Hatchery trucks have been rolling around the state restocking the state’s streams and rivers in time for the April 9th opening day of trout season. As it approaches, thousands of anglers are getting ready. Here are some tips to help make your day successful.
Rods. Examine each of your rods closely looking for dings and dents that may cause the rod to break when you have that personal best trout on the other end of your line. If you see any damage, consider getting your rod repaired or replaced before it fails when you least want it to.
Reels. Make sure they operate properly. Add a little lubrication where necessary. Check your owner’s manual to learn where lubrication is recommended. If you don’t have it you can probably find a copy online. Reel Butter is a very good lubricant , but check your owners manual for recommendations.
Line. Discard the first 20 feet of your line and examine the next 20 feet or so for knots and frays and discard that too if you encounter any. If you are using a spinning reel make certain that your spool is full. A partially full spool will significantly decrease your casting distance. If your line is more than two to three years old, discard it and re-load with fresh line.
Knots. If you still have tackle tied on from last season, it only takes a minute to cut and re-tie the knot. Knot failure is one of the most common reasons for losing a fish.
Tackle box. Look for any rusty hooks on your lures. Rusty hooks won’t be sharp and may break at the most inopportune moment. Any store that sells fishing supplies should have replacement hooks. They are as easy to replace as putting another key on your key chain.
Waders and hip boots. If you encountered leaks last season now is the time to repair or replace them.
Boat. Charge your batteries if you have an electric motor. If you use a gas motor make sure it starts before you hit the water. There are few things more frustrating than loading your boat for a day of fishing only to find that the motor doesn’t start.
Keep abreast of regulations. In New Jersey the trout fishing regulations often change and what was fine on one stream last year, may be illegal this year. Nothing can put a damper on your opening day more quickly than encountering a game officer with a ticket book. You can find the complete list of regulations here.
Opening day for trout season is an exciting time, but it can also be disappointing if your equipment fails while on the water. While preparation won’t ensure a limit catch on opening day, at least you know that it is the fish that are being uncooperative and not your equipment.