A couple of weeks ago, I came clean about how much I hate doing boat work. Well, I’ve got another confession to make — I rank taking care of my fishing tackle right above boat work and just below getting a root canal on my list of things I’d rather not be doing. That being said, it’s something that needs to be done on a regular basis and with the rainy weather we had all last weekend, I forced myself to tackle the mess that my garage had become over the last six months of nonstop fishing.
I started the project by making a list of the things that I needed to get done. This served two purposes — the first was that it allowed me to procrastinate for a few precious moments before having to do any actual work and the second is that checking items off my list is always a motivation to get them done. If you’re new to making work lists, I have to warn you that there is a fine balance as to just how much or how little to include on your list. If I write down too many things it can seem overwhelming and having too few can make the list seem like not a big deal and something I can put off until later. I’ve found the list making sweet spot to be around 10 to 12 items.
Several of my projects included ordering parts for repairs to my boat trailer which, like all trailers used in saltwater, seems to be in constant need of service. But that is a frustration that I don’t have the room to discuss in this column and will save for another day. Once the parts were ordered, I moved on to going through my rods and reels.
Every six months I try and go through all of my rods and reels to make sure that they are in proper operating condition. This inspection includes checking rod guides for cracks, looking for any guides that are coming lose, listening for noisy bearings in the reels, checking free spool and testing drags.
If given a passing grade, the rods and reels get put back in the rack, but if there are any problems they get set aside to be serviced.
After going through everything I’d found that I only had two rods that needed repairs, but around 25 of the reels needed some sort of service. So I boxed them up and sent them to Sav-On Tackle in Santa Fe Springs, which is an Abu/Garcia and Shimano warranty center.
If needed, I’ll usually replace the top half of the line on my reels when I get them back from service. Since most of the fishing I do is for fish that don’t take a lot of line, it’s wasteful to replace all of the line on the reel as most of it never gets used. So I’ll simply strip off about half of the spectra and then use a double uni knot to connect the new line before refilling the reel.
This year, I am replacing almost all of my older reels so instead of replacing line on the old ones, I spent a few hours winding line onto the new ones. When replacing a reel, I’ll usually transfer the bottom half of the line from my old reel onto the new one and then fill it with new line. It takes a little bit of extra work to do this, but with the expense of Spectra, I figure I saved a couple hundred dollars in line for the 18 reels I filled.
One of the good things about being a member of BDOutdoors is having access to our classified section on the forums. So, once the old reels were serviced and I’d taken the line off of them, I set them aside to sell.
A good rule of thumb for selling reels quickly on the message board is to take a photo that accurately represents the condition of the reel and then honestly describe the reel and any issues it might have. As far as pricing goes, I always try and list them for around 20 percent less than they are going for on ebay, which usually makes for a quick sale.
With the rods and reels out of the way, I turned my attention to tackle storage. Like most fishermen, I use Plano boxes to store tackle on my boat and at the end of the year I end up with a couple dozen boxes full of assorted lures and lead heads that I stuffed in there before fishing trips. While this is a good way to keep the boat uncluttered, it’s a bad way to store tackle because I’ll lose track of what I have and where I put it.
To get a better handle of my tackle inventory, I mounted a 4-by-8 foot piece of pegboard on my garage wall to store my tackle when I’m not using it. Going into this clean up, there were a few baits that I “knew” I was completely out of, like the Bladerunner Paddle Head — but after unloading the boxes I found that I still had a couple dozen of them. Not everyone has the space for a big piece of peg board in their garage, but it is important to have some sort of organizational system in place that allows you to quickly check what tackle you have as it will save you some last-minute trips to the tackle shop on your way to fish.
Organizing my rod and reel storage was the easiest part of the project. Since my rod horde has outgrown my main storage system, which I built out of 1½-inch PVC pipe, I added a smaller rod rack made by Batson Enterprises which is great for storing rods without reels on them.
I also built a hanging rack to hold my longer jig sticks and the rods that were too big to fit in the other racks.
These are just a few inexpensive and easy solutions to the rod storage problem. You may be able to come up with a better storage idea on your own, but anything is better than having them piled in the corner of your garage.
As much as I loathed getting started on these projects, I found the work to be enjoyable once I got into it and while it may not be as fun as fishing, it’s good to know that my tackle will be in good working order when I get back out on the water.