Don’t Leave the Dock Without Reading This First

If you asked people today whether they have enough free time, polls taken show that most individuals don’t believe there’s enough free time.  Time poverty is an issue often discussed among economists.  The concern that raises for us at Live to Fish is to help you maximize your time on the water.  We know the chances are that your fishing trip was planned well in advance.  We believe you’ve worked hard and earned it!  We sympathize with the fact that you look forward to your time on the water because, well, simply put, so do we.

Thoughts of the sun on your skin, the smell of the water, casting your favorite rod and reel, catching what bites, and otherwise relaxing on the part of our world that makes up the majority of our plant, helped drown out the otherwise unpleasant experiences you endured on land.  You’d keep telling yourself, “it will all be worth in it when I’m fishing… when I’m finally out there…”  As the date of the excursion came closer, a portion of each evening was spent in preparation.  Even if your trip was a total last-minute event that came about, the information below will help.

Return from Gulf

One of the worst feelings anyone can have is to be hours into your fishing trip and realize you left an essential piece of gear at home.  Perhaps one of your marine electronics or one of your boat’s components fails.  Leaving you to berate yourself for failing to do the preliminary maintenance work necessary to help ensure your time on the water is as hassle free as possible.

You have to have a line in the water to catch a fish.  Time spent tending to other matters is time lost in which you could have otherwise hooked up.  We’re here to help you increase the time your line spends in the water, ensure have everything you need, and make the most of the valuable time you’ve been looking forward to.  Let the trip be a source of rejuvenation and revitalizing for you.   Reading the suggestions below will ensure you stay on track in that regard.


Rapala Shadow Rap Shad 09 Crank Bait
One of the many artificial lures available both on our website, and in our showroom. This crankbait from Rapala is effective on both freshwater and saltwater fish

Check through your crankbaits, topwater lures, jigs, and other swimbaits.  Make sure all hooks and split rings are in good condition; especially lures with treble hooks.  Replace any components that need replacing.  Check your tackle storage solutions.  Many anglers take advantage of the water tight tackle storage boxes. However, over time, the rubber ring that provides protection from water intrusion can wear out; or come out of alignment with the lid.  Make sure this rubber ring is in good condition.  If your lures have become tangled during storage, now would be good time to untangle them and store them separately in tackle trays.  One of the most frustrating circumstances to deal with is when you see activity on the water, locate your stowaway tray that contains the lure you need, only to open the tackle storage container and find the lure tangled up with three or four others.  There’s a saying – “luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”  Do the preparation necessary to maximize on the opportunity.


G Loomis Pro Green Fishing Rods
We offer a wide variety of rods by many manufacturers. Some of which include, G Loomis, St. Croix, Redbone, Shimano, Crowder, Star Rods, and 13 Fishing
St. Croix .jpg
2017 St. Croix Avid Inshore

Take each of your rods out and inspect them separately.  Are all your guides secure?  Look at the inner ring of each guide.  See the photo below to be clear on what I’m referring to when I mention, “inner ring.”


Spinning GuideThe inner ring in the photo is the gray colored area inside the round shiny metal circular outer portion of the guide.  Use your finger to feel around the inside of each guide ring.  For the guides that are too small to fit a finger through, you can take a cue tip and run it through the guide.  What you’re looking for are any knicks. If you feel a knick, or see a crack, replace that guide before fishing.  Replacing the entire guide is actually easier than trying to snap in a new ring.  Besides, good luck finding just the inner ring in exactly the correct diameter.  If you’re running a cue tip through the guide and some of the cotton catches, then you’ve got a crack or knick in that ring too.  Again, the entire guide should be replaced.  Fortunately, we offer rod repair services at Live to Fish with a quick turnaround time.  Our address is:  Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, Fl 34669.  The reason for replacement is that the inner part of your fishing rod guide is the area your line moves through.  Your line is your essential, and only, connection to your catch.  When you’re fighting a fish, a knick, crack, or other imperfection, can result in your line being aggressively worn, cut, and breaking.  Many otherwise unexplainable break offs have occurred as a result of a damaged guide ring.  Is the reel seat on your rod secure?  When you secure your reel to your rod, you should be able to tighten down the reel seat until you feel confident that your reel is securely affixed to your rod.  You don’t want to have flex either way, in any direction.  A loose, broken, or otherwise compromised reel seat, is not something you want to discover when you’re fighting a fish you’ve spent time and energy chasing after.


