In February each year, once we string together a few days of 50+ degrees Fahrenheit , I start thinking about the coming spring and summer fishing season in the North Atlantic. By April we'll have Winter Flounder, by May and June Striped Bass, and by July we'll have Fluke and Bluefish. March is the time to check rods for any needed repairs to guides and handles and put fresh line on the reels. It's also the time to shop for some tackle.
Most years, I'll clear out any ratty-looking hooks, and sharpen up a few others. I'll replace treble hooks on lures and polish the "tins" or shiny lures. I'll also clean up and sharpen knives. Other equipment like hook removers and pliers are given a once over. Some of them may need replacement. At that point, I get to look at fishing tackle catalogs, online and on paper. What will I need to start the year off right? The companies know that this is the rhythm, so they start sending big paper catalogs at this time of year.
Some of the items on my list every year are the foundational elements. These are the least sexy pieces in the tackle box. They aren't beautiful lures or razor sharp hooks. They are the connector pieces I use so often. I always need more of these as I lose them to broken lines and snags during the season. I need snaps, two-way swivels, and three-way swivels. I need them in multiple sizes, in both black and silver. I also need "fish finder" sliding sinker holders. These items are the core elements of my rigs. Some fisherman avoid them, tying every rig without them. That approach never made sense to me. I want to have ready rigs of different types for the fish I might encounter on any given trip, and I want to be able to change rigs fast. These foundation pieces help make that possible.
As many of my friends know, I'll also start this season with a new boat. I sold my faithful, beloved, 26' center console fishing boat at the end of last year and put a deposit down on a brand new model of the same size over the winter. I launch that boat in late April this year, and anticipate putting all that new tackle to good use.
"Tight lines," as we fishermen say. It's all about being ready, and that's what some early season tackle prep is all about.
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