RESTOCKING YOUR TACKLE BOX FOR THE NEW YEAR by Boyd Duckett
If you're like me, I'm sure more than a few people have already asked what you want for your birthday this year. You can never go wrong with fishing gear. So whether you're making your wish list or trying to decide how to spend a gift card to your favorite sporting goods store, the new year presents an exciting opportunity for you to load up your tackle box for the upcoming season - arming you with the tools you need to make 2008 the year you catch the big ones.
So before you cash in your gift cards on tacky shirts and talking fish, here's some of the things you're sure to need in your boat this year.
A long, cold winter in the closet or the garage can be extremely damaging to fishing line. The normal wear and tear of scraping the line on rocks and stumps, the constant straining of the line as you wrench those big bucketmouths into the boat and sunlight all work together to weaken the structural integrity of the toughest, best-made fishing lines. Most pros respool their reels after every day of competition. Sure, it can be time consuming - especially when you're tired - but you don't want to miss the cut or a paycheck because a fish broke your line. This year, 100% Fluorocarbon debuted and it is the hottest line on tour. All the pros - including myself - use it for nearly every application that requires getting a bait down in the water. It's stronger, more sensitive and resistant to abrasions and has almost no stretch. It's a must for going after big, finicky fish.
If you were really good this year, maybe you've got enough money on the gift card to get a new rod or reel. Abu Garcia released the REVO Premier this year, the smoothest, fastest and toughest REVO ever built. The REVO Premier is a heavy duty, low-profile reel that's perfect for flipping jigs or retrieving crank baits and has all the features you need to land even the biggest fish. Also, Berkley's new TEC Tools came out this year, too, and they are the toughest and most comfortable-to-use tools I've ever had in the boat.
And finally, if you've got any money left over, this is a great time of year to pick up some really good deals on baits. Who knows where you'll be able to fish this year or what the fish will be biting when you get there. I like to keep some various sizes and colors on board. Lately, I've been stocking up on pails of Gulp! Alive!. These new baits, packaged in Gulp! juice have more flavor and a better shape and action and are deadly on bass.
A trip to the sporting goods store is a great way to spend one of the cold winter days that stand in the way of you hitting the water. Take your kids or grandkids with you and pick them up something, too, that way you're sure to have someone to share the experience with this year. So don't let those gift cards go to waste, turn them into something that will help you catch the fish of a lifetime in 2008.
Boyd Duckett, from Demopolis, Alabama, is the 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion and currently fishes the BASS Elite Series.