Get your fishing gear ready

If you’ve been neglecting your fishing gear, now’s the time to get it in order. Don’t put it off until the night before you leave for your first fishing trip of the spring.

Pull the tackle box out of the closet, or bring it in from the garage. Make sure you have all the lures or flies you need. Take an inventory of your tackle, and make a list of what you’ll need to buy.

Then get to the sporting goods store and refit your tackle box. If you tie your own flies, you’ve probably been adding to your arsenal all winter long. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. One way or another, get all the lures or flies you think you’ll need for the first few fishing trips of the season.

While you’re at the sporting goods store, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to change out your line. If you did a lot of fishing last year and used the same line all summer, it probably has some weak spots in it. It also might have a bit of memory to it, and when you cast, it might become a giant snarl. The better the line you buy, the less curl it’ll retain, but it’ll still have some memory. It might cost a bit of money, but it’s a good practice to change your line out each year, or maybe every other year.

If you’re a fly angler, you might not want to change your line. Fly line, especially good fly line, can be pretty expensive. If you don’t change it out, at least put some line dressing on it to make it float a little better. Of course, if it’s a sinking line, you probably don’t want it to float, but you can still run it out, make sure it doesn’t have any knicks or splits in it, and dress it with a sinking line dressing.

Now’s a good time to check your waders, too. It’s a much better time to find out you have a leak than when you’re standing waist-deep in a frigid river. The best way to find holes is to take your waders into a dark room, then lower a shop light— basically a light bulb on an extension cord— into the waders. If you see pinpoints of light coming out of the waders, you’ve got leaks. Put a sticky note over the holes to mark them, then go patch ‘em up.

If you can find it, the best stuff I’ve ever found for patching waders is a type of glue called Seal All. The only place I’ve ever found it is Ace Hardware, but on the Internet, it says it’s available at a bunch of department stores and home improvement warehouses.

Buy your license and get all your gear ready for the season now. Then get out there and do some fishing.