The snow is now three feet deep at my favorite fishing hole, and because I don't enjoy ice fishing, I have a serious case of cabin fever. Other than watching those incredibly interesting southern bass fishing shows, here are a few things I do to temper the fever.
Like most fly fishermen, I like to tie up a supply of my favorite flies. I also check my old flies for broken or bent hooks and damaged bodies. Then I give all my dry flies, new and old, a coat of Albolene skin cleanser. It is like Gehrke's Gink, but it costs only about $5.50 for 12 ounces (don't buy the scented kind). It turns to liquid when heated and you can do a better job at home and save yourself time when you are fishing.
I remove my double taper fly line and clean it with toothpaste (not gel), then rinse it in warm water and give it a very light coat of Albolene (don't put on too much or it will build up on the guides and hinder casting). I loosely hang the line to dry and relax.
When I'm ready to use it, I will tie the tippet to the other end. It's like rotating your tires - it will give you more mileage on your fly line.
My tippet was in good condition, but it was curled, so I pulled it through a folded piece of inner tube, which got out most of the curl. Hanging it in the basement should remove the rest.
I check my rods carefully, making sure the guides are straight and not worn, then I polish them with Pledge furniture polish. It cleans and leaves a light wax coating that repels water spots and dirt.
My reels are in good condition. A slightly damp rag gets rid of the dust and dirt. A little graphite on the moving parts and they are ready to fish again. Just to be sure, I put a very light coat of Pledge on the reel exterior with a soft cloth.
My backing is in excellent condition because, unfortunately, it doesn't get used nearly as much as I would like.
My fishing vest had a little fish blood on it, so my wife put a little meat tenderizer on the spots and washed it. In the meantime, I cleaned and restocked everything in the pockets.
My wife's neoprene waders developed a small leak last fall, so I'm going to fill them with water to locate the leak so I can repair it. I had to buy new waders last summer because I learned the hard way how to store rubber waders. They should be folded neady, placed in a black plastic garbage bag and stored in a cool, dry place. Heat and light will break down rubber. I had my waders hanging in a warm place near the furnace and a window and they developed long cracks that I couldn't repair.
Well, I've cleaned my tackleboxes, and sorted and re-sorted my flies. I'm not sure what to do next. Maybe I'll break down and go shovel the snow off my driveway.
Hurry up, springtime.