High winds and rough seas kept us in port for 10 straight days doing boat and tackle maintenance. More than 30 years in the charter sport-fishing industry has made me realize there is no fish worth the risk of injury from a boat pitching in high seas. Fishing should be a relaxing time. Drags were checked for smoothness by tying the mainline to a fixed object and walking away to check for smooth operation. Most reels have several oiling points, which can be researched by going online and finding the instruction manual for your reel. A drop or two of oil is much cheaper than replacing the entire handle. Guides can appear to be fine to the naked eye but might have nicks and cracks causing rapid weakening of the line and loss of a trophy fish. Check them by running a piece of panty hose through each guide. If the nylon hangs up and does not pass smoothly, the guide should be replaced. Also, check all bait well and bilge pump connections. If corrosion is evident, replace the butt connectors with shrink fit new ones. Check flare kits and EPIRBS for expiration dates. Water temperatures are near 70, a good indicator that kingfish will still be around any high-profile structure that has clean water and is holding bait.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.