Time to push the boat out is creeping up
With the sort of weather that has dominated the local scene this past few days and for those immediately ahead, it is hard to conceive of anyone leaving dry land and venturing on to a very unwelcoming briny deep sea.
It is one thing for the professional to brave a trip out to the inner bottom and shoal areas to service lobster traps, but it totally unthinkable about even taking a boat off the moorings for pleasure. Profit maybe, pleasure definitely not!
Although the boat and anything to do with fishing is about the farthest thing from most weekenders' minds at that time of the year, this is the time when the more practical amateurs do the right thing and start to get the boat serviced in advance of the mad rush.
The mad rush may be a couple of months away, but it always seems to take people by surprise. It is almost as if May 24th were years away and the marine service firms all but waiting for your custom, ready to drop everything to get you in and out of the water.
It is at quiet times like this when deals might be struck to have boats hauled, engines serviced and repairs made. When it isn't pouring rain and there are lots of windy days that see little precipitation, things like painting and tidying up can be done. Most boaters are amazed at how much junk accumulates on a craft this only used a dozen or so times a year.
If you doubt this, just try going to unload everything; you will be amazed at what you will find.
Another useful exercise is to clean and service the tackle. A spraying down with fresh after fishing is no substitute for properly taking rods and reels apart; lubricating moving parts and replacing worn guides, bearings or drags.
While not everyone has the confidence in their mechanical ability to take some of the more complex reels apart, roller bearings on rods offer little challenge. Although they look pretty simple at first glance, there is actually a bit of a trick to them. Undoing the screw will allow the little wheel to be removed. The trick is that inside of that roller wheel there is another little bearing which can be pushed through with a pencil or awl.
That often needs to be cleaned because even certain lubricants can build up deposits that keep this bearing from turning freely of the actual roller. This is easy to do and then putting it back together is just a matter of putting the clean bearing sleeve back into the roller; lining up the roller with the guide and putting the female end of the pinion back in and tightening up the screw from the other side.
Many anglers are amazed at just how freely a roller guide should spin. Also look for grooves that have been cut into the surface of the roller. A sure sign that it hasn't been turning, on occasion a gouged out roller can actually contribute to breaking a line under tension.
With another inclement weather weekend upon us, boating is not a factor in the equation. As alternatives for the avid angler, apart from the tackle or boat maintenance, there are a few options.
The obvious one, for those with deep pockets, is to travel to a location that is enjoying peak or near peak fishing. To be more realistic, getting a magazine or, better yet, one of the tackle and technique books and studying some of the rigs used elsewhere can lead to new ideas.
Most local anglers use one or two fairly standard rigs and while they are proven, this does not mean that there aren't others that will also work. For instance, no one uses any of the trolling rigs that involve circle hooks. There are also different ways of rigging plugs intended for billfish, some of which include wire options that will keep a wahoo attached and save a lure that costs more than you want to think about.
Wire, sleeves and hooks can easily be acquired at tackle shops or from some of the commercial fishermen who have vast stores of gear. Then sitting down and trying to make up some of these rigs. At the very least making a dozen or more of the standard rigs is a productive move. There are those days when rigs come back damaged, twisted into spirals or kinked and it is always expedient to have another one ready to go. Just about everyone has had to suffer the frustration of making up a rig at short notice and in adverse circumstances as the fish tear apart everything that you put into the water. After all, you have to have something attractive in the water to get any Tight Lines!