By now you should be chomping at the bit to go revisit your old salty haunts from last season. Surely you’ve stored your gear in good order since the last trip so a quick check over should suffice before you toss some lines around. Rods, reels and lines need to be checked for any damage or abuse that you put on the to do list and consequently forgot about. You can be as vigilant as you feel, but some short cuts can’t be risked and you’ll be kicking yourself for time to come after a catastrophic failure that could have been resolved in a few minutes.
- Check rods for any corrosion or damage to guides, in particular stripping guide inserts.
- Put it together and line the ferrules up, check for cracks or loose fittings.
- Clean any debris off the rod, pay attention to the reel seat threads and apply a light oil.
- Pull the fly line and backing off your reel, clean spool and soak backing while off.
- Once dry re spool and check your backing knot as it winds on.
- Drags need to be tested and any issues attended to. No point waiting for that fish of a lifetime to remind you of an unkempt salt encrusted reel.
- Run your hand the length of your fly line, inspect any bumps or nicks, if in doubt treat yourself to a fresh line for the new season.
- Don’t be a total scrooge, that tatty old leader is shit, admit it to yourself and tie up a replacement pronto.
Flies and tippet material: for starters make sure they are packed and ready for their first outing of the season. It’s basic, it happens!
- Take a good selection of flies, some of your top 5 faithfuls and a few you’ve toyed with over the last few months.
- Keep your selections concise - poppers, baitfish, and generic crustacean patterns (clousers, clousers, clousers) should cover most bases. A few different sizes, weights and colors should serve you well.
- Tie them on decent hooks, you can thank me later.
- Marie Condo your fly box - take out the rusty hooks and stragglers that have been hidden away for too long.
- Learn and relearn your knots, find out the best ones to suit each step of rigging that you have total confidence in.
- Learn some different knots or rigging techniques.
Other bits and pieces…
There’s a lot of moving parts in this game, all exposed to some of the harshest conditions out there, if you look after your gear it will look after you. A freshwater rinse at days end and some form of protection goes a long way.
- Wading gear - check boots and/or wader condition, eyelets, sole, rand, fabric etc.
- Pliers/nippers - a light spray of Lanolin based product works a treat.
- Bags - check for waterproof quality, zippers may need a coating of lube.
- Boats - motor serviced, trailer, safety equipment and all fittings etc need a good check over.
Lucas Allen is the legend behind King Tide Salt Fly, a guiding operation chasing kingfish on the flats of the Tauranga Harbour. Get in touch with him today if you like the idea of sightfishing to big, aggressive fish...