by Bob Jensen
It’s a new fishing season! After a winter that didn’t want to let go, the grass is now green, robins are sitting on nests, and the fish are biting. Following are some things to keep in mind when you get ready to go fishing.
First of all, make sure you have a current fishing license. Some states are offering options on fishing licenses this year. For instance, in Iowa you can buy a three year license that offers a cost savings. Also in Iowa you can buy a license that allows an extra line. For a few dollars more, you can use three lines, which can be an advantage in some fishing situations.
Be aware of any new regulations that may have been implemented. There are frequently changes that we need to be aware of in daily and possession limits and size limits.
Remember that if you’re going to be trailering a boat in Minnesota, you need to pull the plug out of the boat when you’re on the road. This is to prevent the spread of invasive species. I put a spare plug on the key ring for my boat’s motor so I remember to put the plug in when launching. So far I’ve remembered every time.
Also remember to pull weeds off the boat trailer when you take the boat out of the water. This is another attempt to slow the spread of invasives. If you get into a routine when loading and unloading, loading and unloading is very quick and easy.
Make sure the line on your reels is in good shape. Your line is the only connection between you and the fish. Use good line!
Make sure your landing net is in good shape. The bags on nets sometimes wear out: You don’t want to discover that your net’s bag is rotten when you’re lifting that trophy out of the water.
Netting a fish is an important consideration. If you’re going to keep the fish, netting it increases the odds of getting it in the boat.
If you’re going to release the fish, the proper net will increase the odds of the fish’s survival. Some nets damage fish, a few nets are designed with the fish’s best interest in mind. Frabill’s Conservation Series of nets have the features that are best for the fish. The mesh in the net is knotless, so fins and eyes aren’t damaged, and they have a flat bottom which supports the fish better. If you’re in need of a new net, check this one out.
Now is the time to start investigating some of those close to home spots you’ve always thought about trying. Get permission to fish from some local pond owners. Ponds are the first to turn on early in the year. Most ponds have bass and panfish and maybe some catfish. They can provide outstanding early season action. Get permission, then get out there.
Last of all: Do what you can to make this a safe and pleasant fishing season. Drive carefully and be patient at the boat ramp. If someone is having some trouble loading or unloading their boat, ask if you can help. If the person wants help, good for you and good for them. If they don’t want help, back off and stay cool. The open water fishing season goes by fast, enjoy it.