Take the time to get your gear ready for use


February 11, 1996|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In less than four weeks we should be able to cast for early bass in Pipe Creek or drift a fly for trout at Morgan Run. With a little luck, the mackerel will be running off of Ocean City at about the same time and don't forget sucker fishing in Western Run.

We are close enough to the spring turkey season to justify driving our families mad as we practice our calls. Trap, skeet and sporting clays will be in full swing locally within a couple of weeks so you need to begin cranking out reloads by the dozens right now.

I have spent most evenings this past week working on a big batch of reloads for my chuck rifles. Most years my first chuck of the spring goes into the bag anytime between the last week of February and the beginning of March.

Recently I helped Hampstead's Rich Gonsman fill his fresh and saltwater fishing reels with new line. It pays to exercise care when spooling up a reel with new line. Improperly loading the reel can (and probably will) cause line twist, which results in all sorts of line tangles and bungled casts.

Filling a baitcasting spool correctly is easy. Insert a pencil into the new line spool to allow the line to feed smoothly off the spool. Pull off a foot of line, pass it around the reel arbor and tie an overhand know around the standing line.

Tie another overhand knot around the end of the line and pull the line snug against the reel's arbor. This is called an arbor knot and it neatly secures the line to the reel for spooling.

Have someone hold each end of the pencil while you turn the reel handle. Your helper should maintain a slight inward pressure on the supply spool to prevent it from overrunning and to keep a little tension on the line. Fill the line to within 1/8 -inch of the rim of the spool -- no more.

Fill your spinning reel by placing the new line spool on the floor with the label facing up. Pull the line so it spirals off the end of the spool. Thread the end of the line through the guides of your fishing rod and, using an arbor knot, tie it to the spool with the reel's bail in the open position.

Next, hold the rod tip 2 or 3 feet above the spooled line and turn the reel hand 15 to 20 times while applying tension to the line with your thumb and forefinger so the label faces down and continue spooling the line. Again, fill the spool to within 1/8 -inch of the rim.

While you are filling your reels, check the guides on your rods for nicks and line cuts that can fray lines.

I found just such a rough spot on a medium-action Berkley rod that I use for chumming or casting to big striped bass and bluefish. That guide needs to be replaced.

This old Berkley rod is fiberglass and my only saltwater rod targeted for use with braided line. Quite a few anglers have learned the hard way that combining an expensive graphite rod with braided line can lead to a broken rod. That's because this type of line has practically no stretch and puts a great deal of strain on a rod. Fiberglass rods handle this extra stress a little better.

You aren't giving up any feel when teaming braided line with fiberglass rods because these lines telegraph the slightest vibrations far better than conventional mono line.

Fishing news

The new 43rd annual edition of "Fishing in Maryland" is now available at local newsstands, bookstores and outdoor shops. Its updated maps of Carroll County trout streams, Liberty Reservoir, Prettyboy Reservoir plus the mid and upper Potomac are priceless to local anglers.

There is also a superb article on how to read streams and rivers that is sure to improve your luck on Carroll favorites such as Pipe Creek, the Monocacy River, the North Branch of the Patapsco and others.

* Sportsman's Resources, Inc. of Hampstead has scheduled two bassing seminars. "The Tidal Potomac River" will be given March 2 at the Holiday Inn, Timonium. "Smallmouth Fishing on the Upper Potomac and Upper Susquehanna Rivers" is set for March 16 at Hood College, Frederick.

The seminars will be given by local professional anglers George Acord Jr., Richie Gaines, Jay Holt, Bill Kramer, Ken Penrod and Butch Ward. Information: Gina Claxton, (410) 374-6584.

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