Shimano Stradic and Shimano Stradic Ci4+
We offer a wide range of spinning, casting, and conventional type reels from top manufacturers.
sustain .jpg
The new 2017 Shimano Sustain Spinning Reels, winner at ICAST 2017

Entire articles have been written on reel maintenance.  We’re not going that in depth here.  If there are new noises coming from your reel when you turn the handle, you’ve got a problem.  If it’s harder to turn the handle without any load on the line than it has been, again, you’ve got a problem.  If you feel a wobble when reeling in, you’ve got a problem.  These scenarios apply to both baitcasting and spinning reels.  Your issue may be one that is very simply to fix.  It could simply be that your reel is in need of lubrication.  Make a habit of keeping your reels in good working order on a regular basis and you never have to worry about an unwanted surprise at the wrong time.   One of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do after every trip is to thoroughly wash your rods and reels down with fresh water.  Do not spray your reel with water at high pressure.  Even with all the seals of modern reels, you don’t want to be the reason for water intrusion in your reel in an area that should remain dry.  Another simple, yet very helpful practice, is to spray your reels down with Ardent Reel Kleen after you’ve washed them down with fresh water.

Fishing Line:

When was the last time you changed your line?  Changing line was more common when everyone used monofilament because braid hadn’t been invented.  With the introduction of braided fishing line, people are more reluctant to change their line than in the past.  There’s increased cost, some people don’t know how to add monofilament backing first, and there’s the knowledge that braid is stronger.  Fortunately, Live to Fish will spool your reel with new braid at a cost per yard that we’ve set as the lowest in the area.  You simply drop off your reel at Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669 with instructions on what line you would like.  Often times, your reel can be re-spooled while you wait.  People have lost huge fish and expensive rigs simply because they failed to change their line.  Continuing to use your line beyond a period of time that’s safe will greatly increase the risk of a break off.  Offshore trolling lures can be quite costly.  It’s not impossible to lose a lure that’s worth more than what new line would cost.  There are a number of factors to consider when determining how often you should change your braided line: The lower the pound test braid, the more susceptible your line is to wear and tear, and the more often you should change it.  If you frequently fish in areas that have heavy amounts of floating seagrass with small barnacles, those barnacles rub up against your line when fishing a fish.  It’s not such a concern with 50lb or 60lb test braid, but it can be a concern with 10 or 15 lb test braid.  It may sound as if your line contacting floating seaweed when fighting a fish would be something you could safely ignore.  We sell a wide range of braided lines in various pound test strengths.  However, if you’re fishing a low pound test braid, when your line comes in contact with seaweed upon which small barnacles have grown, it’s like moving you line across a very fine cheese grater or sand paper.  If you’re doing a lot of fishing around rocks and oysters, keep an eye out for any parts of your line appearing worn.  If it’s been 6 to 12 months, and you fish fairly often, make a habit of changing your line.  The easiest way to do this is to set a simple calendar reminder at 6 to 8 month intervals.

Polarized Glasses:

I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits polarized glasses provide when out on the water.  Polarized lenses are perfect for boating, fishing, surfing or any time spent on the water.   By cutting down on the glare, you’ll be able to see fish you wouldn’t normally be able to see at all.  Just keep in mind, when you can see the fish, they can see you.  There are a number of manufacturers that churn out some high quality polarized sunglasses.  One of the most popular for fishermen are those made by Costa Del Mar.  Costa developed the 580 lens.  The technology involved in the manufacturing of this lens, particularly the 580G, greatly enhances your time on the water.  You’ll feel less eye strain and see more fish.  At Live to Fish, we offer a wide range of Costa Del Mar frames and lenses.

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses
Live to Fish sells a wide variety of Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. Seen in the photo is one of two display cases located in our showroom.

Checklist of things is available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Alternate propulsion (i.e. paddle or oar)

Anchors & Line

Batteries (fully charged and encased in plastic boxes)

Bilge device (bilge pump operable, alternative bailing device)

Boat lights

Bright flashlight or searchlight

Boat & trailer registration, permits, licenses

Bug repellant



Drinking water (1 gallon per person, per day)

Fire extinguisher (right number, size, and class for boat; charged, not corroded, nozzle clear, bracketed, readily accessible)

First aid kit i.e. Band-Aids, first-aid Cream, Campo-Phenique (good for minor burns, cuts and scrapes), Tums, lip balm.



Kill switch (check with motor started)

Map/Charts (in waterproof container)

Matches/fire starter (in waterproof container)

Navigation lights & spare bulbs

Boat plug

Pocket knife

Sound producing device (i.e. whistle, horn)

Spare trailer tire (check condition)

Toilet paper

Trailer lights (and brakes if applicable)



Spare prop and lock-nut or shear pin

Weather radio


Visual distress signals (check current dates on flares, proper number)

Watch or clock

Night before list-

Hook up trailer and check lights and brakes (if applicable)

Charge batteries

Check fuel

Check boat lights

Turn on batteries, “check 1, 2, all switch” make sure it is functioning

Turn on and check all electronics

Check boat plug

Secure straps and tie down

Copyright 2017, Live to Fish, All Rights Reserved.