Preparing for the new carp season

With spring right around the corner and temperatures rising the carp season 2011 is almost upon us ( though some of you are already out as I saw today..) and it is important to start the season running. I have condensed a load of tips that I have worked out over the years to help you get off to a good start. If there is something that I have missed please let me know and I will be sure to add it, or just pop a comment at the bottom. On to the list

Check your tackle

Sounds easy but how many people forget to do it ? they pack up in a winter session in December and then the next time they open their tackle box it is a mouldy mess in January. If only they had checked their tackle. Do it over a few evenings in front of the TV in the warm. Get a notepad and make a note of things that need to be replaced or things that you are running short of. Better to know now that you need more choddy hooks in size 5 rather then finding out on the bank.

Replace line and leaders

If you use mono and it has been on for longer than 6 months why not strip it all off and replace it with fresh ? if you don’t want to do this, remove a 30ft section from each spool and discard safely in this way you remove the section of line that takes the most punishment. If you have shock or rubbing leaders attached to your lines, remove them and replace them. They will take a lot of abuse and changing them now may avoid a crack off when you are in full swing in your 1st session.

If you use lead core, why not make up a load of lengths

Again another job that is far far easier in front of the TV in the warm than in the teeth of a gale at 3am. Might also be a good time to throw out any old used sections of lead core.  If you are a pike angler why not make up a load of wire traces ?

Go through rig bin and throw out old rigs

I do this very regularly, if a rig has been used and / or looks suspect in any way in the bin it goes. The only things that get recycled are 4mm silicone tubing, swivels, solar spikers and rig rings. the rest goes in the bin.

Empty and tidy up tackle box and Empty and tidy up ruck sack / luggage

This is a job that can be neglected for years. Get you =r tackle box and empty it, now remove all of the dirt, dust and other debris that has accumulated. Do the same for your ruck sack and be amazed at how much mud you have been dutifully carrying from venue to venue. A good hint is that a hoover is useful and if you are cleaning your fishing luggage it is worth doing it outside as there may be an amazing amount of dirt inside.

Before you repack your luggage, have a look in every bag and think about the last time you used everything… do you really need 3 spods ? when was the last time you used that spare reel ? do you really need to carry it all ?

A little cleaning goes a long way

At a minimum you will want to clean your

  • Rods – soft cloth and a little soapy water
  • Reels – as above and then some oil as per the instruction book
  • Bite alarms – as above
  • Pod and bank sticks – then use a little oil / grease on moving parts

Look after your gear, you paid a lot for it.

Change batteries in alarms, head torches

Golden rule, if it has a battery in it – replace it. I don’t care if you only replaced it in November, replace it now. Also work out the types and numbers of batteries that are in all of your gizmo’s and make sure that you have a sensible level of replacements to hand. Even if you store the spares in the car, when you need a battery you need one.

Check elastic on the bed chair

One that most people forget, especially pertinent if you have put on a few pounds at Christmas. Pop it up and have a good look at the elastic that runs acound the frame. If it looks “strained” replace it. I once saw someones week long holiday in France cut short after their bed chair collapsed.

Pop the bivvi up and air it

An easy one, pop it up in the garden and check it out to ensure that it is 100% water proof. Might also be a good point to get the garden hose out and give it a good clean at the same time to get rid of all the mud on the door.

Throw out old popup’s and glug

This might seem like throwing away money but trust me if the popup’s have been sitting in the glug for the last year they are probably not that palatable to carp. Don’t take the risk, thrown them out and buy fresh.

Take stock of your bait and pellet supplies, throw out old pellet if high oil based

You should be doing this all year anyway, but it is worth have a a look at your bait and making sure that it is still in date. If you use high oil pellet I would err on the side of caution and throw out any pellet that looks at all dodgy or smells strange.

Get your sleeping bag dry cleaned

Whilst you have the time, get your sleeping bag dry cleaned. It will smell better and you will sleep better in there. Give the dry cleaner several days longer than normal as they may need to send it away separately.

Sort out leads

I had a sort through my leads in my rucksack last year and was amazed that I had 2.5lb’s of lead in there, do you really need all of those 5 oz and 1/2 oz leads ? How many do you loose in a session ? why not store all the spares in the car if you are that worried. Every lb you have to carry is a lb too much.

Get your reels serviced before they go wrong

Sounds easy but how many of us do it ? Get onto the manufacturers page and see how to get them serviced. It will take a minimum of 2 weeks so why not get it done now.

Finally – Check your stove and give it a good clean

If you use gas stoves you can be fine for years, however if you use a petrol stove and you have not used it in a while then get it out. Service it and run it for a while. Trust me running out of host water at 3am when you need a cuppa is not a pleasant thing to experience.

Anyway I leave you with a pic of a happy memory of a previous personal best caught in the middle of the summer on a day when temperatures reached 30 degrees – ohh those were the days.

Do you have other tips that I have missed ? why not add them below ?

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