Each season, tens of millions of Americans and Canadians hit the water in search of fish, making it one of the most popular activities in both countries. Few anglers have unlimited time to fish, so to help maximize your opportunities this season, we solicited a few tips from professional anglers John Gillespie and Pete Maina. Here’s their advice for making this a successful fishing season.
Prep Your Rods & Reels
Inspect and clean your fishing rods and reels prior to heading out for the day. Pay close attention to line condition. “It’s silly and wasteful to lose fish due to line breakage, so part of your rod prep should be to check the main line for strength and frays,” said Maina. He recommends Seaguar Smackdown Braid fishing line. “And always start with new, fresh fluorocarbon leader material.”
Gillespie recommends changing all fishing line prior to the start of the season. “I use a power line so l can spool all the reels with the same line. Then when I’m fishing, I can adjust the leader material to fit the species I am targeting on any given day/ he said.
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Remember the ‘Boring’ Details
Obsessing over the hottest new lures] fishing tactics and weather patterns means we sometimes miss a few nuts-and bolts items. In Maina’s experience, here’s what you’re most likely to forget when you head out in the morning:
- Proper landing net for the species
- Boat plug
- Rain gear (no matter the forecast)
- Proper release tools (piers, cutters)
“Make sure your outboard motor, electronics, trolling motor and livewells are operable, too,” Maina added.
Sort Out and Set Up Your Tackle Boxes
Sorting lures, hooks and other tackle is perfect therapy on a Saturday afternoon. Purging your collection of rusted or damaged items and organizing everything delivers unmatched satisfaction. It also ensures you’re not fumbling around the boat in search of your chartreuse jig heads or perch-pattern crankbaits.
“ I arrange, my tackle boxes according to the species I’m after,” said Gillespie. “I have a walleye box, bass box, panfish box and trout box. All are labeled so they are easy to find in the boat.”
Set Up For Multiple Species – But Know Your Target
Anglers often head out in search of a specific species of fish, like muskie or walleye. This lets you prepare your rods and tackle beforehand so you’re ready to start casting once you hit the fishing grounds. “It’s good to have the boat ready for multiple species and situations, but have a main target species and plan, including the chosen body of water and structures you will be targeting/ said Maina.
Every angler knows that reality doesn’t always align with expectations, so have a Plan B ready. Maina recommends a little visualization to help. “Think the day through and prioritize structure and methods you think will work best. This way you can prep rods and tackle for the best presentations,” he said. “Having thought of secondary structure targets and methods will ensure you have the proper setup ready, including live bait, bobbers, sinkers and all the miscellaneous items for your chosen presentation.”
GIVE YOUR BOAT & TRAILER THE AMSOIL TREATMENT
You can’t catch fish if you never get past the landing. Before the season begins, prepare your boat, outboard, kicker motor, trailer and other equipment. If you encounter a problem, like a flat tire on your trailer, this provides time to fix it so you don’t waste half the morning running to the hardware store when you should be fishing.
- Remove boat from storage.
- Start outboard and kicker motors to ensure they run.
- Charge batteries for all electronics
- Check trailer tire pressure and condition.
- Ensure trailer lights work.
- Check trailer and boat registrations.
Change Lower-Unit Oil
Maina and Gillespie both strongly recommend AMSOIL Synthetic Marine Gear Lube (AGM) in the lower unit. It delivers advanced outboard protection against power loss and gear wear, even with up to 15% water contamination.1
“With the AMSOIL easy-pack, it takes me about five minutes to change lower-unit oil and is mess-free,” said Gillespie. He also recommends removing the prop and cleaning out any fishing line that’s stuck. It can damage seals and cause leaks if left unattended.
Maintain the Fuel System
Fuel-system maintenance is also vital since ethanol, present in most fuel today, has an affinity for water and can cause phase separation, a process in which ethanol mixes with water and falls to the bottom of the tank. When the mixture is pulled into the combustion chamber, it can lead to a lean-burn situation and damage the engine. AMSOIL Quickshot® (AQS) helps prevent phase separation while cleaning deposits from the fuel system for maximum power and operability.
Grease Trailer Bearings
“There’s nothing worse than having your bearings go out on the way to the lake,” said Gillespie. He greases the bearings each spring and fall with AMSOIL Synthetic Water-Resistant Grease (AWG). It resists water washout and helps protect bearings so you can focus on fishing, not making repairs.
Change Outboard Motor Oil
If you’re running a four-stroke motor, it’s best to change oil in the fall prior to storage so contaminants don’t sit in the engine all winter. If you missed it, start the season right with an oil change using AMSOIL Synthetic Marine Engine Oil (WCT, WCF, WCM). It delivers excellent high-stress, high-rpm endurance while fighting rust and corrosion for long engine life.
AMSOIL MP for Nearly Everything
“AMSOIL Metal Protector (AMP) is handy in the boat for so many things, like protecting tools, motors and reels against rust,” said Maina. “In freezing temps, it helps battle line and rod guide freezing.
Gillespie agrees. “I spray it on my fishing tools to prevent rust,” he said. “I use MP on my trailer hitch and even on the bow mount – always carry a can of AMSOIL MP.”
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1Based on AMSOIL testing of AMSOIL Synthetic Gear Lube 75w90 in ASTM 3233 and ASTM D892