April 19, 2004

Let's Get Ready to Fish

Frank G. Dwyer
April 19, 2004

It finally feels like spring around the Port, and along with the abundance of normal chores necessary this time of year, it’s time to get your saltwater tackle out of the basement or garage. Certainly, your freshwater gear needs sprucing up too, but your late if that gear is not ready to go. (more on that later)

There have been rumors of striped bass being caught in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, and in a few weeks, they will be in our waters too. Most of the following is common sense, but it’s always good to revisit the basics. Take a look at your tackle and consider the following:
Rods: Check guides for wear and tear. Nicks and abrasions can fray your line.
Ensure all guides are tight and are lined up correctly. Ensure that the reel seat is corrosion free and in good working order. If you have two-piece rods, ensure that the top and bottom portions connect easily and securely.

Reels: Reels typically require the most upkeep. Some can be complex, so if you’re unsure on how to take your reel apart or maintain it, visit your local tackle shop. Alternatively, most reels come with detailed diagrams to help you in this endeavor. Nothing gets the heart pumping like a whole table full of small parts that need to be put back together exactly as you found them! Reel spools should be taken off the reel, and all old line discarded. Reel oil, or some folks use WD-40, should be used on most moving parts after the reel has been washed and rinsed in warm (not hot) soapy water. If you enjoy fly-fishing, these reels also need similar maintenance and care.

Line: I change my line not only at the beginning of the season, but several times during the season. Your mileage will vary, depending on how often you fish, and the conditions you fish under. At the very least, starting the season off with fresh line will hopefully be insurance against having a "the one that got away" story of your very own. In addition, I enjoy tying up several leaders of different size and test for the upcoming season, allowing
me to be ready for whatever conditions might come up without having to stop to make up a leader. Fly lines also require cleaning, although typically won’t need to be replaced each year.

Lures: Lures of all varieties also need some primping to prepare for the upcoming season. Hooks should be checked for rust and if need be, replaced. If not rusted, hooks can be sharpened using a stone or a variety of commercially available hook sharpeners. Other lure dressing such as buck-tail, feathers and paint should be checked and spruced up as necessary. Once again, fly fisherman need to check their flies for wear and tear too, and if you’re like me, you’ve been stockpiling your favorite flies after a long
winter of fly tying.

That certainly covers the basics, but when in doubt, you can certainly enlist the help of your local tackle shop. (or drop me an email)

Trout fishing has been good locally as stocked fish have become more active. Over 20,000 fish have been stocked in local lakes and ponds throughout our Northeast District. Most fish are rainbow trout, with some brook trout mixed in.

Recently stocked waters include Stiles Pond and Bald Pate Pond in Boxford as well as Saltonstall (Plug) Lake in Haverhill.

Plenty of trout stocked in the fall are swimming in Pentucket Pond, Rock Pond and the Parker River, all in Georgetown.


No Shad have been reported at Rock’s Village yet, but it should not be long before they show up. In addition, early season striper action should also begin to heat up at the Lawrence Dam and other up-river spots as herring begin to move.

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