MuskieFIRST Pro Panel – Rods and Reels

Category: article

 Apr 11th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 11th, 2007 at 12:00 AM

PRO PANEL QUESTION: WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE FOR PRE-SEASON GEAR PREPARATION? (focusing on rods/reels/lures)Vince Weirickhttp://[email protected] guided: Webster Lake, Tippecanoe Lake, Barbee Chain of Lakes, Upper LongRods:Check all eyes with a cotton swab.Run this around the inside of the eye to see if there are any cuts/cracks.If there are, the cotton should catch on them.Pay special attention to the last eye on the end of the rod.Line wraps almost entirely around this eye.Replace as needed.Reels:At the end of the season, I leave this to the experts and send my reels in to the manufacture to get a thorough cleaning. Some parts may be worn out, but the reel works OK. They will be able to tell more than I ever would.Lures:Besides the basic sharpening hooks, there are many more things to do. Sort through all your lures and take out the ones you don’t use. Instead of selling them because they have not produced, why not modify them? Whether it be adding weight, changing color, bending the lip, adding a squirrely tail or anything else you can dream of.It is much cheaper to do modify a lure that has not produced for you than mess one up that has.Also check your split rings to see if they are bent; they are very easy to replace.Oil up your cutters and pliers. Joel MichelEmail: [email protected] guided: SE Wisconsin (Okauchee, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee and others)I don’t do too much out of the ordinary when it comes to pre-season gear prep.I make sure all of my rods are in good working conditions.I check the eyes with a Q-tip and make sure there are no cracks or anything of that sort by running a cloth down them. As for reels, I send the ones I know have problems to a buddy of mine who fixes reels.The ones that I know are OK, I clean with a Q-tip and some water. This gets the junk out of the cracks and places I can access easily. Then I take some of the reel apart and oil the areas I can without having to take the whole thing apart.After checking them over, I’ll usually replace the line. If I have enough on the spool, I’ll reverse the line to the side that hasn’t seen action yet.What I’ll do is take a reel I’m looking to spool, tie the line from the reel I’m reversing to the new reel, and reel the line on.With the super braids, that gives you a good two seasons of use out of a spool. If the line is low, I’ll re-spool with new line. With my trolling reels, these all get new line.I use P line for these so it gets nicked and worn. I usually re-spool these a few times each season.I make sure the line counters are working and send any reels that need work to my reel repairman. I’m always tinkering with baits during the winter, so it’s not necessarily a pre-season ritual.I’ll check split rings on hooks to make sure they are not worn or weak.Check hooks to make sure the points are still good and that there are no defects on them.If they are, I’ll replace and re-sharpen. If there were baits that were giving me problems, for example the hooks are tangling together, I’ll look for ways to modify them if they are my better baits.Changing hook positions or numbers of hooks on baits, upsizing two hooks on a bait etc. I’ll polish the brass and nickel blades on bucktails, or if it is not possible, I’ll retie the shaft and put new blades on them. I’ll also tie new sucker rigs up and leaders so I’m set for the season.It doesn’t take much to make those, and when you’re watching “The Musky Hunter,” you can easily tie a bunch up while sitting there. Then I’ll put together my trolling box, my casting box, and my everyday usage boxes for the early season.I break down each so that when I hit a certain lake, I know exactly what I’m bringing and what baits I need.I also make sure that my release tools are all in good working order.Give the Knipex a shot of oil in the joints, make sure that they are all stored where I can find them. Bob Devinehttp://[email protected] guided: Lake St. Clair and Detroit RiverI go through all my gear. As a guide, you don’t want to lose the fish of alifetime to something that was overlooked. I check the guides on my rods with a cotton swab. I also check reel seats to make sure they’re secure and to find any possible cracks that my have occurred somewhere, some how.For reels, I make sure they are lubed and put fresh line on. Yes, braid can hold up for a few years, but can you take the chance??As for lures, I check for cracks, hooks that may need to be replaced, and this reminds me of what lures worked and when. It might possibly be time to pick some more that worked and check out the sports shows for any new items that may be coming out.I also chat with others and pick their brains, too! You can never know it ALL!Al NuttyKinkaid Lake Guide [email protected]First off, for the rods, I check all the ceramic guide rings by swirling a Q-tip inside them.If it snags or leaves cotton fibers, take them to your local rod repair shop. Small cracks in the ceramic will cut braided lines like a hot knife through warm butter!!!For the reels, clean and lube them, and make sure you have backed the drag off to keep it from taking a “set.” Put on new line as necessary.If any parts look worn, replace them (especially the levelwind pawl, the little dog tooth gear that engages the levelwind worm gear–this is the most common