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Get Ready For Open Water

By Bob Jensen - April 1, 2008
Some Midwest anglers are already on the water, others are still on the ice. For most of us though, our first open water fishing trip is still a couple of weeks off. There is a thought that ice-out might be later than usual in some areas, so some of us could still be a month away from that first open water trip. However, when the opportunity to go fishing gets here, we want to be ready. Here are some things you can do to help get ready for your first open water fishing trip of the year.

First and probably most important, make sure you’ve got good line on your reels. You should start every season with new line. Remember, your line is the only link between you and the fish, and you want that link to be a good one.

For monofilament line users, if you do a lot of jigging or rigging, Trilene XL or Sensation will be excellent choices. These lines are easy to control, and Sensation offers outstanding sensitivity.

If you’ll be jigging around and through rocks or weeds, Trilene XT is the one to go with.

Lots of anglers like to fish in waders early in the year. Make sure that if you noticed a leak last time you waded that you get that leak fixed.

Go through your tackle and see if you need to replace or add some baits. Also check for rusty hooks on crankbaits. If you notice rust, replace those hooks. Some folks like to replace the standard hooks on their crankbaits with a specialized crankbait hook. Now is the time to do that as well.

"...complete your domestic obligations. You certainly don’t want to be doing those when the waters open and the fish are biting."
Check the bag on your landing net. Most bags now are pretty durable, but if your net is a few years old, you might need to replace it. Better yet, check out one of the new Catch and Release nets that Frabill has created. You can still keep the fish if you want, but these nets are less harmful to the fish if you do choose to release it. They also resist hooks from snagging in the net.

Brush up on some new techniques that you might want to try. I was introduced to a two-jig technique that was new to me last year. Before I try it this year, I need to practice tying the special knot that’s used to attach the second jig to the line. If nothing else, it’s always a good idea just to practice some knot-tying before the season starts. You might discover that your eyeglass prescription needs to be updated.

This is also the best time, if there is a best time, to get your chores around the house completed. Get the lawnmower tuned up, the windows washed, and anything else that might be necessary to complete your domestic obligations. You certainly don’t want to be doing those when the waters open and the fish are biting.

Make this the year that you’re ready to go fishing as soon as the fish are ready to be caught.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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