You spring clean your home each year and your fishing tackle should be no different. Spring is the perfect time to take inventory of broken or lost gear, make repairs to rods, clean tackle and maybe even invest in some early spring fishing lures before the season gets underway.
Begin with a good wash of your tackle box with soap and water so that you can store all your tackle in a clean space and make sure your fishing license is valid and up to date.
A good place to start is to take inventory of what you have. There is always wear and tear on tackle and lost gear from exciting days of fishing on the water. First, check lures for anything that might be broken or missing. Replace bent hooks and take time to sharpen them. Select the best lures for early spring as you place gear back into your tackle box, so you can easily alternate it as the seasons change.
Next, baits. Any plastic baits that have dried up, hard baits with missing lips, or lures with scratched paint should be thrown away. Also toss any dried or discolored artificial bait.
Rods and reels almost always need annual repair. They take a beating throughout the year from water conditions, fish and general wear and tear. Rods require close inspection as they can have small cracks or weakened areas that are not visible from a casual glance.
While rod technology enables them to withstand a beating, occasionally you will need to make some repairs. Look to see that the eyelets are in-tact and in alignment. The slightest dent can cause issues casting and create friction that can worsen over time, impacting its performance. Be sure to clean rods with soap and water.
Respool all your reels with new line. Fishing line loses strength over time and becomes misshapen which can affect casting, retrieval or eventually break. Monofilament line will become coiled with memory so inspecting it and replacing it occasionally is a good idea.
Reels should also be cleaned and lubricated to ensure they are in top working order. With the detailed mechanics involved in reels, it is best to leave this cleaning to the pros at reputable service centers rather than to do it yourself.
Organize and restock tackle
While you have the tackle box empty this is a great time to reorganize your gear to me more user-friendly. Restock items that need replaced. Then, organize next season’s gear so that it is easy to put in and take out things like lures as needed.
Sort through extra tackle, soft baits and lures and separate them into individual boxes as to where they fish in the water column (topwater lures, diving crankbaits, bottom lures, and jigs). You will want to restock general items like extra line, sinkers, bobbers, needle-nose pliers, a variety of hooks, line cutters, knife, flashlight (with new batteries), a small first-aid kit and new sunscreen.
This is also a good time to review your fishing apparel and any other supplies like rod holders that you might need to update or replace.
Plan for the year ahead
Your spring tackle tune-up is a time to look ahead to the coming year and get excited about fishing for species that you enjoy catching but also for plotting new fishing outings. Start with picking up a few early spring lures to add to your collection. Plan one or two new fishing locations and gather the maps and equipment that you will need. This is a fun way to keep growing your fishing knowledge and keep things exciting.