are taking the time to respool your reels take a few seconds and inspect, clean, and oil your reels. A few drops of oil can go a long way but taking the time now will also help prevent issues but if you are like me find reels that have seized up or something has broken within them. Some of our local businesses are already starting to have spring sales and if you can inspect your gear now and need to replace something you can save a lot of money down the road. I mentioned I use 4- and 6-pound test and as a result this allows me to get by with using a lot smaller reels than normal. I use 1000 and 2000 series reels and I’m looking at getting a few more 1000 series this spring. Reason why is they are lighter and when the bite gets tougher a lighter reel will help feel lighter bites. Years ago, you had to go big because you needed the better bearings and drag systems, but these manufacturers are doing amazing work with these smaller profiles, and it isn’t needed any more.
Taking steps now will only make your first trip out on the water a little bit easier and hopefully safer by taking the time to inspect your gear and know you are ready for that fish of a lifetime.