As we all know, March 21 marked the first day of spring, and if you can remember that day, it didn't feel like it or look like it here in Marshalltown. Last weekend, it finally felt like spring, and we almost got a taste of some summer weather earlier this week on Monday. We are Iowans, and we know one thing about the weather; if you don't like it, just wait an hour or two, it will probably change.
Most folks that I am around on daily basis sure are ready for that change. It seems like winter will not let go here in Central Iowa. While Mother Nature still clutches to winter temperatures, the life of a fish must go on. I have always said, no matter how cold or how hot, the fish must still eat.
There have been many anglers out testing their skills and knowledge against the fish this month. Some results not so great, while other results have been good. That is pretty typical of spring fishing, no matter if you are searching for bluegills, catfish, walleye or bass, some days seem magical, and others you might as well of stayed at home. I know a lot of anglers who have spent some extra time this spring to get their boats prepared, rods and reels ready and lures and baits organized for the fishing year.
T-R PHOTO BY TODD REED
Local bass tournament angler Dave Dost has his boat, tackle, rods and reels ready for the fishing season. A recent trip to Rock Creek Lake provided some early April bass fishing. Dave reported catching this giant bass on a crankbait, but also reported bass hitting slow moving baits like jigs or soft plastics.
If you are anything like me, my memory at times can forget the most important things. So today I would like to offer you some tips on spring fishing and how to get your gear ready for the season.
New line - No matter how many reels you have, fresh line should be put on in the springtime. Line that has been sitting around on your spools all winter long will have a lot of loops or "memory" in it. These loops will cause more issues than line that has none, and will not let you detect bites as well either. If you are mainly fishing for panfish, I recommend using six or eight pound test line. This works great with those jigs or a bobber set-up with live bait. If you are after the larger catfish, walleye, or bass then 10 to 20 pound line would be your best choice depending on the type of bait you are using.
Rods - Ever wonder why your line gets small nicks in it? Most often that happens under the water with sticks and rocks, however it can be your rod that is damaging your line too. Most rods have ceramic coated guides, and if those get chipped, they have very sharp edges. A quick test can be done in just a few seconds to make sure your rod is not causing abrasions on your line. You will need a Q-tip, or a cotton ball to do the guide test. Take either item and run it around each guide on your rod, be sure to do it clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. If you have a ceramic guide that is damaged, some of the cotton or particles of the Q-tip will be left on the guides. It only takes 30 seconds or so to test each rod, and it might save you a lot of damaged line or that big one that gets away.
Tackle - Get organized. Most anglers cherish every minute they get to fish. I have seen a lot of people waste time looking for tackle, whether it is hooks, bobbers or artificial bait and they lose out on that fishing time. A cold spring day in April is a perfect time to get all your tackle together, dump everything out and get it organized into as little number of containers as physically possible. This will save you a lot of time while out fishing.
The above reminders can all be done in a few hours and will help you enjoy your time on the water this upcoming season. They may seem like little things, but they can lead to more fish being caught, and simply enjoying yourself outdoors, and that what fishing is all about!