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Pre-rig extra rods to save time on the water

Fishing Columnist Brad Laabs

This week I will try to provide just a few tips that make your time on the water a little more efficient and trouble free. If you fish, you will have some challenges.

One of the most common conflicts that can be frustrating to resolve is tangled lines. Tangles happen in the reels, around the rods, and with other lines fishing next to you. Having good quality fishing line that is also fresh will help. Old line tends to be full of "line memory" and can have lots of curls and loops.

These loops and curls always find a way to bury themselves in the reel, wrap around handles, and get caught in places that can be frustrating and time consuming to solve and resolve. Line that has significant "line twist" will also give you constant problems.

The time it takes to replace line is saved many times over when fishing. The other added bonus of fresh line is less risk of losing the "big one" when you finally get it hooked up. Keeping reels clean and oiled saves on the water fixes that interrupt trip time as well.

If you get tangled with a partner, do not spend valuable fishing time trying to solve a complicated knot project. It is most times easier to just cut one line and get the other line free to fish, and re-tie a hook, jig, weight, or lure back onto the other line. Many times if you do take the time to undo a tangle problem, the lines will have kinks and curls in them that will continue to cause more problems for you as you continue to fish.

If you have a situation that has line twist, curls or kinks, or line memory, you can try to "tame" the line by running it through your fingers, creating friction that can help to re-straighten the line. If it doesn't work right away, peel some line off the reel to get to some better line, change a leader, or whatever it takes to eliminate the problem line, rather than continuing to fight with wrapping around rod tips and reels.

Remember the tip I gave some time ago about dragging line in the water to deal with line twist—this is still a better option and eats up less time than continuing to fight with your line.

Pre-rigging several rods before heading out to fish can save time on the water. Try to anticipate what you might be doing, and have the rods ready when you switch. If all the sudden you want to switch from casting jigs to throwing slip bobbers and the rod is already ready—no problem.

If you aren't set up to switch, it is easy to procrastinate making a change because of the time and hassle it is to do it when you are on the water. When I head out, I have a dozen rods ready to go so I can switch from one technique to the next with ease (I also have rods for the customers). You may only need two or three set up for yourself to switch around, and having any other partners in the boat warned ahead of time to have themselves rigged up for a couple presentation options makes switching tactics easy.

It is always a good idea to get your boat organized for efficiency. Have several clippers, scissors, hook outs, and needle nose pliers available so you can find one when you need one, and so can others fishing with you.

I try to put my tools of the trade back into the same place so I know where to look for them when needed. In the excitement of it all, I still set stuff down and lose track of it—but I try.

Putting things away in the same compartments and locations helps save time and makes you more efficient when you need to find tackle, gear, and all the things we use out on the water. Enjoy your trouble free time on the water!