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With winds howling up to 25 MPH and the air temperature in the low 40’s it’s a good day to be off the water. Now is a great time to take care of your tackle, proper maintenance especially equipment used in saltwater is vital. Start with new fresh line, weather use today’s modern braided lines (my favorite) or monofilament. Full reels will always cast further. Retrieve the owner’s manual and follow lube and maintenance instructions for your reels or take it to your local tackle shop that will have the right tools, parts and lubricants. Quality reels are not cheap, maintain them properly and you will get many years of use. Check your rods for cracks; thoroughly check all guides with a cotton ball looking for cracks or frays in each eye. Pull out the tackle bag or box begin with tossing any rusty, broken equipment. Sharpen lure hooks dulled from snags and fish. Take inventory, think ahead the next 90 days. What will you be targeting and what tackle is needed, fill in as needed. Lots of new tackle storage systems are now available, I just stocked up on a great zip bag with pockets for soft plastics baits. I have also seen some pack bags that are very light and very useful. Check you first aid kit, ensure nothing has expired. Take inventory and replace missing items as needed. I personally can attest to the importance of a good first aid kit from multiple hook punctures, scraps, cuts and a losing battle with a nasty Blue crab in Boca Grande. Boat owners check all safety equipment, fire extinguisher, life perseveres, flares, signal devices, vhf radio. Don’t forget to keep sunscreen stocked; while it may be cold out the sun can be brutal even on the coldest <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Florida</st1:State></st1:place> day. Chap Stick another must have for our breezy winter days. Muscle ache, headaches can ruin your day; pack your favorite pain killer. Check all your miscellaneous gear, review landing and cast nets for tears, fishing pliers lubed and not locked up, gaff hook sharpened. Good news the 10 day weather outlook looks terrific with sunny days in the 70’s and lows near 60. We are fishing the next 2 days and will be targeting a variety of fish including redfish, trout, sheep head and grouper.

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Capt. Steven

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