Winter repairs and maintenance: We've had some of the coldest weather the Tampa Bay area has seen since 1989. There have been reports of thousands of dead game fish around the state — snook, jacks, catfish, snapper and tarpon. The last time we had a fish kill of this magnitude was 1989, and prior to that, 1977. The fish rebounded from those kills, and they will again from this one. So until then, this becomes a great time to do maintenance on your boat, trailer and tackle.
Tackle: As general maintenance, always wash your tackle off with freshwater after each use. You should also do a breakdown cleaning of the reels at least once a year, depending on how much you use them. This means taking them apart, cleaning them and replacing worn or broken parts. Some reels are easy to repair, others are quite difficult. If you cannot do it yourself, most tackle shops can do the work.
Boats and trailers: Get your oil changed in the outboards. Also change the lower unit oil, and check the water pumps. Check the trailer lights, brakes, tires and hubs.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.