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updated: 2/27/2013 11:50 PM

Time to get the fishing lines ready

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If it wasn't enough that the winds blew through the area with tornado-like force. It didn't matter when my feet did their own circus act and headed in their own direction, leaving me to crash to the concrete driveway.

I wasn't seriously injured, mind you, but a tad bruised.

I had previously gathered four fishing rods and lined them up for a late winter inspection. There was the panfish rod, equipped with slip-float and micro-jig; there was the medium-action spinning rod used with pre-rigged plastic worms; a medium-weight trolling rod; and a bait casting rod finished off the quartet of angling tools.

A.J. Paul disputed my statement when I reported to him that there was 8 inches of wet snow sitting on the driveway (before the snowblower ate most of it). I jammed an old yardstick into the white stuff and, without manipulating the measuring device, it showed the snow level at 8 inches.

Anyway, I wanted to be ready for the opening weekend at the Braidwood Reservoir in a few short days. The reels had to be spooled with fresh line while rod guides needed a close visual inspection for nicks and abrasions.

Why I went out to stand on the driveway is still a mystery to me, knowing full-well I had a full list of safer things to keep me busy. But then the rods and reels awaited me, regardless of a bruised hip and ego.

I stripped last year's line off each reel and proceeded to check my line storage locker for choices appropriate with the various presentations I anticipated using.

And then the whole issue hit me between the eyes -- figuratively speaking, of course.

I had just received a spring catalog from one of the big-box stores, and I had perused the pages depicting the various fishing lines on the market. Even though I have an advanced degree in animal husbandry (marriage), and even though I have more than six decades of angling exposure, all the brands and line-styles had a tendency to give me brain cramps with all of their promises and scenarios.

So I chose the most familiar of the collection and bought some spools at a local tackle shop.

Note: When using a super-braid line, it's best to place a piece of tape, electrical or tiny sliver of duct tape on the spool's arbor before starting the line winding process. The tape keeps the super line from sliding around the arbor.

Spinning reel spools are often mistreated by younger fishermen who manage to get a job in an area tackle store. Many of them put more than an adequate amount of line on a spinning reel's spool. The result will show up on the first or second cast as a Slinky-like rat's nest flying off into the water (too much line on the spool means more snarls and heartburn).

A torn section of pantyhose or nylon stocking is a good tool to check for worn spots inside a rod guide. Run the material through and if it catches on a rough spot get out the emery paper and do a quick fix-it.

And lastly ... stay inside when the heavy, wet snow inundates Cook, Lake, and McHenry counties. It has gotten to the point where I don't believe the television experts any more.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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