Be prepared: Get ready for spring outdoor excursions
By: Rob Somerville
It has been one of the longest winters in my memory. But, Mother Nature will be warming the earth, and life-giving sunshine will soon green up our woods. Song birds will fill the air and the do wood trees will be blooming. Fishermen will be hitting the water and turkey hunters will be scouting the woods.
Here are some tips that can help you ensure that your spring outdoor excursion will be “snag-free,” as well as some activities that can get rid of your winter doldrums.
Prior to your first excursion on the water, I recommend you do some pre-season maintenance on your boat. The lower unit oil needs to be changed, sparkplugs pulled and cleaned or replaced, all fittings and alemites greased, the carburetor cleaned and “de-gummed”, and all switches, lights, fish graphs and LCD’s checked out. If you are confident and capable of doing this work yourself, go ahead. I prefer to have an expert do my pre-season “make-over” for my boat. Union City Marine does an excellent job of this. After all, who wants to get all excited about going fishing, just to have the motor fail to crank at the boat ramp?
It is also important to check your safety devices such as horn, fire extinguisher, and life jackets prior to season. Get a TWRA Fishing Regulation handbook to check to see if any rule changes have transpired regarding fish size or creel limit on the bodies of water that you fish. Make sure you have purchased all of the correct licenses and permits for where you fish.
Strip your old line off of your reels and replace. Temperature changes and dry-rot can be the worst enemies of fishing line, causes a 10-pound test line to break as easy as a two-pound test line.
Clean your rod guides and make sure there are no rough edges that can fray your line as it passes through them.
Clean your reel parts and lightly lubricate them with oil.
Organize your lures and sharpen any hooks you will be using with a “hook sharpener”
Most outdoor enthusiasts utilize an ATV for hunting and fishing. Unfortunately, many put their 4-wheeler in the shed on the last day of deer or duck season, and forget about them until they are getting ready for the next year.
If we took care of our personal trucks or cars that way, many of us would be walking to work.
An ATV needs a pre-season check-up to have it in optimum running condition at all times.
One of the most common mistakes ATV owners make is washing their bikes at a high-pressure car wash.
The exposed parts and rubber boots, which protect the unexposed parts, can be damaged under this high-pressure assault of water. It takes a little more time, but a garden hose and some elbow grease can prevent some costly repairs down the line.
I like to use ARMOR ALL conditioner/cleaner on my seat, which seems to prevent them from cracking.
As with a boat, an ATV needs regular maintenance. Greasing of alemites, adjustments to brakes, clutches, and chokes, and various other work needs to be done as preventive maintenance measures. If you are a good mechanic, have at it. Again, I prefer to turn to a professional, and use Abernathy’s Honda for all my ATV tune-up needs.
the winter doldrums
Cleaning your firearms, planting foodplots, attending outdoor shows, and reading outdoor publications like ours can help you beat the pre-season doldrums. But, if I was you, I would knock out some of those “honey-do’s” that appeared on your “to do” list during last season.
I hope these tips will help you get ready for spring and get you excited about the upcoming outdoor season. As always, remember that our kids truly are our most precious natural resource. They are our future.
Published in The Messenger 5.7.08