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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ready your fishing tackle for the upcoming trout season

With the great weather earlier this week, trout fishing was on the minds of many sportsmen. Area trout streams are in excellent shape although we all know that unpredictable weather at this time of year can quickly change conditions. Trout season is less than two weeks away. It is time to get your tackle ready.
Check your rods to make sure that the guides are not loose and there are no rough spots to wear your line. Pull a scrap of nylon stocking through the guides to check for burrs or rough spots. You can clean any cork handles with some warm water and mild dish detergent.
Reels take a little more attention. Check the bail springs to see that they are tight and that there are no rough spots or nicks on the bail to cause your line to fray. Make sure you have the owners manual to reference the parts and what lubricant to use in the right place.
If there is an accumulation of lots of dirty grease in the gear area, they should be cleaned with a solvent like Quik Scrub III to remove it. Clean them thoroughly and lubricate with a proper lubricant.
Avoid water-displacing lubricants like WD-40 since the chemicals can actually dissolve the protective grease needed. At first the reel may seem to operate smoothly but when the lubricant is gone the parts will be rubbing against each other. Generally you should use grease for parts that mesh like gears; use oil on parts that may rub.
If your reel has an accumulation of grease and dirt and you are not handy at cleaning it and replacing parts, have a professional do it.
This is especially true with bait casting reels. If you are missing screws or have a damaged bail, etc. now is the time to get it taken care of.
Discard all the old monofilament on your reels and spare spools and replace it with new line. Line is the vital connection to you and that fish, so don't risk having old, brittle line. Monofilament line deteriorates with ultraviolet light, ozone, etc. so it should be replaced at least once a year.
It also becomes stiff and takes a set curl when it becomes wet and exposed to sun and , so it pays to change line frequently. Many people change their lines two or three times per season. Any line that you purchased last year and is still on the spool, kept in the cellar away from light will be alright to use.
Choice of line can be difficult. Different lines have special qualities such as abrasion resistance, limpness, low visibility, etc. These qualities are often exclusive, i.e. you can’t have one line with all of them. In a separate column we will discuss some of the considerations. You probably have several reels or spare spools for some of the reels, so buying large bulk spools of line can save you money. On the other hand, having your local tackle shop fill your reels with line from their bulk winder can save you a lot of time and effort.
Take an inventory of your lures and accessories and take advantage of sales at your favorite local sports shop and stock up before the season opens. And do me a favor - shop locally. The local sports shops are the ones that support your community with paying taxes, donating to charities, volunteering to coach kids teams, etc. Whether it is in this area or the shops in the areas you fish or camp, they deserve your support
If the lures have rusty hooks, replace them now. You can get packs of hooks and "O" rings at most tackle shops. Sharpen all the hooks. A small hone or inexpensive device like the DMT Diamond sharpener will quickly put a good point on the hooks. A diamond groove makes it easy to put a sharp point on your hook with just a few strokes.
If some of your spoons are tarnished, clean them up with silver polish or toothpaste.
Some lures might need repainting. Make sure that all your plugs have eyes; it really does make a difference.
Take an inventory of all the little tools and accessories. Most of us have probably lost a few late in the season and never bothered to replace them at the time. Do you have pliers or hemostats, knife, penlight, and similar tools? A few needle threaders come in handy for tying on flies, especially during periods of low light. Clippers, hook sharpeners and polarized sunglasses are essential.
If you are like me, you have probably given your waders or hip boots a beating on sharp rocks and stubs of alders around beaver ponds. Check them now for leaks and patch or replace them if they are too far gone. Some people use a flashlight inserted in the waders while turning off the room lights to find cracks or holes. A more reliable way is to fill the tub with water, put on your waders, and kneel in the tub.
Depending on our specialty such as fly fishing, lake trolling, etc. we all have lots of other gear or supplies that we need to check. But the important thing is to start now. It will mean that you won't waste valuable time later when you could be out fishing.
FRESHWATER FISHING MAP: The NYS DEC Bureau of Fisheries is offering a new, full color map/brochure free to individuals interested in fishing the freshwater resources of NYS, The “I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing” provides information on over 320 lakes and ponds and 112 rivers and streams. Color identification photos of fish species are also provided.
To receive a map in the mail, e-mail a request to the DEC at:
Include the words NY Fishing Map in the subject line and don’t forget your name and mailing address.
WOMEN’S TURKEY HUNT: The Oneida County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and NYS Conservation Officers will give women who have signed up the chance to hunt turkeys with an ECO or a mentor on May 19.
Some women want to learn or participate in turkey hunting but do not have the family members or mentors to teach them the necessary skills or go with them. The Oneida County Federation and ECOs will provide this opportunity, along with skilled women mentors who have conducted workshops on turkey hunting or have been part of the Women In the Outdoors programs.
On May 14, Safety Day, prior to the hunting weekend, women will learn the basics of turkey hunting from experienced mentors and practice marksmanship at a range under the supervision of certified instructors. Those eligible for this program are women 16 years of age and older, holding a valid small game license and turkey permit. Those interested must complete the application by April 1, 2012 to: Women’s Turkey Hunt, c/o Scott Faulkner, 3720 Wells Gifford Road, Vernon Center, NY 13477.
HUNTER INPUT FALL 2012 WATERFOWL SEASONS: Hunters are invited to submit recommendations for the dates of the Fall 2012 duck hunting seasons to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces. DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than Sep. 22, 2012, and closing no later than Jan. 27, 2013.
Waterfowl hunters can participate by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member on, or before March 30, 2012. Names and contact information for local task force members are:
MIKE PODGORSKI (NYSCC – R7), 2287 Ferndell Road, Cazenovia, NY 13035. 315-655-8067.
DOUG CARR (Central NY Wildfowlers) 109 Roosevelt Ave, Canastota, NY 13032. 315-952-3160.
Comments can be provided by mail, telephone or e-mail. The task forces will meet in late March and April, and DEC plans to announce tentative duck hunting season dates in June.


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