It's Show Time
The days are getting longer and the long months of
inter will soon be just a memory. In the pools and
runs of your favorite trout stream and in the weed
beds of your local bass/bluegill lake the bugs, leeches,
and assorted fish food are beginning to stir. If spring
is coming can summer be far behind? If you want this
season to be one that goes down in the memory bank as
particularly unforgettable, in a positive way, now is
the time to take the steps necessary to assure that it
becomes a reality.
By Neil M. Travis, Montana
Presuming you are not a first time angler preparing for
the coming season, do a quick review of the past season.
Most of us tend to be creatures of habit, we fish the
same waters each year, we try to hit the same hatches;
in short we try to replicate our past experiences. A quick
and honest review of the previous season, its successes and
failures, will go a long way toward helping make the coming
season a more pleasurable experience.
If you have not already inventoried your fly boxes now is
the time. Get them out, dump them out on the table, and
sort them out. Discard the ones with rusty hooks, broken
points, and the ones that have been mangled beyond
recognition. Take note of those patterns and sizes that
have been depleted during the previous season. Now is
the time to purchase or tie up replacements since it
is likely those are the flies you used most successfully
in the previous year.
Set the fly boxes aside and go over the other items in
your vest. Do you need to replace your clippers, purchase
a new supply of floatant, mosquito repellant, or tippet
material? Now is the time to replace those things before
you find yourself waist deep in your favorite stream
swatting at mosquitoes rather than fishing.
Now check out all the ancillary equipment. Does your net
need a new bag, has your rain jacket seen better days,
are your waders more patches than original material, and
has your old fishing vest seen its better days? If so,
now is the time to rectify that situation.
Take out your fly rods and reels for the inspection process.
With your fly rods start at the butt and check the reel seat
and cork grip. If the grip is dirty it should be washed with
soap and water, and if it still does not come clean it can
be lightly sanded. Wipe the entire rod down with a damp
cloth. It is amazing how dirty a fly rod can become in the
course of a season, and that dirt may transfer to your fly
line. While you are wiping down your rod check the windings
on the guides and check the guides themselves to see if they
are grooved or rough. Grooved or rough guides will shred a
fly line and should be replaced. Worn or frayed wrappings
should be removed and rewrapped. When you get to the tip of
your fly rod check the tip-top to make certain that it is
still glued firmly to the rod and still at the original angle.
Fly reels should be disassembled and checked for wear. If
the reel has been used extensively during the previous year
it is generally a good idea to wipe the inside of the reel
mechanism with a soft cloth to remove all the old lubricant
and any grit or other foreign objects. Then apply a very
light coat of high quality lubricant to the spindle and
reassemble the reel. Wipe down the exterior of the reel
with a damp cloth to remove any accumulated dirt and grime.
Finally, inspect all of your fly lines for cracks and other
defects in the coatings. If you use a nail or needle knot
to attach your leaders to your line you should check that
connection, and if it has developed a crack in the line
finish where the leader is attached it should be clipped
off and retied. If the line is in good shape clean it with
a commercial line cleaner and wind it back on your reel.
If it is cracked it should be replaced.
Once you have checked, cleaned and reassembled all your
gear, and replaced anything that needs replacing put all
your gear in one place. This will help you avoid that
sinking feeling that settles in the pit of your stomach
when you arrive at the stream and remember that you left
your waders at home in the hall closet!
All that's left now is to complete all those 'honey do'
projects so that when the hatches start you will have
earned enough good time credits to spend a little time
using all that gear. ~ Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona
From A Journal Archives