The daffodils are up, flowers and shrubs are blooming and fish in Lake Norman are getting ready to spawn. Now is a great time to go fishing.
Are you ready to go fishing? You can mow the lawn later.
Now is the time to inventory, organize and clean your fishing equipment. Planning, preparation and practice usually make for a good fishing season.
Let's start with your tackle box or bag. First look at the lures that you use and the ones you don't. Take the unused ones out of the box and put them some place where you won't forget them or give them to the kids for their tackle boxes. Next look at the ones you use and catch fish with.
Replace or sharpen the hooks, replace rings and swivels and maybe even touch up the paint job. You can even buy little eyes to add if needed.
Make sure you have the weights and hooks for the fishing you want to do.
There should be a sharp knife, long needle-nose pliers and a first aid kit in your tackle box.
Next, take a look at your rods and reels. I am sure they need some cleaning, mine do. If you don't want to take your reels apart, grease and oil them, take them to someone who will do it for a fee. One good source: Al at Fisherman's Friend in Kannapolis. He's a whiz and his prices are reasonable.
All the pro anglers put new line on their reels several times a season but you don't need to. One of my fishing buddies always has an extra reel or an extra spinning reel spool. He reels the line from the filled reel to the empty one ending up with unused line now on top.
Another angler puts a weight on the end of the line and casts it far out in his yard, cuts off the old line, ties new line to the old line and fills the spool. If the spool is really full or the line looks bad he repeats the cast and cuts again.
Here in our area we usually don't hook fish big enough to empty the spool so this replacement mode works fine for most of us.
You might also want to learn a few good knots.
Next take a look at the rods. Clean them with a little dish detergent and a soft brush. Check the guides to make sure they are not rough bent or broken. Take the reel off and put a drop of oil on the seat and the tightening threads. Put the reel on and you are good to go.
If you are new to fishing or new to the area you need to talk with successful local anglers and find out how we do things here. That 8-inch swim bait from California probably won't work here.
One new angler showed me his bait rigs and they were the kind for pier fishing at the coast; wire leaders, snelled hooks and a huge lead weight. We switched to a rig we use here and he was catching fish in no time.
Take the time to go to some fishing seminars in your area. Gander Mountain in Mooresville has several evening seminars every month. Bass fishing, white perch, catfish are covered. If you are going to fish from a boat the navigation classes are important.
Bass Pro Shops in Concord also has several bass fishing seminars scheduled this spring. Pitching and flipping techniques are important for catching bass around docks and brush.
If you are not a novice, you have to try to remember where you caught all the fish last year. Some smart anglers even keep fishing diaries to compare spots and results from previous years. GPS systems help mark your best secret spots.
If you plan to target a specific species, go online and look for fishing clubs in the area. There are a couple catfish clubs, bass, crappie and striper clubs.
There are some great fishing guides on Lake Norman and if you only want to fish a couple times a year look them up on the internet. You don't have to buy gear, bait, lures or even know how to fish to have a good time.
Also, make sure you have an up-to-date fishing license if you are more than 15 years old.
Last but not least, try to take a child or a novice fishing. You will have a great time and probably learn more than you ever planned.