OBX Inshore Fishing-Feb.’17

by Aaron Kelly

The weather hasn’t cooperated so far this year to allow much in the way of local fishing opportunities.  Since we can’t get out now, it might be a good time for some gear maintenance.

Many of us give our rods and reels a quick rinse with the garden hose after each trip, but this doesn’t get all of the salt off. If you look at the instructions that came with your reel, you will probably see something that says after each day of saltwater exposure you should do the following: separate the spool from the reel frame, loosen the drag all the way, soak for 20 minutes in warm clear water, manipulate the spool release and drag knob several times during the soaking to dislodge any salt or debris, flush under running water to force out loosened particles, and then allow to air dry before putting together and storing.

Your rods should get the same type of treatment. First find something that can hold your rods and still cover them with water. My bathtub fits this bill perfectly. Fill the bathtub with warm clear water and then let your rods soak for at least 20 minutes. Take them out and use an old toothbrush to clean the guides to remove any salt or grime. Put them aside to dry thoroughly before putting them away.

If you tie your own flies, now might be a good time to take inventory and replace those that were lost on the wrecks, pilings, bottom, weeds, and maybe even a large fish. Or maybe you came across a good pattern in a magazine or fishing show and think it might be just the ticket for you to increase your catch this year.

If you do a lot of wading like me, you may need to get out your waders and clean them off. Get some renew and renew the waterproofing on your favorite fishing jacket. Or how about sitting in front of the tv with a hook sharpener and go through and sharpen the hooks on all of your flies.

Now would also be a good time to check all of your lines for nicks or small cuts and repair or replace them.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to get ready for the next season. Like I said last month, one of the most overlooked things is to review your logbook to see when and where you went out, what worked or didn’t work, what tides seemed to be best, and any other hints you might get to make this year more productive.

Another thing to consider is to work real hard on the “Honey, do it now” list to build up some brownie points for the coming season to make it easier to get out when the fish finally show!

By putting this offseason to some productive use, you should give yourself a better shot at having a great fishing year.

Thanks and tight lines