Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Time And the Fishin' Ain't Easy

No doubt, here in the North East, we will get a few days fishing through the winter. I was out the entire day on January 1st and am looking to do the same right through the winter. Some trout rivers are regulated open, but a higher power can regulate them closed with ice. Walking is harder and pools and runs are far less accessible. Fish are sluggish and heading south to the Farmington River in Connecticut  sounds real good right now.

January and February are great times to light a fire and take a weekend or two and go through all your equipment and terminal tackle to get a fresh start.  Pick your days for fishing and be safe.

Here is a check list that may help you catch more trout come spring. I realize that this may seem basic but basic is a good place to start.

Make an assessment of your waders, boots, belt, wading staff and net. Start looking for deals during February and March for any items you want to replace. Make sure that all equipment meets you own safety requirements. Use the winter to make returns to manufacturers of warrantied items and get them repaired or replaced.

Change the spikes in your shoes.

Assess the quality of your vest and wading jacket. Empty all pockets and go over each for repairs. Wash, clean and waterproof your jacket if needed.

Dump all flies into a baking tray and think of the best organization for them. Sort by pattern and cull out unwanted flies. Remove materials from hooks and recycle them. Where your flies ended this fall and early winter is not necessarily where you want them for spring.

I take each and every fly, both wet and dry and work on them to look as fresh as possible. Even flies that did not get fished can get wet and matted down. Colors can transfer from fly to fly. Use bottled water, forceps, straight pin, toothbrush and hair dryer and line them up on blocks of foam. Discard flies that are just clutter to make room for what is important.

Organize your flies in boxes according to patterns in size ranges. You will now easily be able to see the flies and sizes you will need to replace. Have one extra box for streamers, leaches and buggers as well as one for very small midges. However you like to organize, and the style of fly box you use is a personal matter. Memorize your flies and where you keep them.

The time is now to make sure that all rod wrappings are tight and corks are clean on your collection of fly rods. Last winter I used some time to build a new fly rod. A 10’ 4” Switch Rod for a #5. The satisfaction I have had fishing this rod all season has been wonderful. I strongly suggest you give it a try. If you have a rod that needs conversion or want a great stick please make contact with me and I can build one for you.

Lines should be removed from reels and both cleaned with bottled water and then labeled. Oil and grease your reels if needed and slick lines with the appropriate coatings. Tie new leader connectors to the ends of the fly line where needed. Should you need a new line, make sure that you are making a good rod match. These days fly line manufacturers are in tight competition. They are all user friendly and matching lines to rod can be made easier through internet as well as by phone. I know that there are so many choices out there but try to keep it simple and ask your independent fly shop what is working best. They tend to inventory what is right for their area and can help you make the correct decision.

Leaders, strike indicators, weights and fluids should be inventoried and replenished.

This is the time to make sure that you don't loose the big one to equipment that fails.