MHM Dec/Jan 2020 (Page 27) Those who will battle the elements for one more shot at a trophy will do whatever it takes. We are often faced with doing everything we can to survive on those
not-so-nice days. Finding the right clothes to wear, using portable heaters… we’ll do anything we can to make it. One thing that can make or break surviving a frigid day is taking care of your hands. Once your hands get wet and cold, it is only a matter of time before you simply cannot take it and must quit sooner than you would like. Now, I am not going to tell you about an end-all pair of gloves that will keep you dry and warm all day while allowing you to cast and feel your line working. There just isn’t anything like that available. What I can offer is the idea of re-spooling. Instead of waiting and spooling up over the winter months to be ready for spring, add new life to your reels with fresh braided line before your last few fishing trips of the year. The main reason to do this is the protective coating on new line, which wears away with time. These coatings offer terrific water resistance when they are new, and if you respool in the spring a lot of that protective coating will wear off by the time fall comes. “Old” line — while still strong — will soak up quite a bit of water while being reeled back up into your reel, which in turn sprays onto your hands. By using fresh line with its optimum water resistance, your line will absorb less water. This will help your experience in a few different ways. First, it is going to help keep the eyelets of your rod from freezing up fast, which can be annoying. Casting and reeling is easier without having to stop and clear the eyelets. Second, new line will bring less water to your reel which will minimize ice in the reel itself, which could cause it to lock up. This will save time standing in front of a heater thawing your reel. Most importantly, however, fresh line is going to bring less water to your hands, helping them stay a bit dryer. You are still going to get wet, but anything that helps in that kind of weather deserves a chance. Now, if you are just not set on putting your new line on at this time of year, or you just don’t have the time, you can still minimize the water it brings back by cutting off a cast or two worth of line. The line that is now exposed will have not seen much use and will not absorb as much water. There is one problem with re-spooling late in the year — new line is usually stiffer, which may cause some issues when casting. For this reason, I use brands that tend to be a bit softer out of the package. This is one of the main reasons my personal favorite is Hi Seas Grand Slam Braid. It not only offers great water resistance, but its coating does not require a break-in period, which makes it more user friendly. Regardless of the brand you choose, be sure to do a little research to see which lines are rated to hold less water than others and which have better manageability out of the package. This isn’t going to end your problem of cold, wet hands, but it will help stretch your day an extra hour or two. Sticking it out just a bit longer may put that last, late season giant in the net.