So, before you start to fish, get your gear ready. Here are some tips from the pros on how to get your gear ready along with the drill that I use every year to prepare for the fishing season.
Each year, replace most used line. This is a judgment call as to what is meant by “used”. Three out of eight of my rigs with braid line are showing signs of wear… they are a bit frayed. Two of them need all the line replaced, one of them which has plenty of line on it just needs the worn line at the beginning of the spool taken off. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “A lot of guys cross braid line when spooling onto conventional reels to prevent the line from digging into the spool when a big fish is on.” Ken also suggests re-spooling lead line putting the used portion on the reel first, “This way you use line that is new as most anglers rarely use more than three to four colors (90’ to 120’) of line.” I plan to replace all of my reels with monofilament line. Some anglers put new line on two to three times a season depending on use. Monofilament line has memory so it tangles easily and creates bird nest tangles when it is old or has been sitting in the cold for a while. Also stretch the line, the first 100 feet (of monofilament line) to relax its memory and avoid tangles. When you change any type of line it is important to spool tight or the line may slip on the spool.
Give your reels a good cleaning, particularly when the line is off. Grease where directed by manufacturer, often times, the reel is marked where to do this. If instructions are long gone do not hesitate to stop by your local bait or tackle shop to ask where to grease. Do not be afraid to ask questions, that is what they are there for. By the way, do not grease the drag, it is not meant to be greased, if you do, it will not work. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, RI, said, “Anglers often forget to put oil on the line guide worm gear on bait caster reels as this is can go a long way allowing the gear to perform properly throughout its lifetime.” John says that he charges $10 to $15 to clean and grease your average spinning reel. Archie's Bait & Tackle has a new location this year at 292 Bullocks Point Road, Riverside, RI. This time of year the store is open for business 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most days. Call 401.437.2630 if you have any questions.
Examine the rods for cracks and stress marks. Closely examine the eyes for chips or cuts that could cause line to snag, rub or break. Do not place hooks on the eyes or they will eventually create cracks that will cut line as it passes through.
I get tackle ready in chronological order when certain species are fished… starting with tautog, striped bass, blue fish, fluke, tuna, etc. I then go through tautog rigs first, then the striped bass, etc. Make sure you have enough rigs to fish the species. Hooks should be clean and sharp (no rust), and strong enough for the size fish you are going after. Often hooks that come with lures are not quality hooks so I replace them with stronger hooks.
Use wire leaders for blue fish and monofilament or fluorocarbon for striped bass. Blues won’t bite though the wire and striped bass will find it harder to see the monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders. Make sure leaders have no nicks or stress marks from fish pulling. If they do, replace them. I switched most of my hooks to circle hooks, I did this so I can safely catch and release undersized or unwanted fish (particularly striped bass). Circle hooks are designed to hook the fish at the corner of the mouth and not down in the belly. All hooks should be sharp and rust free. Ken at Ray’s Bait recommends VMC hooks as they do not rust and come in all types and sizes.
Opening Day for freshwater season
Opening day is Saturday, April 9, 6:00 a.m. for salmon, trout and charr. Get you gear ready. Licenses are required for anglers fifteen (15) years of age and older. You can purchase a fishing license at city and town halls as well as at license agents. Visit the Department of Environmental Management’s web site for a list of agents, a list of trout waters that have been stocked, “Kids Only” ponds and much more at http://www.dem.ri.gov/ .
First annual recreational fishing tournament out of the Port of New Bedford
The first annual recreational fishing tournament to be held out of the port city of New Bedford is scheduled for June 17-18, 2011, with Pope’s Island Marina serving as home base. Proceeds from the charity tournament, called Fishing for a Cause, will benefit the Schwartz Center for Children. Complimentary boat slips will be provided on a first-come, first served basis and early registration is encouraged. Registration deadline is June 1, 2011. For more information visit www.schwartzcenter.org/fish-on.
Shallow Water Striper University is March 25, 26, and 27 at the Sheraton Airport Motor Inn, Warwick, RI. This weekend long event features some of the best local professionals who make their living catching big striped bass. Registration for this event is $89. for the entire weekend. There will also be charter trip give-a-ways, raffles, prizes, and more. Contact Debbie Wood at Wood Boat & Motor, 401-739-4040 or visit http://www.shallowwaterstripers.com/ .
Shark fishing and DEM Law Enforcement featured at RISAA Seminar Monday
Captain Mike Pierdinock of CPF Charters will speak on shark fishing and his great adventure of tagging a 16 foot great white shark last year that was captured in a 20 minute video. Also the Rhode Island DEM Division of Law Enforcement will speak on the duties and mission of environmental police. Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) members can bring a guest to this meeting at no charge. Non-member donation is $10. The seminar is Monday, March 28, 7:00 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick. Food served 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.