wear part on most reels.)For lures, replace any missing, cut or rusted hooks.Check the finish of the bait–I’m not worried that they look superb, but I don’t want water soaking into the wood and ruining the action. This is more of an issue with balsawood than it is some of the heavier woods like maple. A quick fix that’s fast and easy is to use the 2 part 5-minute epoxy (available at most hardware stores and Wal-Mart), stir up a small amount, brush it over the injured section of the lure and let dry for about 10 minutes.It’s then ready to fish!!For the plastic lures I use, I check them to see if they’re leaking (shake it, if you hear water inside, then it’s time to work on it. Best way I’ve found is to freeze the lure overnight, then place it underwater in a sink full of warm water, turning it slowly until you find where the air bubbles are coming from.Then drill a hole to vent the water that’s inside the lure. After it’s drained (shake the lure until all the water comes out), patch this hole, and then patch the leaky area. I use the 5-minute epoxy for this, too. Also, sharpen the hooks, which gives you something to do while you’re waiting to go fishing!!Mike’s Extreme Guide Servicehttp://[email protected] waters: Pewaukee LakeMy pre-season gear prep includes getting allmy reels looked at by a qualified, trusted reel repair shop. This is important because I need all my reels in perfect working order for the long season they are going to be worked through. Once they are all back, I change the line that needs to be changed. One trick I use is to reverse the line after the first season. The line on your spool halfway down has never seen the water or light, remove it and tie the used end on the spool and reel up the old line first, and the new unused line will be your line for the coming season. This will cut the cost of line because you only used half the line the first season, now you can use the second half the second season. Two seasons per super line spools. Mono and co-polymer line gets replaced a few times a season. I go over all my rods with careful attention to the guides. Inspection for cracked or chipped guides is very important. A careful examination with a magnifying glass will show you what your bare eyes can’t. Take your time, and check each and every rod for damage. Cracks and chips in the glass will cause line failure from the bad guides.Lures are all hung up and sorted out every season. Split rings are inspected, and hooks are checked for damage. Replacing hooks at this time is best because when you need the bait, it’s ready to go. Sharpen and sort out all baits by category: Top waters, gliders, jerk baits, crank baits, bucktails, etc. This way I know what I need to replace and what I have enough of.This is also a great time to get an inventory of what you have just in case something happens such as fire, theft or other unexpected occurrences. This gives you that list the insurance agent is going to ask for. I make sure to have an inventory of allmy baits, rods, reels and electronics from last year. Pictures and prices of what you have paid for each item in a listing can make your life a whole lot easier just in case something does happen.Tom [email protected]Waters guided: Caesar’s Creek lake, Clear Fork lake, Alum Creek Lake and Leesville Lake in Ohio.In the off-season, I mainly focus on my reels, making sure they are properly stored (drags backed off to avoid crimping the washers) and oiled.I also put fresh Cortland Spectron on as needed to each reel.I store my rods out of bitter cold weather, usually keeping them in my heated garage to avoid any undue stress on the blanks.Not sure if there is any scientific data to back this one up, but it sounds good, and it’s an extra precautionary measure I take to protect my investment.I also swab my eyelets with a Q-tip to make sure there are no nicks or cracks in those to avoid line issues next season. Winter is THE time to sharpen all hooks properly on both new and old lures, and replace rusted or over-sharpened hooks with fresh sharp ones.I also check all the split rings on my baits, making sure there are no fatigued ones, etc.I also inspect my lures for any cracks in the plastic (to avoid “leakers” or losing a fish the next season because of a hook holder pulling out).I replace my plastic trailers on my bucktails with fresh ones for spring. Corey [email protected] I fish: Chippewa FlowagePre-season gear preparation starts at the end of the previous season. Do I have anything that is broken or in need of repair before the next season that I will need to have sent out to get fixed? If I have any equipment that fits this description, I will make a point of getting it repaired or replaced as soon as I can. If I have any lures that need to be re-wired or worked on, I will place them in a box and take that box in the house. As time permits over the winter, I will repair these as required. This keeps me from scrambling right before the beginning of the next season and from the possibility of not having something I need.With these items taken care of, I usually wait until sometime in April to begin the pre-season preparation process. This begins with checking rods and reels. I decide which line I will be replacing and which reels I will be turning the line around on. At this time, I will also grease and lube the reels. Then I will give all my rods a once over, looking for any loose guides, cracked inserts or anything else that needs attention.After