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 (Mar. 15)

GOOD. Water Stained; 63 degrees; 1.69 feet below pool. Bass are good on topwater frogs in the flooded grass. Flukes and senkos have been really good along the edge of the flooded grass in 2-4 feet. Darker colors are best such as black and blue and June bug. Texas rigs are good with beaver type baits in black and blue along the edge of the grass and some stumps 2-4 feet. Main lake points with spinnerbaits are good on windy points. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Cooler weather is affecting the movement of the black bass, as the water cools the females are not committing to the beds but, as the water warms activity increases. Be ready with a slow subsurface presentation in 3-4 feet or weedless topwater in flooded grass. Crappie are beginning to move towards the banks, try small bead heads fished slowly 3-4 feet. Carp and gar are spawning in shallow water. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie fishing on Lake Fork is getting really hot. Seeing great numbers and lots of big fish each day. The fish are making huge moves shallow this week and will for the next month. Areas in 2-13 feet are finally beginning to see more fish that are spawning. The 14-32 feet staging areas are also still loaded with fish and reloading daily now. Seeing lots of fish roaming in open water but the best luck is still coming on fish on timber or brush. Small hand tied jigs in chartreuse or orange are getting crushed right now, and you can still catch fish well on soft plastics and minnows. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins’ Guide Service.

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