Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Written For Outdoor Gazette
October 22, 2007

More Fall Fishing Maintenance Tips
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

Well if you’re all set with your boat and motor for late fall fishing, here are a couple of other tips that could help make your fishing trip more productive. First thing is to re-spool all your reels. Even if you put fresh line on this spring or summer, new line in the cold weather period will make a difference. Line that has been sitting on your spool will show it’s “memory” once the weather gets cold. One good snag, or sturgeon, will stretch the line and leave you a curly mess. Not that this can’t happen with fresh line, but it is far less likely. I like to use 6 pound test mono-filament for most of my river jigging. The thin line diameter helps me get light weight jigs to the bottom and it has plenty of strength to handle most any fish. For places such as the Fox River in DePere, I switch to a spool of 8 pound test. This mostly because of the numbers of BIG fish that are caught there and the zebra mussels, which can be tough on light line. I stay away from the “super lines” because they are usually much too stiff once the cold weather sets in. There are numerous lines to choose from. I like to choose a low stretch option such as Berkley’s Transition, a fluorocarbon combination line that is invisible to the fish, yet HIGHLY visible above the water. This above water visibility helps you detect fish, especially when they are biting light in the cold water. Transition is among the most expensive mono-filaments, but there are plenty to choose from that offer low stretch and good visibility above the water. The new Suffix (name brand) lines are very good also and I’ve had good luck with them.

Here’s another simple, yet effective, tip for your fall fishing. Take a dozen jigs that you are pretty sure you are going to use and sharpen the hooks. Then put them in a small plastic container and spray a little WD40 on them. What that will do is help keep them sharp and by separating them from your main supply, you are sure to grab one that ready for action. You should also remove any paint from the eye of the hook so that you don’t have to fool around with such things in the boat. Now it may not make too much difference when it’s warm out, but when temperatures are in the 30’s, every step taken at home helps make things easier.

Also, make sure to grease your reels. Fresh grease this time of year will make your reels operate much more smoothly. In fact, I actually switch some of the reels on my jigging rods to the small reels made by Frabill for ice fishing. They hold plenty of line for jigging and they are made to operate in extreme cold temperatures. A reel that is operating properly gives you the best chance to catch a big fish should you hook one. Check your drag system to make sure it is working properly, same with your “back reel” switch. One thing that I’ve been taught is to loosen the drag when I put my reels away. That keeps your drag system in the best shape and and setting it each time you fish is a good idea.

Buy a small self contained heater. The Poulan Pup or Mr. Heater “Buddy” are both good options. I used to use the “sunflower” type of heater in the boat but they are actually pretty dangerous in the boat. The smaller heaters may not deliver as many BTU’s, but they are far safer and if used properly, do a very good job. Even if you are not using it to keep warm, these small heaters can work wonders when it comes to re-warming hands after handling fish. A towel is also a must in the boat once it gets cold if you are handling minnows.

Lastly, make sure you have what it takes for both your body and your feet for fishing this time of year. I’ve been with countless anglers who have plenty of warm clothes and jackets but show up in tennis shoes. Keeping your feet warm is as important as keeping your head warm when it comes to fishing the cold water period. Gloves are hard to fish in so take a look at the options available for keeping your hands warm. There are rod wraps that hold a small heat pack that work well but I usually do OK just keeping one up my sleeve. A small piece of athletic tape will keep it in place on the bottom of your wrist. This helps to warm your hands and buy you a little respite from the cold. A good “bombardier” style hat is a good investment and will help keep you warm when traveling from spot to spot. I like the leather kind and always spray mine with a waterproofing coating. For boat drivers a set of goggles is a great addition as is a pair of “choppers”. That is big mittens for keeping your hands warm. A small heat pack inside can re-warm your hands quickly and put you back in fishing mode in a short period of time should your hands get cold.

All in all, fishing this time of year can be fantastic. This last week on the Wolf we went out and caught walleye, white bass, crappie and small mouth bass in good numbers. Making sure you have the right equipment will ensure your comfort while fishing in during what I believe is the best time of year to catch fish.

For more information on topics such as this and the areas great fall fishing, make sure to check out Doc’s Wolf River Country.Com Joel “Doc” Kunz is a freelance outdoor writer / photographer published weekly by Outdoor Gazette. His work is also seen in many other Wisconsin and Midwest publications. He is a recent READERS CHOICE award winner and a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. His is a Pro Team member of Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Motorguide & Lindy Little Joe.


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