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5 Ways to Maintain Your Fishing Spirit During Isolation

The sounding radio is hard to ignore. Everywhere I go, every newspaper and radio station are pretty much echoing the same depressing news. The world is in a pandemic situation that we’ve never experienced in modern time. A time where our health systems and economics are tested to the end of the line. A time where some of us may go through struggles and maybe grief. The Covid-19 virus will test the world in a most controversial way.

But in every dark hole there's always some light, a silver lining. My calmness and strength is drawn from my family and my fishing. In Sweden we are still able to walk outside our home,. so the possibility of hitting the water is still pretty high for many of us. Though there's been a lot of hours spent at home, finding myself walking around from one corner to another. Fishing…. fishing… I’ve got to do something that at least contains fishing.

1. Keep your spirits high!

Maybe you're one of those that already is in a quarantine mode. A lockdown and just dreaming of getting out there. Well in this article I've gathered some ideas that we all can do to maintain our stress levels to some kind of normal. “Stay strong out there my fellow anglers”.

I’m standing in my backyard and it's quite a windy day outside. My daughter is playing on the grass and the tea party for her one thousand dolls has just begun. I ran quickly into the garage and grabbed a light rod for finesse fishing. A rod and reel combo used mainly for my perch and zander fishing.

Why not practice some casting while dodging the tea party and mud cakes that are being served from the sandy pit?

Searching through the mountains of toys in our tucked away garden boxes, I found some suitable buckets for my mission. On the back of the garage wall hangs some old, soft dart boards which have taken their last breath over the  winter. 

-Perfect! Let’s take these ones as well.

Setting up my casting area with a one small bucket and one bigger one is perfect. The smaller one for practicing as a representation of a gap in the weed line, under that overhanging tree, where your dream fish might be waiting. The bigger one for spaces between stones on that shallow summer plateau?

Nothing can stop me now! My imagination has already painted my battlefield. I grabbed some smaller jerkbaits to suit my rod-setup. A Rapala Shadow Rap® Shad! Usually a lure I often use in perch and zander fishing, it has a high profile and it's easy to use. To twitch and jerk it with intense movements, or just reel it in with a steady retrieve.

The practice has begun! It goes quite well and I’m feeling confident. The sound of hitting the buckets is loud. My daughter has stopped the ongoing tea party and some of the dolls have already left the table, face-planting the grass bottom of our backyard. -I wonder how strong that tea was? 

My daughter and I are now finding ourselves in a casting contest. Who is the best target-casting fisherman? Having a great time that involves even the smaller ones in our family is a super opportunity while in quarantine mode! 

2. Give your lures some love

Clothes are thrown in the hall. My daughter has already taken a place at our kitchen table, portioning out the small plates for the now upcoming clay dinner. It seems I’m going to be served green play-doh steaks and some soft yellowish clay chips. As she plays along, I’m taking the opportunity to give my lure some care and love. 

Bringing in the big arsenal from my Waterproof Duffel Bag. There´s a good amount of really nice lures here. A great tip for you, and something that I have done for many years is to drill some smaller holes into the bottom of my lure boxes if they don’t have them already. It's an easy way to keep away the water from staying inside your boxes. We have all been there in bad weather through a fishing day, when everything is just soaking wet. And when you finally get home you just want to hit the showers and wash it all off! Corrosion is something we all have experienced, somewhere within our fishing gear, especially if you are fishing more salty waters. Lures, tools and rod setups can take some severe damage from corrosion. 

So, an easy way to keep water from your boxes is to drill some smaller holes into them, and after a full fishing day just give your lures a nice shower under your kitchen sink or your garden hose. Don’t make the holes too big though. A smaller drill and more holes are to recommend over less, bigger holes, and voila! The water will drain itself. Another plus with “breathing” holes in boxes is to prevent air condensation. Which also can create corrosion over time.  

The dinner is done! My daughter looks at me with a smile! -Come dad, Here´s some for you. A hamburger with a salad to go!

Honestly it looks more like a meteor had struck a paint factory than a burger and salad, but who cares! We love what our children do no matter what, right!? I smiled back in quietness and pretended to eat my fresh clay-burger.

3. Glue the gaps and change the hooks!

-Hey Simone!? You want to paint to your nails? 

At this time, I have to be creative. We have covered some outside activities and the play-doh food part. I’m eager to finish my recreation plans for my lures. I’m folding out some old newspapers on the kitchen table. 

-Here you are darling, choose some colors.

I’m putting some of her nail colors (for children) In front of her. -Now we can paint the both of us right!? You with your nails and dad with his more transparent, smelly color. 

Spreading out my lures and checking them one by one. There´s a couple of ways to repair your rubber lures or paddles and tails. For minor cuts and repairs, I’ll go for a glue that’s suitable for rubber. Bigger cuts or damaged lures, it might be a good idea to melt the rubber together again by using a torch lighter or simply heat up the edge of an old knife and press it towards the damaged area and stick it together. 

