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January 2002

Pre-season Preparation

With the arrival of January, itís time to start gearing up for the coming bass bonanza of spring.  For some guys itís been a month or two since they even looked in their boats or tackle boxes.  You know you need some new tackle, but do you remember what you need?  I like to take advantage of the cold days of January.  It is the perfect time to go out to the garage and just go through your tackle.

Every year I look forward to the boat and tackle shows so I can capitalize on all the bargains that I can find.  But a bargain is just a bargain if I need the product and I will use it.  The last thing I need is to add more weight to my boat and one more thing to dig through to find the baits that I consistently use.  Iím not saying that you donít need to buy new products.   It just makes sense to restock on your favorite baits that you will definitely use. 

First letís look at the soft plastic portion of our tackle.  I buy ten-inch Power Worms by Berkley and Mega Ring Shads by Gene Larew in one hundred count bags.  I use them consistently and I know that I will need them this year.  I put them away in late fall and there is know way that I can remember how many of each color I still have.  So I bundle up and go out to my boat and just start going through my worm bags.  This is a good time to take the partial packs and combine them.  If I have six bags of watermelon lizards, chances are that three packs of them have some lizards taken out of the package.  I just donít have time during prime fishing weather to combine them.  (I mean, if I have time to sort tackle, I have time to go fishing.)  So I take all of them and get a general count. Then I combine them so that I can make more room in the bag.  I do that with all the baits that I buy multiple packages of.  Then I look to make sure that I have a good number of them so that I will not get somewhere and run out.  If I am low on them, I just start a list.  Even when you live, eat, sleep and breathe fishing you can still forget.  So donít be afraid to write it down. 

Then I move to the hard baits and do the same thing.  I like to make sure that I have at least five to ten of my favorite RattleTraps by Bill Lewis.  In spring when fish pull up on shallow windy points and RattleTraps are what they want, you donít want to run out.  When you are throwing them on those big flats, you are bound to loose a few.  Do the same thing with your lipped crankbaits as well as your jerkbaits. 

Then move on to the skirted baits.  If you read my column often, you know that they account for at least half of the fish I catch and they are my favorite to throw.  When looking through your jigs, be sure that you have plenty of your favorite colors.  You also need to be sure that you have a good selection of colors that you can use when the fishing gets tough.  You donít want to just keep chunking the same old colors that everyone else is throwing at them.  I want at least eight black and blue Thunder Rattle Jigs by Cyclone Baits and at least ten other colors to choose from.  With Jigs it is easy to see the colors that you have.  But it is also easy to forget to check the weights that you have in them.  Remember that bass donít always want a Ĺ oz. jig.  You need more than just one size.  This is also important to remember when you are going through your spinnerbaits.  You donít just need to have the right color, you also need to have the right size.  A good rule for me is to try to have at least three Big Easy Spinnerbaits by Cyclone Baits in shad scale, white, chartreuse/white and straight chartreuse.  It is a good idea to have three of each color in at least two sizes.

The only thing worse than finding what fish will bite and then losing it is not having another one to tie on.  You can go a long way towards not letting this happen by being prepared.  Make a list and take it with you to the trade shows.  Donít leave the success of your next fishing trip to chance.

Leave a few for seed,

Chris Roberts