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 (Nov. 30)

FAIR. Water Stained; 65 degrees; 5.81 feet low. The bass bite should change after the rise in water. Suspending jerkbaits are still best worked over 7-10 feet around ditches and creeks. Spinnerbaits have been good in the same areas, slowly rolled near big wood. Viper XP jigs in sourgrape, PBJ, Purple Passion, are still good on big wood near the edges of the creeks 8-10 feet. Report by Lake Fork fishing guide Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Bass are slow on Carolina rigs, dropshots, and jigging spoons in 15-18 feet of water, and squarebill crankbaits in 3-6 feet of water. Report by Jason Hoffman, Lake Fork Guide Service. Rising water level will bring feeding bass shallow. Fish newly flooded grass and timber with streamers for bass chasing shad. Some bream will be mixed in on warmer sunny days. Crappie will be moving towards wintertime schools in the open water and deep pockets, beaded woolies fished with a 5 wt rod and sinking lines. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The bite is getting better and better going into the winter months. Big crappie are beginning to show up in numbers as the water temps continue to drop into the 50s. Catches over two pounds are landed each day with some fish closer to the three pound range. Timber on flats and along the main lake creek channels in 28-50 feet all seem to be holding good fish. We are seeing a good balance of white crappie and black crappie both being caught each day. Minnows still seem to be the dominant bait, but the jig bite is coming around finally on Lake Fork. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins Guide Service.

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