Off Season Projects for the Fishing Guide

Well, winter finally hit in Texas, the cold fronts are driving through our area and bringing not only falling temperatures but lots of wind. Our fly-fishing season is grinding to a halt so it’s time for reflecting on the past season and starting preparations for the upcoming spring season which is only 14 weeks away. 

Our off-season projects will include servicing our fishing equipment, boat, tying new flies, and leaders. I’ll reflect and study successes and failures from this past season, and research new areas for future trips. 

My 1st project is cleaning and servicing the rods, reels, and fishing line.

Unlike monofilament line, fly line is not simply removed and replaced every few weeks, at up to $100.00 + a roll fortunately it’s not necessary either. Fly line can and should be cleaned and treated a couple of times a season depending on how much and where it’s used. If properly cared for you’ll get many years of use out of your line. Floating fly line needs to have grime and pollutants cleaned from it and flotant applied regularly. 

Fishing still waters, as I do, introduces lots of opportunities for anything that’s floating in the water to attack my line, it just takes one look at the scum line on my boat after a few trips on Lake Fork, red, brown, and slimy. 

 Here’s how I clean my line. I put 2 clean 5-gallon buckets side by side, 1 with a couple of inches of warm soapy water (I use mild dish soap) and the other with the same amount of warm clear water. I strip the fly line (to the backing) so it falls loosely into the soapy water and let it soak for 20 minutes. Next, I pull the line through a soft kitchen cloth, stripping it into the clean water and let soak 5 minutes. For step 3, I refold my cloth and strip the clean line back into the emptied and bucket that held the soap. Step 4, I empty the rinse bucket and dry it before refolding my cloth and applying line treatment/flotant by pulling the line through the cloth back into the clean bucket. Finally, I allow the treated line to cure for several hours (1 Dallas Cowboy football game) or longer. 

It's a good idea to store your reels and rods indoors through the winter and during the heat of the summer to protect the coating on the fly line. Excessive unprotected exposure to the sun will cause the line to crack and dry out. I keep my rods in my boat parked under a cover because I use them almost daily, I will cover them with a towel if I leave the boat on the water for lunch or bathroom breaks.

Next week’s project is to clean and service all 8 or 10 of my fly reels and rods. 

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Jan. 25)

FAIR. Water Stained; 56-59 degrees; 5.47 feet below pool. Bass are more active on warmer days in the backs pockets and secondary points going into the pockets. Target the warmest pockets with chatterbaits and spinnerbaits in 2-4 feet of water. Fish are traveling in the creek towards the back on warmer days and moving outwards on cooler days . Those along the creek are best on red squarebill crankbaits in a 1.5-2.5 inch around the edges and big wood 3-6 feet of water. Texas rigs with creature type baits flipped at the big wood on creeks and ditches are good in black and blue colors and June bug in 3-6 feet of water. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Black bass are beginning the early stages of pre-spawn. Try slow moving suspending streamers and sculpin patterns in 5-7 feet of water. Crappie are deep. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Crappie are really good around deep main lake timber in 38-56 feet along creek channels. Fish have been a little more scattered the past week, so it is necessary to cover more water to catch limits. Seeing big white crappie mixed in with lots of smaller black crappie. Minnows will work very well and small soft plastics and hand ties are working well. Best colors for my boat have been purple and chartreuse. Getting good reports of brush pile fish biting as in 20-30 feet. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins’ Guide Service.

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