Too Cold to Fish? Time to Prepare and Restock!

There are times throughout the year when even the most hardcore catfishermen are forced by the weather to take a break from the water.  When rubbing your hands on a block of frozen shad and catching catfish on the wii isnt satisfying your itch, use the extra time to plan, restock, and prepare  for the upcoming season.

Fishing Log:

While many fishermen dont see the need to keep a log of fishing trips, this can be a very valuable resource.  It can help you to determine feeding patterns for a given body of water.  In a fishing log you should be sure to include as many specifics as possible that you will be able to use for comparison trip after trip.  Things of great importance on a fishing log will be weather conditions, water conditions, bait, presentation, date, and time.  This is not to say that you will always find fish where you found them on previous trips with similar conditions, but it is a great place to start.

Clean and Repair:

This is also a great time to take care of all of your gear.  Do all of the things you neglect all fishing season because it takes away from time on the water.  Bring in all of your reels and take them apart, clean and relubricate them.  There are some great reel cleaning kits available for the do-it-yourself-er and schematics for almost any reel are available online with a little searching.  Just be sure, before you get started, that you have a clean, well lit place to work so none of the small parts get lost.  If you are not comfortable refurbing your reels yourself, there are many tackle shops online that offer this service.

If you need to, replace all of your line after you re-lubricate and repair your reels.

If you have a boat, take this time to do any modifications, repairs, or upgrades.  Changing fluids and spark plugs, checking the water pump, and replacing filters should be done on all outboards before the upcoming season.  Adding some led lightingfor night fishing is a great winter project for any catfishing boat.  Install some rod holders, maybe a livewell, or anything else you wished you had on earlier trips.

Restocking Tackle:

The dead of winter also gives you the opportunity to restock the tackle box with all the items you use most often.   Replace all of the hooks, sinkers, and swivels that were lost in the last year of fishing.  I also like to buy hooks in bulk and a spool of good leader line and pre-tie a bunch of leaders and place them in small ziplock bags for the upcoming season.  If you pour your own sinkers, stock up on lead, and pour several of each size and style you prefer.  Its also a great idea to organize all of your tackle.  If you are anything like me, after a few trips, my tackle bag is a wreck!

Scouting:

Spend some time looking around on Google Earth, your local fish and game website, and the internet to scope out some new fishing holes.  If weather permits, go out and have a look in person, and take pictures.  Often times in the winter, water is at a lower level exposing some structure that may not be visible later in the year.  This is a great thing to take note of.  Label your pictures so you can revisit these spots when the fishing fires back up in the spring.

Catfishing Videos:

Head to you local tackle shop and pick up a few catfishing dvds. This is a great way to pass the time when its cold and to live vicariously through the show hosts.  You can also search YouTube and other video hosting sites for catfishing videos.  We will have our video page up and running soon!  There are many videos out that offer some great entertainment as well as giving you some great tips you can put to use on your next fishing trip!

These are just a few ideas to keep you busy, and your mind off catching catfish, until winter leaves us.  Even though this is not going to satisfy the need to have a big cat on the end of your line, it will get you ready to hit the water as soon as the ice breaks!

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