A little sun and a southerly breeze can do great things for anglers' spirits and the hint of spring in the air last week was just enough to get me thinking about the upcoming season.
It's time to get ready. In a few short weeks ( & quot;short" being a relative term considering the months we've had to endure), the ice will be gone and the crappies will be finning their way to the shallow cover.
Here's what you need to do to get ready.
Get out your lake maps and start marking the tried-and-true spots. But get into an explorer mood and look for new places you will want to check out in late March or early April.
Respool your spinning reels with fresh line. Stripping off last year's tattered mono will save you lots of frustration once you begin dabbling your crappie baits around the snaggy places they prefer in the spring.
Sort through your terminal tackle and discard the bent and rusty hooks, the mangled sinkers and the beat-up jigs. Restock the hooks and lures, and sort everything by size to make it easier to find the right stuff easily.
Make sure your slip bobber selection is updated so you aren't caught on the water without an adequate supply. Nothing's more frustrating than breaking off a float and then discovering you've got nothing but baseball-sized bobbers for the rest of the day.
Check your spinning rods' line guides. Make sure they are clean to allow for smooth casting and free of nicks and grooves that can damage and weaken the light lines you use for crappie fishing.
And finally, sharpen your fillet knife so you're ready to deal with a bucketful of slabs at the end of a great day on the water.