this, my attention turns to lures. This is the most enjoyable part of the pre-season ritual for me. It begins by taking every lure out of the tackle boxes and laying them out on the front and sides of the boat. I separate them into three categories, topwater, bucktails and everything else. I look at what got thrown the year before, and any lures that did not get any water time get moved to another area of the boat. Then I will add any new lures to their respective categories. At this point, I will go through and sharpen the hooks on all the lures except the “not thrown last year” group. When sharpening, I will give each lure a once over to make sure it’s in acceptable condition for the season, and if not, make any necessary repairs. After sharpening all the hooks, I fill the tackle boxes back up and take one more look at the “not thrown last year” group to make sure nobody there gets a reprieve and put back into the lineup, and if not, my lures are already for the season. I check my spare hook and split ring containers to make sure I have enough “stock” as well.Other miscellaneous pre-season items I take care of include spraying my rainsuit and fishing boots with camp dry, along with going through a small Rubbermaid container I keep in the boat with miscellaneous things like first aid items, head lamp with extra batteries, Polaroid camera, small pair of binoculars, aspirin, Advil, Rolaids etc. I also check to make sure the registration, insurance and outboard/trolling motor owners manuals are on board just in case.Once this container is re-stocked for the season, I am pretty much ready “gear-wise” for the new season.Todd ForcierForcier’s Guide Service [email protected]rs guided: Petenwell Flowage and Wisconsin River system and Three Lakes Chain of lakes.Lets start with the rod: I like to remove the reel and inspect the rod, checking the reel seat, cork, rod, wraps. Then I take a cotton Q-tip and check all the guides. After inspection I’ll clean the rod.I’ll inspect the reel at all points, clean it up and check the line capacity, add or change if needed. It’s been common practices to always back down the drag during the off-season. About every other year, I’ll send them in for a check-up. Due to client abuse, I’ve had to send in for repairs during the season, so always make sure your back-ups are ready to go. As for line, I think most of us are using some type of super braid line. This type of line comes in various weights, but I’m guessing 80 lb. is a commonly used weight. Always keep a spool around for the reels that may need some additional line as the season goes. Leaders are another important item that makes the rod ready for use. Time and time again, I’ll see clients go cheap on this item with a top-of-the line rod and reel. Good quality line and a $2 leader. There are several types of leaders out there, just make sure to have a GOOD one.The winter months are a great time to reorganize the tackle box. Maybe thin it out (bringing unwanted lures to the show’s swap meet). You got the time to resharpen hooks. Make a wish list or needs list of lures. I also like to review my logs from the past year. Do research on any new lakes I’ve heard about and lakes/rivers I wish to explore.Josh [email protected]Waters guided: Lake Vermillion, Lake Mille Lacs and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area lakesRods: I inspect all of my guides visually and twist a Q-tip through them, looking for any nicks or cracks. Any suspect guides are marked with a piece of tape and replaced.Reels: I typically send all my reels back to the factory they came from for a cleaning and lube.A trained reel technician will usually replace any worn or weakened parts during the cleaning process as well.Lures: I have a “needs repair” pile, a “tweak/tune pile,” a “swap pile” and a “repaint pile.” I also spend time touching upbaits with clear epoxy and/or nail polish.Nail polish also works well for touching up the thread/ties of anything with bucktail, marabou or tinsel.This will help them hold up longer and prevent them from coming unraveled. I have also been known to shampoo bucktails on occasion(conditioner and all), followed by a thorough washingin no scent soap. What I can say, I’m a freak. Laugh if you want, but try adding some shampoo and conditioner to anold bucktail that is dried up or gunked up. It can really bring the breathing action back.Last but not least, this a good time to sharpen and/or replace hooks on your arsenal.Larry Ramsell Web site: www.larryramsell.com email: [email protected]North Central and Northwestern Wisconsin lakes and rivers primarily in the Hayward/Park Falls area. Lake Vermilion in Minnesota.Rods: I check all glass rod guides for cracks (visual and with a cotton swab) and have those that are cracked replaced (in emergency situations during the season I will “remove” the entire guide from the rod). Cracked guides cut through line like a knife through hot butter. (I have lost some of my good lures as a result!)Reels: All reels are gone over and at the very least re-lubricated and the line replaced. Those that received the heaviest use often go to the factory or a reel repair guy for a complete check and replacement of worn parts. Lures: Hook sharpening and replacement is paramount before use again the next season. No need to skimp here, replacement hooks aren’t that expensive and could prevent the loss of that “fish of a lifetime!”

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