Written by Andrew Schadegg
Alright, most of the lower southern portion of the country is rolling their eyes.
Guess what Okeechobee, Florida with your 80 degrees in late February? No one wants to hear about how the bass are already spawning! Blah, blah. The rest of us are dealing with snow and cold and dreaming of that first solid couple weeks of early spring goodness. We do like your pictures though, so keep posting them.
There is good news for the rest of us! We’re getting really close. Some of you are starting to see the water temps creeping up a little bit, maybe the longer days are moving the fish a bit more shallow. We’re in late winter and the late-winter blues are tough. You’re stir-crazy, you have the green fish fever! We get it.
We have a few ideas about how you can get through the next few weeks without committing any violent acts towards your fellow man:
1. Distract Yourself with Tackle – If you’re anything like me you’ve practically ignored your boxes of tackle stacked up in your garage. This is a perfect time to go through each bait and do some upgrades. Change out those treble hooks on your crankbaits, sharpen the hooks on your jigs, check for damaged lips and eyes. Spending a little bit of time on your baits can make a huge difference.
2. Distract Yourself with Research – Great anglers spend as much time looking at a lake off the water as they do on it. Bust out Google Earth or the Navionics app and really do some in-depth study of the bodies of water you fish. Look for new humps or drop-offs, find out where the channel swings are, identify places that you haven’t fished before that might be good places to check out.
3. Distract Yourself with Maintenance – Rods and reels, especially the high-quality expensive stuff, require a lot of tender love and care. Unfortunately, many times we don’t give them the attention they deserve. Get out the reel oil, watch a few YouTube videos on how to clean and make sure your gears are ready for spring. Wipe everything with some rubbing alcohol and take a Q-Tip to all your rod eyelets. If a piece of cotton snags, that eyelet will cut your line. Probably a good thing to know.
4. Distract Yourself with Practice – How do you think Bryan Thrift learned to skip that jig 20 feet under that dock? Tons of practice. Fishing is just like any other skill-based sport. The more you spend time doing the hard work, the better you will be. Get in the backyard and setup multiple different targets. Learn to flip and pitch, sidearm cast, roll cast, left handed, right handed, mix it up. If you spent as much time on your casting as you do online in fishing forums, you’d be catching a lot more fish.
We know it’s hard waiting for spring, but it’s right around the corner so make sure you use your time wisely to get ready. It will make a huge difference and make this year the best ever.