Repairs & maintenance - Winter Maintenance

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There's a number of things to while away a weary winter.

Winter fishing can be really productive. The right clothing can arrest the onset of hypothermia and extend the pleasures of fishing on into the middle of winter. Thermal underwear, including long-johns and balaclavas are worthwhile investments. The layers can make having a pee a bit of a challenge, whether you’re a man or a woman. But layers provide the essential insulation effect. A final wind-proof outer-layer keeps one well cocooned from the icy southerly blasts that await us just as certainly as night follows day. I reckon you can’t beat the traditional oil-skin. Parkas are best so you don’t get drips running down your neck.

Balaclavas are under-rated. One doesn’t have to be balding to lose heaps of warmth through the head. Polypropylene balaclavas are my favourite. Light yet cosy. Motorcycle shops usually stock them. Come in some gaudy colours too.

Advice on tackle maintenance can take books. Some traps to watch out for are the effects of ultra-violet light on monofilament line and nicks out of ceramic guides. I reckon I’ve lost a few great spring snapper due to a combination of the above. UV damage is not widely recognised. Of the lines that I have experimented with, some seem more UV resistant than others. In my experience, low diameter, low stretch mono appears the most vulnerable. And that’s just what is needed for mega reds.

Experiment with line and knot strength to be satisfied that your gear performs to its rating. UV damage seems to be especially severe on knot strength. Cruising around in high summer with reels and line in full sun is not the smartest way to treat your gear.

Test the line by using your usual knots to connect to a set of spring scales. Pull until it breaks. Observe the breaking strain. Try it a few times to be certain. Note at what point in the trace the breakage occurs. Try different knots. Compare. You could get a rude surprise. The Palomar is a great knot. Worth learning.

Tight lines!

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