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While in South Carolina I got to spend a few hours at the Myrtle Beach Outdoor Expo. There were a bunch of saltwater themed seminars and product but not much in the way of freshwater anything.
But, it was "the beach," so I shouldn't have expected anything else. My dad was saved when I heard the sound of duck calls. Once I located that booth I learned of a duck-hunting seminar just getting ready to start. As I waited, I read the seminar schedule and "low country alligator hunting" caught my eye.
The waterfowling seminar was good, but after years of hearing basically the same thing, there wasn't much new information.
The gator huntin' program was fascinating. Methods and equipment were a far cry from what you see on 'Swamp People.' These guys don't leave baited hooks then run their lines to see what they have!
If you're lucky enough in the lottery to draw one of 1200 available permits they sorta "spot and stalk" their gator. I could go into detail about their methods of finding and taking a gator but I'll just say that it's "up close and personal."
They say taking an alligator is a tremendous rush when you consider your quarry has a better opportunity to hurt/kill you than you do to kill it. An "average " gator is around 400 pounds of muscle and teeth covered with armor! Yeah, that could do ya some damage!
This "outdoor" stuff got me all antsy. Of course this is just one symptom of that debilitating condition known locally as "cabin fever."
What makes this condition so serious is that right now Kentucky is in a transition phase. This makes treatment and cure of cabin fever difficult.
Transition is defined as "the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another."
And now, in Kentucky, our main hunting seasons are over. Oh sure, we can shoot coyotes but no more waterfowl, deer or small game. We can go for some float and fly-fishing, or maybe find a lethargic bass casting but the good spring bite is a little later.
So what to do for the next four to six weeks? "Road trip" comes to mind as a consideration. Head to the Red River in Louisiana for the Bassmaster Classic, which is this weekend. Or, if you'd rather fish yourself, how about loading up the boat and heading south? Ever want to try some ice fishing? Didn't think so! Anyway, head north for that.
Things a little too tight for an out-of-state trip? Well, how about taking care of what you already have?
I know you cleaned your guns after each outing during the past season. But was that cleaning a complete disassembly or just running a bore brush and patch with a wipe-down?
Now's the time to completely take your gun down, clean all the parts and lightly oil everything. *Notice I said "lightly" and "oil." Use a quality solvent to get rid of fowling and other gunk then lightly re-oil everything. Use a quality gun oil, not WD-40. WD-40 isn't an oil!
Clean optics with products made for quality glass optics. If you have several hundred dollars in a quality scope, why wouldn't you purchase quality products to protect it? Once cleaned, protect your scope's lens with caps fitted for your scope.
*I like to put all my shells in boxes and write the year on the box. No particular reason, it's just something I do!
This "down time" is a great opportunity to organize, clean and get all your stuff ready for a new season of fishing.
While not everyone will be comfortable disassembling a high dollar reel for cleaning, it isn't a big deal if you go slow, pay attention and have a schematic of your reel. *Schematics of most every reel made are on line, along with tutorials on the cleaning process. Also query "super tuning" reels. To be honest, you won't believe the increase in efficiency you'll get from a clean and tuned reel.
Consider changing out all of your fishing line. As an idea, just strip off, then replace half your line. *Use half as backing, makes expensive lines go further. *New line, next to the spool will develop a set coil and make casting difficult. So why waste new line! The exception is braided line. It doesn't take a "set" so when the top half gets old and worn just reverse the line on your reel.
Check your rods carefully for nicks and cracks, this is where your rod will eventually break. Replace the rod. I don't know of any way to "fix" the damage.
The rods guides can be checked for cracks by running a Q-Tip thru them. If the cotton sticks, there's a crack that will fray and cut your line. These damaged guides can/should be replaced!
Crankbaits can be cleaned with soap and water. Loose lips can be re-glued with Epoxy and hooks sharpened or replaced with upgraded hooks. Spinnerbait blades can be polished and/or painted. Loose hooks, sinkers, etc. should be sorted by size and function.
Plastic worms, and really everything else "should" have been sorted as used, but we all know that didn't happen. It's pretty safe to assume that any multi-colored clump of molted plastic is going to be basically useless, so I'd toss it!
Even if you just organize your stuff, your efficiency will increase once you start fishing.
I missed the Mid-KY Bass Anglers meeting but John was kind enough to provide us with the 2012 schedule in last week's issue.
If you noticed, our first outing will be the Cabin Fever Tournament on Fagan Branch, March 18. Launch will be at 9 a.m. with a 3 p.m. weigh-in.
Our new president, Jason Spalding, runs this one every year and gets us off to a good start on the season. This is an open tournament, so everyone should come on out.
Taylorsville swap meet is 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Assembly of God Church, 404 Garrad St., Taylorsville. Admission is $2.
That's it for this week. Get out, enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer, stay safe and I'll see ya next week!