I must say that the PVC soft material in Rapala’s predator series  is of a very good quality. You’ll find it on the paddle of the X-Rap® Peto and the tail of the X-Rap® Otus. I’ve caught a decent number of angry pikes on many examples and it holds together impressively. Of course, from time to time we all experience bad luck and a fish shreds or cuts the rubber into pieces. 

Both the X-Rap Peto and Otus have changeable tails. When it's too damaged to glue or melt together again, you can put on the spare part that’s included when you buy it. You can even buy the X-Rap® Peto Replacement Tails for Size 20 or X-Rap® Otus Replacement Tails for Size 25 separately if you want. 

In the picture above, it shows the construction and how easy it is to change the spare tails. By separating the hook from the split ring and the ring itself from the body. Screw and drag the tail apart and replace. Meanwhile you can take the opportunity to check your hooks. If they still are good to fish with you can just give them some love with the sharpener. Actually, you’ll find some more “advanced reading” about how to sharpen your hooks from another article I wrote some time ago here

So, the spare tail is now repaired or replaced. The hooks are sharpened up or switched to a brand new one. Our lure is now ready to be fished again!

4. A smooth reel of confidence

While taking a break from being a more responsible father and cooking up some Asian chicken with fried rice as a more edible course than my play-doh clay burger earlier, it's time for my little one to hit the bed. The evening rules and orders are over, dishes taken care of and finally I’m back to maintain some of my fishing gear. 

As a lure maniac, reels and lines can be stuff that is easily forgotten. I've come to a point where I try to change my line every season. You can always reuse your line by spooling it off, flipping it, and wind it on again so that you end up with the fresh, unused line that was previously at the bottom of your spool now at the top. With this approach you can also consider a more high-end line rather than buying a “cheaper” line that might have to be replaced faster and will double your costs in the end. I'll recommend putting some more dimes into it from the beginning and trying to get the most out of a better quality line such as Sufix 131 G-Core or 832 Advanced Superline®.

I won’t put too much explanation in different lines and push for the line that you should absolutely buy. I can only mention what I use personally which is the 131 braided super-line from Sufix. It covers my expectations in long-term use and is very reliable. A bit more money into it but again, this is one of those high-end lines I’m talking about. 

Being a dedicated angler, I spend a lot of my time and hours out on the water and as a result I need to maintain my reels a bit more often than the average fisherman would. Usually maybe you’ll be doing a reel cleaning once or twice a year and with this  you are good to go. To get started with reel maintenance, you should visit your local tackle shop and ask for some reel oil. Again, if you are fishing in salty waters you should give your reels a good shower when you come home after every fishing trip and let them dry. When servicing, I generally apply some oil on the maingear and gear wheels. You will definitely prolong the life to your reels. Always loosen the drag after you have washed your reel and when you have finished your fishing day. This will also spare the drag mechanism and let’s it last longer. Most important here is to remind yourself to tighten it up again when you next head out fishing. No one wants to miss that dream fish of ours from negligence, right? 

5. Jumping trampolines and tying stingers 

We are in for another day at home. Very similar to the day before and before that. At least I’m planning to sneak out to do some fishing later this week.

My daughter is now running for the trampoline and seems keen to expel some energy.

-Stay there a while now ok? 

I’m taking the chance! Quickly into the garage and grabbing some of the stuff I need to tie up some fresh leaders. One can never have too many leaders prepared in the tackle bag and it’s a great way to kill some time. 

How do I build and tie a leader? 

There´s many ways and every angler has their own favorite way, I guess. I can combine different ways. But this is a basic and simple method of tying a strong and extremely reliable leader.

I’m using a fairly thick dimension of fluorocarbon from Sufix. The Invisiline in at least 1mm thickness when I’m tying leaders for my pike fishing, but usually 1.20 if I can get it. 

What you’ll need

●    Fluorocarbon 1mm+
●    Snap Locks or Split rings
●    Swivels 
●    Lighter 
●    Split Ring Pliers 

Start by cutting off approx. 40-50 cm length of the fluorocarbon. (I like a longer leader to give you some distance between the pike), Inserting one end into the snap lock or split ring (your choice), a snap is a bit quicker to change your lure out on the water. Looping the line two or three times around itself and inserting it through the loop. And tighten it a bit. Wet down the knot and take your plier to tighten it all the way down. We are now left with a leftover end. Take your lighter and burn the end a bit, press it down on a hard surface to create a melted plastic disc. Repeat the same procedure on the other end of the fluorocarbon, connecting and tying the other end with a swivel. And Voila! You're done. 

In summary, here’s a quick list of what we’ve covered in this article:
●    Casting practice 
●    Cleaning lures 
●    Gluing damage rubber and changing hooks
●    Changing lines and oiling your reels 
●    Tying leaders

You might be thinking that you could do all of this in a few days, and then what? Well I say practice your casting more, tie more leaders or buy more lures to and start experimenting with customisations! Many online stores are still shipping fishing products to your door and allow you to avoid the crowds.

I hope I've given you some inspiration to maintain your fishing gear and keep your skills in shape! 

Take care of your family, friends and relatives. Stay safe and hopefully i'll see some of you out back on the water soon!