Cabin Fever! Living in the south I can fish for bass year round. Our lakes don’t freeze over, and the weather is usually tolerable. If the weather is too miserable to bass fish, wait a few hours, and it will warm back up. Normally the only thing that will stop a southern angler from bass fishing is a cold rain, or the call of hunting season.
This year was different for me. I sold my boat in December so that I could deal with a shoulder injury, knowing full well that if I didn’t, I would find a reason to spend time on the water. Per the doctor’s orders, I needed to stop fishing for six to eight weeks. The only way to guarantee that I didn’t go fishing was to sell the boat.
Well now everything is right again, the weather is warm, the bass are spawning, and my new boat will be ready very soon. The Cabin Fever is high! I find myself day dreaming about the upcoming tournaments, the bass I’ll catch, and the incredible sunrises. I’ve been fortunate through my life and career that I’ve never really had to deal with Cabin Fever. I can now officially say it’s a horrible illness, and I have no idea how northern anglers deal with it year in and year out. I’d go crazy!
Now that my new boat is very close to being ready, I’m finding the fever even harder to deal with. However, I’ve found comfort in a few things that are helping. So, the next time you’re not able to go bass fishing for an extended period of time look to some of the following things to help you get through the fever!
I found a lot of comfort in organizing my tackle. If you take your time, you can spend hours by simply going through your tackle. After spending some time surfing websites looking into what’s new in the way of tackle boxes, tackle bags, and tackle storage systems, I determined that my current system was pretty effective. Using some ideas I saw online I made a couple adjustments, but all my boxes are organized and ready to go back in the boat. Apparently I’m a pretty disorganized angler when on the water. Off the water I store everything by size and technique. For example, shallow running crankbaits have their own box and deep divers in another. While going through my tackle, I found deep divers in with topwater baits, and shallow running crankbaits had lipless baits mixed in. My gear was truly a mess. While straightening this all back out, I also took note of how often I used particular baits and purged baits I hadn’t and probably wouldn’t throw. This only means I have room for the new baits I’ll be buying.
While organizing your tackle, it’s also a great time to verify your hooks are sharp and not rusted. Sharpen and replace as needed, this will save you valuable time when on the water. This will also ensure that when you hook that bass you’ve been dreaming about during feverish blackouts, it will make it to the boat for a photo.
I’ve also used this time to take a hard look at my reels, tearing each one apart and cleaning it. I flushed the bearings and re-oiled them, cleaned their gears and re-greased them, and tore down the worm gears to clean the debris from the teeth. Once I do finally get back on the water, I don’t want to lose a bass or fishing time do to a failing component. There is nothing worse than having your favorite reel start acting up while you are on the best bass fishing trip of the season (usually the first one). With just a few minutes on each reel, you can ensure that when you click the thumb bar and make a cast, everything will be smooth and quiet.
I’m not sure if this helped or fueled my Cabin Fever, but I accomplished a lot of reading. Looking into new products, new techniques, and reading about the professionals of the sport and how they tackle certain scenarios. While it’s great information, and will surely improve my skills as a bass angler, there were days that I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to stop reading. It’s difficult to read about the great successes that are just around the corner knowing that you can’t do anything about it yet. So use caution and take it in small doses because while reading can improve your bass catching abilities, it will also raise the temperature of the room.
Finally, if cleaning tackle, cleaning gear, and exploring new options are pushing you over the edge it’s time to hit the “Honey Do” list. All those things that you’re going to have to accomplish but have been putting them off will come back to haunt you when the season starts. Be sure to knock out the big ones, the ones that will get you the most kitchen passes. These are the ones that will ensure you spend time on the water, and not in the yard wishing you were on the water. After all, haven’t you been doing enough wishing? Plus, these chores will take your mind off of bass fishing and lower the fever some bringing it back into control. “Honey Do’s” are not as difficult when they are not taking time away from bass fishing.
If you’re a southern angler, I hope you’ve been wearing them out because shortly it’s my turn and I don’t plan to share. If you’re a northern angler, hang in there it’s not going to be much longer, and the ice will melt!
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