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  • Writer's pictureChris O'Byrne

Productive Puttering

What Can be Done

It is a sad fact of the angling life that any number of events might keep you from fishing. In September, lightning storms hit the south and snowstorms hit the west. Throughout the year, work backups, family demands, and flooding washing machines might also keep you from casting a line. But if you putter around in Stephen Covey’s #2 quadrant during these down times, you can lessen your current frustration and improve your future fishing. Here are a few tasks to try:

Look at your rod and reel outfits:

~Do you need to tighten reel seats?

~Are squeaking reels asking to be lubed?

~When was the last time you completely dried the backing on your outfits?

~Is your fly line nicked?

~Should you clean, or lube, or stretch your fly line?

~Is your leader ready for recycling?

~Has the square knot in your loop to loop connection pulled out of shape?

~ Have you ever waxed your ferrules?

Check out your flies:

~Remove used flies from fly patches, old fast food sacks, truck sun visors, from under the couch cushions at your significant other’s place, and other areas they congregate, then put them back in the appropriate box.

~Do any of your hooks need sharpening? On the water well-honed points will function anonymously, but dull ones will disappoint you.

~Do your hooks still have barbs jutting out? Pressing them down now will save time when you get to fish again.

~The tags of old leaders that are still knotted to hook eyes add a poignant touch of artistry to some photos, but they will cause a delay or a hang-up in fishing. Cut the old leader off now while you have some time.

~Do you use a fly threader fly box? You might preload those threaders with go-to flies.

~Are there some flies that need repairs? Flies with loose dumbbell eyes, unbound hackle, mangled popper heads, and other small issues can be set aside now and repaired later.

~Or, now is a good time to say goodbye to flies that are beyond help.

Tasks to do inside the house:

~You will be able to tie solid knots and well thought out leaders in the comfort of your tying area.

~What was that one presentation trick you learned last year? Now is a good time to reread a how-to fly fish book.

Spend productive time at the tying bench:

~Now, you can complete those fly repairs you found earlier.

~Tie some of your bread-and-butter flies, or variations with different weights or materials. Then

use your sink, bathtub, or swimming pool to test some small variations to these flies.

~Try tying a fly you’ve never done.

You can focus your energies elsewhere, too:

~Are there old pictures on your camera that should be uploaded or deleted?

~Is the battery charged?

~How about the battery in your flashlight(s)?

~Did you forget to replace that empty tube of sunscreen last time you left the water?

~Is your first aid kit up to date?

I hope that these tips fill your dry land time and improve your time on the water.

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