The old saying “For every cloud there is a silver lining” makes one wonder what the silver lining is for those that fish offshore. The recent cold fronts with their attendant rain ,rough seas, and dirty water have kept us in port. The only silver lining is that there has been no pressure on the fish stocks and once the weather subsides there will be a few more fish to target.
Now is the time to do those maintenance chores that are so easy to put off. Some of the things that should be done now are to take a good inventory of terminal tackle such as hooks, sinkers, swivels, sabikis, and leader material and purchase what is needed for the spring season which will soon be here. Stinger rigs can be made while watching your favorite fishing show or movie in the warm comfort of home and bagging them individually in zip locks. Reels should be oiled according to instructions found in the booklet that came with the reel or found online. Drags, that should have been backed off, should be checked for smooth operation and any that are sticking or jerky require that the reel be serviced. Tackle shops are experiencing the same weather slowdown that everyone else is and will be able to service rods and reels quickly. Guides can be checked by running a piece of nylon stocking through each one. If there is a crack or burr in the guide, the nylon will catch on the flaw. If left unrepaired every time your line runs over the flaw it will shave a small amount of material off resulting in weakened line and loss of that trophy fish.
Flare kits and fishing licenses should be checked for expiration dates. The most often cause of failure for bilge and baitwell pumps is corroded butt connectors. We inspect them and often replace them as a preventative measure. They should be replaced with shrink fit connectors. All that is required is an assortment of connectors, a crimping tool and an electric heat gun which can be purchased at marine or home supply stores.