For most of us, the fishing season is coming to an end for another year. Some people can fish year round, but for us northerners the off-season can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Now that you have all this extra time on your hands, what is there to do? There’s plenty to do right now to prepare you for the upcoming season.
One of the most important things to get done is organizing your boat and tackle. For some of us, this might take a while, but it might be done quickly if you kept everything organized last season. I put similar baits in separate tackle trays, such as all my crankbaits in one, all my jigs in another, and so on. Then I take a piece of colored duct tape (yellow works well) and write on it what that tray holds. Then just place it in your boat or tackle bag tape side up; now you’ll readily find what you need. Another important thing to do is take all of the line off your reels, and put new line on. I don’t do this until a few days before I start spring fishing, but it’s very important. If you do it too early the line will have memory by the time you start using it, or it may fade if it’s braid.
Another thing to do during the off-season is practice your casting! This is very important because if you don’t practice, by the time spring time rolls around you will spend more time getting your lures un-snagged than you will fishing. Some of us can’t practice our long distance casting because of cold and snow, but you can still flip and pitch inside. I just go down to my basement and place some cool whip or sour cream lids at different distances and try to hit them with a jig (with the hook point covered). Do that for 15 minutes a day, and you will be glad you did when you need to put that jig right on top of a spawner’s bed! If you get a day or two of warm weather, you can also go out and practice in the yard; plus, seeing all the looks you get from your neighbors is fun.
You also need to be doing stuff for your sponsors when you have the time. You can do lots of stuff, such as writing articles and getting them published on different websites and your blog, promoting their products online, and doing anything else they ask you to. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you should get one and add lots of people that fish as friends; then they can see any post you make and you can promote your sponsors like that. You should also make a YouTube channel and get a video camera to start making fishing videos. There is lots more on this topic, but I’ll leave that to the hundreds (or thousands) of sponsorship articles that are already on the internet.
There are more things that you can do, such as make your own jigs and soft plastics, custom paint your own baits, and even start your own bait business to make a little money on the side. I have mentioned a few things you can do to help with cabin fever; however, just use your imagination and do anything that will help you become a better angler, or prepare for next season!
Good luck and tight lines! Jason Short