I just came inside to write this article after soaking up every ray of sunlight from Fridayís sunset. Sunny skies and almost 60 degrees. With spring arriving in less than a week, this was the reminder I think we all needed that warmer weather is right around the corner, and we can start getting back to many of the activities we enjoy that we canít do in the winter.
As I look around my yard, my fishing boat is still covered in snow, as are my canoes and kayaks. In less than a month, theyíll be hitting the water and winter will be a distant memory. Thatís when I realized I still have much work to do before spending a day on the water.
I spent a career in the Coast Guard, so preparedness is ingrained in me. Iíve seen too many people neglect this principle, and way too many whoíve had to be rescued.
Just after New Yearís Day, I re-registered my boat, but I know thereís still more work to be done before itís ready for another season of fishing. Itís a 14-foot fiberglass boat with three seats and built in 1967. I picked it up only because I needed a trailer for my old boat, and it came with it. I kept it because it has character, but it leaks. A lot.
The first order of business, before it even sees water, is a fiberglass repair job and a new coat of paint. Iíve been nursing a finicky set of trailer lights, so I stopped into Dover Marine and bought a new set. Replacing those, and the tires that are showing a bit of rot, are this weekendís project.
While I was enjoying this warm March afternoon like it was a hot summer day, I pulled out my lifejackets and gear that I bring on my boat and kayak or canoe. Yep, the lifejackets need a wash in the tub tonight, and the battery I use for my trolling motor is now charging in the garage overnight.
I already re-spooled my fishing poles this winter. Itís a winter tradition my 14-year-old son and I have. He always gets an assortment of monofilament and braided line as stocking stuffers at Christmas, and we take a day to load the line on our rods as we talk about the fish we caught last season and our plans for next summer. Itís just one of those things that gets us through the long winters.
On to the gear bags. We havenít touched these since the last time we fished in mid-October. I took inventory of the artificial lures and hooks we have, and after a summer of brook fishing and getting them sometimes caught in trees and river bottom, I realize we had better take another trip to Dover Marine to replenish.
Iím now looking around my home office for the latest rulebook Fish and Game publishes, and I canít find it. I always get a copy when I go to town hall to renew my license. Then I realize I havenít yet. How did I get so busy I forgot to do this? I went down there to register the dog and pay the water bill, but I forgot my license?
Since this column began, I always said preparedness is the key to enjoying yourself in the outdoors. It could almost be as enjoyable as actually dropping a line or paddling a kayak, especially when conditions donít allow you to get out there yet. Get ready, because in just a few short weeks, the ice melts and open water fishing soon begins.
Dave Andreesen is an avid hiker, paddler and fisherman who will be writing on the outdoors for the Seacoast Sunday. Send Dave feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.