Backyard Shed

WANT TO CATCH MORE FISH? SPEND MORE TIME IN THE SHED…

When asked about the best ways to catch more fish, my standard response is to suggest you spend more time in the shed, our your spare room or office or wherever it is that you keep your fishing gear. There’s a simple reason why and that’s because the place where you prepare and maintain your fishing gear plays a vastly underestimated part in how successful you are likely to be.

If I’m going on a fishing trip, I generally get out there the day before at some stage and invest the necessary time into getting ready. I work out what I’m going to take, rig up my rods and reels, tie new leaders on all of them, pack the lures I think will be needed and just generally check that everything I’m likely to use is in good working order.

The day before you go is a much better option than rushing around on the morning of your trip or even waiting till you’re out on the water. In the shed, you aren’t under any pressure, so you are less likely to take shortcuts.

I find that when I’m doing all my rigging in the shed, I’m more likely to tie good knots and snug them down tight. If a leader looks at all dodgy, then I replace it rather than wondering if it will hold. If hooks are bent or blunt they get changed or upgraded. Only when I’m happy that everything is 100% ready do I set it aside to be grabbed up as I leave.

Knowing that everything is ready and prepared properly sure makes it easier to sleep soundly the night before your trip I can tell you.

FISHING TACKLE MAINTENANCE IS A MUST

In between trips, I’ll still get out to the shed as often as possible to clean and maintain all my bits and pieces.

For example, fishing line is something that’s pretty susceptible to wear and tear, so I do regular checks on my lines to make sure there’s no damage or weak spots. If the line looks old and worn, then it’s better to replace it rather than risk losing a good fish.

I’ll also check to see that the spool has a full line load on it. During the course of a day’s fishing, it’s not uncommon to lose a bit of line to snags or bust-offs or even just retying leaders. If the line level is a bit down, I’ll strip it off onto a spare reel and then add some more backing underneath so that the spool is completely full when the braid is reloaded.

Modern fishing rods are light and powerful but they can still get damaged so they also need regular checks. Run your eye over the blank itself, to make sure there’s not dints or fractures which might snap under the weight of a good fish.

The guides also need checking. Make sure they aren’t cracked or broken. The inserts can sometimes pop out if the frame is damaged or broken and leave your line running across sharp edges, so check they are securely seated. Rod tips are particularly prone to damage so make sure you double check the tip itself.

As with anything mechanical, reels also need to be checked regularly. If you don’t service them yourself, at least look for loose screws, listen for noisy bearings and make sure the line roller on the bail arm is spinning freely because if it isn’t it’s likely to generate lots of friction and cause bust offs.

REPAIR WHAT FISHING TACKLE YOU CAN IN THE SHED

I recently saved myself from potentially losing a good fish when a regular check revealed that the spool nut had come loose on my Penn spin reel. As I was home in the shed with plenty of spare parts, I simply grabbed the tools, retightened it and replaced the little locking screw which had fallen out.

As it turned out, I hooked a large Spanish mackerel on that reel the very next trip. It was one of those fish which really give a good account of themselves. It took numerous long, high speed runs and then did quite a bit of playing up next to the boat before we could finally gaff it.

Thanks to all that preparation I didn’t need to worry during the fight. I had a full spool of line, the leader had been re-tied and the lure had had the hooks upgraded. Still, if that spool nut had still been loose, I probably wouldn’t have landed it so I’d reckon all that shed time certainly paid off.

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Dave Magner
magner66@tpg.com.au

Dave is a keen and experienced lure and fly angler who has travelled and fished right across Australia and New Zealand. He particularly enjoys tournament bass fishing, chasing freshwater species from his kayak and bluewater pelagics from his boat.