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Even before cabin fever starts to set in with the onset of the new year's new TV programming, arrival of the new catalogs in the mail, and the annual consumer outdoors shows begin, it is simply not too early to initiate the annual inventory of your angling arsenal for the new open water fishing season.

A great place to begin things is with your boat. Take one day to simply do a cursory overview of the watercraft, with notebook in hand so as not to overlook any concerns. Make sure your motor is in the upright position to better allow any residual drainage. Check the prop and seal closely, along with trailer and boat lights . Add some lubrication to all essential parts and adjacent areas. Inventory the boat for any needed items or repairs. Disconnect batteries for the balance of the off-year.

Take all combos and tackle boxes out to survey for any needs. Add such items together to properly fulfill. I save lots of time and space by not utilizing specific boxes for terminal tackle, finding it much more convenient to add appropriate terminal tackle to each lures box, individually. For any bladed baits, I use jewelry polish to enhance the metal. I always maintain a supply of Emory boards to assist with the more extreme needs. These boards also can be a welcome addition to the files I'll use on every lure's hooks in the box. I utilize Arm & Hammer baking soda to apply to the skirts on jigs and spinnerbaits. Their new spray version also works very well.

Whereas I tend to the business of spinning reel lubing and cleaning myself, I prefer taking my baitcasters to a pro, having him add new line while they're there.

I'll take a cotton swab and carefully run it through the eyes of all my rod eyes . Any subsequent cottony residue that accumulates is an indication that that eye is in need of replacement before it starts weakening my fishing line.

The wintertime is a great time to kick back in the recliner and tend to maintenance of your angling gear in a thorough, organized manner. Come spring, you'll be glad that you did.


Jack Kiser is the host of " Buckeye Angler ", and long-time Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and " Midwest Outdoors " magazine, as well as TV and radio host for PBS and Fox Sports.You may reach him at the Buckeye Angler Facebook site, or at the new

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