6+ Things to do in the Fishing Off-Season

Snow Covered Dock and Lake in the Fishing Off-season

Once the weather gets colder and the snow starts flying, fishing can be a non-starter or off-limits for some. If you’re an avid angler, the fishing off-season can be a real downer. Here are some activities you can do in the fishing off-season.

Gear Maintenance

The first off-season activity that I recommend is to give your fishing gear some TLC. Maintaining your fishing gear is not something you want to be forced to do during the peak season. Spend the time in the off-season with some of these common fishing gear maintenance activities.

Fishing Gear Maintenance Ideas

  1. Clean your fishing rods of any dirt and debris
  2. Check your line for frays and knots
  3. Respool your reels with new line, if necessary
  4. Tear down your reels, clean them out, and grease them up
  5. Reorganize your tackle
  6. Check your hooks and lure hooks for wear, sharpness, and bends and sharpen or straighten, if necessary
  7. Check your hard lures for wear and repaint, if necessary

Learn More About Fishing

Just like any skill, continuous learning is crucial to keeping on top of your fishing game. Even if you aren’t out there learning as you practice, you can still learn from others. There are many different sources to learn from and even more topics to learn.

Learning Resources for Fishing

  1. Fishing magazines
    • Bassmaster
    • In-Fisherman
    • Bass Angler Magazine
    • etc.
  2. Fishing blogs
  3. Podcasts
  4. Youtube videos and channels

Explore New Fishing Spots

Just because you aren’t able to fish, doesn’t mean you can’t explore and find new fishing spots. There are several methods that I recommend to explore your local fishing spots.

You can use Google Maps or Google Earth to explore your area and discover new waters. Use the map view to find the obvious spots and well-known waters. Switch to the satellite view, zoom in and discover the lesser known waters and specific spot on the banks or water to fish.

You can also download and use the Fishbrain app to explore your area using the interactive map. The app allows you to filter by species or even month of the catch. These two filters have really helped me find waters for bass. Check out my review of the Fishbrain app for a comprehensive review of the features.

The last method I recommend is to physically visit the locations. Once you find those waters using the other two methods, go to the actual location and explore. Winter months sometimes makes it easier to explore with much less foliage and fewer obstacles. Look for things like bank access, structure in the water, and water inlets so that you know where to go during the fishing season.

Stock up on Gear

Throughout the fishing season, you may have found yourself losing lures, damaging them, or even breaking them. For the soft baits, maybe you just plowed through your entire stock of artificial worms, grubs, craws, and trailers.

The off-season is the perfect time to take an inventory of what you have, organize it, and replenish or replace what you need for the next season. This includes, but not limited to, soft baits, hard baits, line, tackle, and terminal tackle. Being unprepared without a solid, stocked arsenal is the last thing you want on your first outing.

Exercise

Whether you are a muskie angler in a fishing boat or an angler that targets largemouth bass from the bank, exercise is important. This is especially true in the off-season. I tend to be lazy during the winter months and turn into a couch potato. My first time out fishing in the season usually takes a toll on my body.

A simple Google search for “exercise for anglers” turns up plenty of articles and videos of exercises specifically for anglers. Some of these articles are even published by medical institutions and come highly recommended.

Go Fishing

And for my final suggestion, go fishing during the off-season. This may or may not be obvious. You have a few options here.

Even though bass and other species are not as active during winter months, they still eat. You may need to have a lot more patience when fishing for bass in the winter, but it can be challenging and also rewarding at the same time. You’ll need to have a different technique and presentation.

Trout fishing in the winter can be another exciting sport too. Rivers don’t usually freeze over and if you have fly fishing gear, fishing for steelhead in the winter can be really fun. Just be sure you are prepared and have the right equipment.

When the water freezes over on larger bodies of water and it becomes thick enough, ice fishing can be another great option too. There are plenty of tournaments during the winter, so I know this is a popular sport. Ice fishing also requires specific equipment, so you’ll need to do some research on the right gear.

Conclusion

You may not be able to fish in the fishing off-season, but there is still plenty to do to prepare yourself for that first outing and that first cast in the Spring. Take advantage of the time so that you don’t find yourself caught off guard and wishing you had done more to prepare yourself and your equipment.

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