A Michigan Guide Prepares For Winter

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Santa-Fishing

By Brian Kozminski

I just got off the phone with a fellow fishing buddy who is a few states south of Michigan.

I could immediately tell the genuine giddiness in his voice over recent tracks in the woods and excitement for the fishing season immediately in his focus. At first, I was caught off guard, “What do you mean? We are storing boats, raking, shoveling, blowing out water lines, switching the lawn mower and placing the snow blower in pole position in the garage.”

It is a much different story north of the 45th in Michigan. We can see hard water on many lakes in time for a Christmas bluegill fish fry fresh from the ice. Be careful. Many anglers jump the gun on first ice bite and inevitably find that spring and thin ice with a rather frigid bath to accompany. I will wait until my girls are home for Holiday break before we trek out and drill a few holes looking for some panfish or burbot. There are many other activities keeping my focus at full attention.

Long & Dusty road~

DSCF3237Rod and reel maintenance is foremost. Not that we are totally done with fly fishing, we have a streamer fest scheduled first week in December in hopes of finding a post spawn mega-tron brown in the Trophy waters. It has been a long and, at times, arduous summer; back-to-back trips for weeks and mixing in family time at the beach left some of my equipment neglected. I have set a large towel on my workbench to break down reels, toothbrush in hand and 3-in-1 oil to make sure all levers and cranks are at peak performance for next season. Lines are stripped into a bucket of warm soapy water, wrung through a microfiber cloth and dried, awaiting dressing at the next stage.

Fly boxes can become a task, so try to keep it simple. I have a large Cool Whip container filled with ‘past-prime’ flies that I will either de-hook and use for kids casting events or adorn on a few of my favorite fishing hats. This is also a perfect time to take inventory on what was used and what I need to either tie this winter or prepare a massive order from various favorite fly tyers. The Weather Underground app is a daily ritual; one eye on the coming forecast in hopes of a 45º streamer bite in the middle of a twenty-something daytime high can get any of us excited.

The Vessel~

Keep that float in shape and she will take care of you for more than a couple of seasons. All storage compartments are emptied and placed in a large tote, preventing mold and odor build-up.  Toss in a mothball to deter any field mice from taking up residence.

IMG_3892Cooler detail—fill a bucket with hot water and get out the AJAX or AWESOME. Scrubbing those stubborn aluminum can rings and various other leftovers out of your Yeti is not only serve-safe, but a reflection of how well you take care of your client.

A little bit of bleach will go a long way disinfecting the hull and floor of the drift boat, preventing any invasive microbes from transferring to your next fishing destination. A can of PB blaster and a few shots in the crank as well as your rollers will help ensure ease of use in spring. I will move my winch mount forward or back an inch along with my spare tire simply to give variation on where my boat sits on the rollers and prevent a good groove from forming on the underside. Check your ropes—make sure the anchor line is in good working shape so you won’t be left dangling in the spring. We try to float at least a couple times each month, simply to get out and enjoy the winter scenery and trim a few trees here and there, but others will store their drift boat for a couple of the coldest months.

Make a List~

DSCF3312I am a list guy. It just helps. After inventory of flies, organizing receipts for tax preparation, and going over my calendar of the past year, I will head to the vise. Doesn’t make logical sense… or does it? I have a notepad next to my tying desk and will often jot down ideas for next year. Places to fish, different flies we had success with, ideas for True North Trout—whether for the blog, events, writing, menu options, partnerships or guide service, clients to contact over next few weeks, potential clients that I didn’t have time for last year that I want to get in the books or simply brainstorming on how to be better.

If you are standing still, you are left behind. I am always working and looking forward, trying to get more people on the river and show them the vast areas fly fishing has to offer. There is always the allure of the promise of next season. I revel in the thought of keeping a better journal, tying the top secret fly that will be the hatch master on a special river, meeting with or fishing more with favorite clients and friends while keeping the balance of family.

Hope your 2018 is all we have it built up to be. Tight Lines!!

Brian Kozminski
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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