With the leaves fall and late season fish are starting to swim their way upstream. There are a few easy steps to prepare your gear for big pulls and even bigger smiles. Follow these tips for a great start to the season.
- Check all your hooks
A sharp and strong hook will increase your hook-set ratio and will ensure that the trophy fish you fight has the best chance of being brought to hand. When I check my flies and hooks, I look for a few key things. Check to make sure the hook point is sharp. A sharp hook will feel tacky to the touch. It will often allow a cushion of time when the fish takes your fly or bait before spitting it out. In addition, it will ensure your hook penetrates the fish to the fullest.
I will also check the eye of the hook to make sure it is clear of burrs. Burrs in the hook will cut your line more frequently, or fray your knots. After checking the eye, I move to the shank and bend of the hook. The hook should be free of rust or any damage. Knicks will be unavoidable, but check for may major wear that might affect the strength or integrity of the hook.
If fishing with flies, make sure the materials are still in tact. If they are wilted, or smashed, holding them over a boiling pot of water or clothing steamer will aid them in springing back to life.
- Check your waders and cold weather gear
NOTHING is worse than being waist deep in the stream and feeling the trickle of frigid water run down your legs. This can problematic, or ven dangerous depending on temperature and distance from the car.
To check for leaks in waders or other outer shell gear, you can use a soap and water mixture to coat the areas you suspect to find holes. Use a fan or other device to blow air into your waders and search for bubbles in the applied mixture. If you don’t have the patience for this, you could always fill your waders with water and feel for any leaks using a paper towel or your hand.
I always take a few minutes to check my pockets for holes. Additionally, I also check my zippers for functionality. These fail before most other parts in the system.
- Practice your casting accuracy
Many anglers flock to the streams for fall fishing. These weekend warriors are often recreational at heart. that will fish the easy or famous stretches. There are so many great stretches to fish that are only fishable with accurate casts. Practicing your casts in the back yard or on a local pond can find you some space, solitude, and perhaps more fish on the stream. I like to practice using hula hoops with frisbees inside them. Walk a few yards/meters in any direction and make one cast. Repeat this step at various distances and it helps your distance judgement and casting technique.
There's nothing lucky about these tips. Following these tips will help ensure you utilize your angling time more efficiently. I do these both before the season starts, as well as regularly throughout the season to ensure I take advantage of my time.