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Time for an Equipment Check

The statewide Pennsylvania trout season begins in just a few days — Saturday, April 2, to be exact.

The statewide spring gobbler season starts on Saturday, April 30, and the Youth Hunt for spring gobblers will be held on Saturday, April 23. With those dates in mind, it might be a great time to examine and replace any equipment you will use during the upcoming spring seasons. Whether it is fishing equipment or hunting gear that you are looking at, don’t delay in giving everything a good “once over.”

With trout season almost upon us, time is of the essence if you need to replace or repair any items in your fishing vest. Now is the time to insert fresh batteries in any lighting devices or other battery-powered gear. Apply a fresh coating of line dressing if necessary to any floating fly lines and check leaders for adequate length and integrity (knots or damage). Lubricate as necessary any reels and check rods for any damage, especially to the eyelets along the entire length of the rod.

Examine the barbs closely on any of your favorite hooks or flies. You might be surprised to find a bend in the hook of a favorite fly or lure. Now is the time to replace and refresh your favorite selection of flies as necessary.

If you are fortunate enough to spend an entire day on your favorite remote stream and plan to have a streamside lunch, why not take along the fixings for a meal of a fresh trout or two fried over an open fire. A cast-iron skillet and a little butter, salt, and pepper are all that is necessary, or if you prefer, use a small roll of aluminum foil to wrap up the fish with a slice or two of lemon so that it can be tossed into the embers of a fire to slow cook. Make sure you pack some matches, and you might even stick a hot dog or two into your bag — just in case!

The Youth Hunt for spring gobblers is only a few weeks away, and a week later is the opening of the regular spring season, on Saturday, April 30 to be exact. While it is so easy to procrastinate, checking the contents of your turkey vest now will give you great peace of mind and avoid the chance of discovering broken or missing gear at sunrise on the first day of the season!

Empty out the contents of your vest onto a table or workbench. Check your mouth calls for integrity and make sure they are still pliable, then secure them back into your vest. Slate or glass pot calls and strikers should be dressed, tested, and then redressed before placing back into your vest. As a great protector of these calls, Tupperware makes a really solid container that most slate and glass calls will fit into, and it does a great job of protecting these cells from damage. Chalk, check the sound of your box calls, then place them back into a box call holster and return them to a vest pocket.

One of the most overlooked and forgotten gadgets is a ThermaCell insect repellant unit. You may not need it every time you are out, but when conditions are right, it works extremely well to keep buzzing and biting insects away.

There is nothing as annoying and distracting as a swarm of mosquitoes that begins to arrive just after sunrise — especially if you have been negligent and have forgotten your ThermaCell!

Several springs ago, I was hunting in a Wildlife Management Unit in Florida when, just before sunrise, two gobblers sounded off from their roost less than 80 yards away. I smiled to myself and was so pleased with how the morning was unfolding. Then, as the sun began to edge up through the palmettos, a mosquito began buzzing near my ear — then several more joined in. I reached into my vest for my ThermaCell, only to recall that I had loaned it to a friend in camp the night before. The two birds continued to gobble on the roost, and the only thing I could do about the annoying and distracting mosquitoes was to try to remain motionless as they landed on my ears and neck and began their morning feast! Always remember your ThermaCell!

Take a few minutes now to check the integrity of your gear — while you have plenty of time to make any changes or make replacements. Good Luck!