by Capt. Johnny Luchka
This winter has been brutal to say the very least but it does not damper the spirit and hope now that daylight savings is here and spring is not too far behind. A new season is upon us which leads to making sure your tackle, boat, rods, and reels are up to the start of a new season.
Usually I take out my log book of both the Western LI Sound and the Jersey Shore as we fish out of both locations and compare conditions, water temperature, and where we found our first fish. But, this goes hand in hand in working in the man cave to make sure the line has been changed on your reels, old leader cut off and replaced, knives sharpened, tackle boxes are in order, reels sent off to be repaired, guides checked with a Q-tip to make sure there are no chips or cracks which could fray or break your line and this is a good start while we wait for the snow to melt. And of course know your states regulations and be registered and update your license depending on what water you fish.
As for us boat owners, our checklist is long and grueling but a necessary evil to insure safety first and foremost when you leave the dock. Here is a partial list of what we do, check all hoses, connections, filters, impellers, props, shifting cables, all ground connections, batteries for sufficient charge, thorough check of all electronics and VHF, flare and safety kit is up to par and nothing expired, first aid kit, epirb check, life raft and all safety gear, a check to see if there is any mold or water issues, a fresh coat of bottom paint, and possibly a trip to your marine mechanic for a complete engine check to make sure there were no safety or recall updates. If you trailer your boat please give your trailer a once over and a thorough washing of both the trailer and boat along with a few coats of wax and you are ready. Lastly, have your USCG Auxiliary give it a once over as they do a great job and if you ever get stopped on the water that feeling of panic will not be necessary as you will have everything in order.
Making sure you due your preventive maintenance will assure you both peace of mind when fighting a fish but also knowing you have safe ride to get you home. Tight lines and a safe season to all!