Brad Laabs: Tips for avoiding wear and tear on fishing gear and boats
One of the most common habits to break is to hook your hooks into a guide on the rod. Most guides are ceramic and the sharp hooks can cut into the guide. The line running through the guide can scarring and causing premature line failure.
If your rod has a hook holder, use it. If it doesn’t have a hook, you can get a snap-on hook holder to put it on your rod. If you do not go this route, hook the hook in the foot of the guide instead of the guide itself.
Putting the hook in the cork or foam will damage your handle or front grip.
When setting down your rod / reel, make sure it is not resting on the handle, especially if it goes for a bumpy ride in the boat or vehicle. If it is a spinning reel, make sure it is not resting on the bail as this will destroy the bail spring. Tying rods or putting them in rod lockers when navigating rough waters can save you from having to prematurely replace your rod or reel, or repair guides that break due to abuse.
Inexperienced anglers always tend to want to coil a fish all the way to the end of the rod with jigs or lures. This can be a problem for a fish’s fillet and also becomes a cause of broken tips or rod tips.
Train your novice angler through the fish fighting experience. A reminder to slow down and not up against the drag may also be needed, as newcomers to the sport get excited with a fish, have it run to the boat, and tend to move up against the drag.
Turning against the drag with a monofilament or fluorocarbon line will create a twist in the line. Make sure they stop spinning with 4 to 5 feet of line and lift the tip of the rod to keep pressure on the fish and allow the fish to be net caught without adverse consequences.
With live bait rigs (lindy rigs or bottom bouncers), they will tend to reel the weight to the tip and keep reeling, not realizing that they have a leader to contend with, and the risk of line breakage or loss of fish that can occur.
Trying to clear snags by grabbing the rod in the middle and shaking upwards is another good way to break a rod. If you get caught, point the rod at the snag, hold the spool to prevent drag slipping, and pull the line straight. It will come for free or break the line. Better to break the line than the rod!
You can also attempt a “bowstring” snap on the line to try to free it first. This technique takes a little practice to perfect. When you have newcomers to the sport in your boat, you need to be a teacher and coach to help reduce potential or future problems.
Riding in front seats when a boat is on the plane is dangerous, and for those who have read my articles before, you know my feelings about it. Do not do it. I mention this around this time every year because I always see it going on. I hope we can get everyone away from this dangerous practice.
The risk to the passenger in this seat is great, and the view for the operator is impaired and puts others on the lake in danger. If that’s not enough to stop it, maybe the fact that the seats, pedestals, and base supports can break this practice.
The bow is the roughest part of the boat, and a big wave or hitting an object in the water can throw the pilot or break the equipment. If a rider passes over them, there’s a good chance the boat will knock them over as well. Use common sense and make good decisions on the water. Treat yourself, your passengers and your equipment with respect.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)