Christmas day is now over for this year and New Years Eve is on its way. I hope all of you who requested fishing equipment or fly tying material got what you wanted under the Christmas tree and are happy with Santa for his deliveries. The big question for now is, what do we do for the remainder of winter until the spring fishing bug hits us in early February?

I found a great article on the internet written by an author who identifies himself only as the Fish Coach. He had some timely remarks and recommendations for us all to consider.

His first suggestion is to carry out some much needed maintenance. Starting with the reel and fly line, check to see if there are any breaks or more than average wear on the line itself or the connection to the backing. The line has already begun to have a memory set, so take it off the reel and give it a good cleaning.

Check to make sure the backing is not wet from the season fishing and if it is, put the reel in a warm location to let the backing dry. It’s also a good idea to take the spool off the reel body and clean the spool and body from any dirt or debris. Put a drop of oil on the spindle and you are ready for the spring fishing.

Don’t put on a new leader until you are ready to begin fishing, then replace that old leader and start with a fresh one in the spring.

The next recommendation from the Fish Coach is to empty all of your fly boxes. We all have been surprised when we take a fly from a box and find some rust on the bend of the hook. The smallest amount of water can cause rust damage and may cause the bend to break when hooking that first fish of the season.

Inspect all of your flies and get rid of the ones that have any damage. While doing that, make a list of the new ones you will need during the coming season. If you tie your own flies, you probably have been at your fly tying bench already this winter; but if you don’t, you can pick up some in the spring or early summer when fly shops have good availability.

When particular patterns are in high demand, sometimes fly shops will run out of stock so you might have to wait until new flies become available. The worse thing that a fisherman can experience is running out of a pattern on the river when a great hatch is happening. Its frustrating and trying another pattern that looks close to the real bug doesn’t do the trick.

Check your leader material because it all degrades over time and becomes brittle and unusable. Always start with fresh leaders and tippet each year to avoid any problems with losing that big fish that you have hooked in March.

Last of all, check your waders to make sure they weren’t put away wet and clean out your fly vest or pack and get it organized.

Good Fishing!

Bill Bean