A new year has arrived, and we are all hoping to get more time on the water. I am starting my last semester at NC State in Raleigh, and I am looking forward to graduating in May! Speaking of Raleigh, there are several events in Raleigh that may be of interest to fellow fishermen. The Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo at the NC State Fairgrounds is January 10-12. This show features a large number of exhibitors and speakers which draw thousands of fishermen from the east coast. The Expo has vendors that have great deals on tackle and equipment, boats for you to see, and even a fishing tank for the kids to try their hand at catching live fish.
If you cannot make the Raleigh show, then try to attend the Richmond Fishing Expo located at the Virginia State Fairgrounds in Doswell, VA. The Richmond Expo is January 17-19 and offers the same quality event as the one in Raleigh.
Since fishing is a bit slower this time of year, now is the time to do a few things that will allow you to be successful when the fishing season starts in full swing. The first thing I do is have my reels serviced during this down time. When you get them back, go ahead and bite the bullet and respool your reel with new line. Once that is done, make a quick inspection of your rods to make sure all the guides are smooth and they have no burrs or cracks in them that would cause your line to be cut when you are reeling in a fish. Also make sure the tip is not loose. Also, now is the time to check your tackle and buy anything you may need replaced in your tackle boxes.
If you own a boat, now is the perfect time to have your boat serviced because most marinas have low work volume during the winter months. Why wait until it gets warm only to be put on the list to be called when a slot is open? This is also a great time to have your trailer serviced so it will also be ready to roll when the fish start to bite. Be sure to check your life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares and other safety equipment to make sure they are not expired and are in good working order. Call your local Coast Guard Auxiliary to have them inspect your boat and give you a 2020 inspection sticker. This inspection is free and it is a good service to use to make sure your safety equipment is working and functional. Now is also a great time to purchase a membership for SeaTow or TowBoat US as an insurance policy in case you breakdown on the water. A membership in one of these services will get you a free tow back to the dock should you have engine problems.
If you prepare now in the dead of winter, you will be ready to hit the water when the spring bite starts.
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