I'm not hinting that anglers are stubborn, but some within the fraternity seem to leave common sense back on the dock.
Over the warm months this year, I've come across some characters who still haven't learned their lesson.
One local angler complained to me that he spent $49 on a new casting rod and another 50 bucks on the reel. He spooled the reel with one of the new super-braid lines and headed for his favorite lake. The line was the 20-pound variety (because he saw a bass pro using the same line on television).
He wound up hooking a submerged tree on the lake's bottom, 25 feet down. He admitted the drag on the reel was screwed down as tight as possible. On the third pull his rod snapped.
He went back to the store where he purchased the rig and complained to the clerk. The guy behind the counter asked him if he had drag set to maximum, and he said, "Yes."
When Mr. Angler told me his tale of woe, I commented one should not have the drag adjusted to the "haul-a-truck-with-it" setting when using a super line. He didn't understand that these types of line are practically stretch-free. Maybe the television bass pro didn't take the time to explain the basics on the air.
I also encountered another winner on the Fox Chain as I was getting out of the boat. This guy listened to my radio program, and he showed me his "new" casting reel.
"The drag doesn't work on this thing," he lamented. I fiddled with the control and sure enough, he was correct.
He explained that this was the first time out on the water, and he kept the reel in his garage all winter. I asked him if he managed to loosen the drags on his reels so there wasn't any pressure on the drag's washers. He was dumbfounded because I'd obviously hit the nail on the head.
Back in the fishing-line department: I received an e-mail from Jason in Arlington Heights who complained that I am always recommending changing line several times a season. "You must think money grows on trees, Jackson," he typed.
That communication followed several from area fishermen who had the misfortune of using old mono that had been on their reels as long as six and seven years, and they were puzzled as to why the mono came off the spools like a child's Slinky toy. I get real preachy about that aspect because your fishing line is the major link between you and the fish, and it only costs a few bucks to start off the season with fresh line without any "kink memory."
And when I'm on the water, I'll often hear nearby fishermen yelling about the so-called bird's nest jamming their reel and rod guides.
How about the wheels and wheel bearings on your boat trailer? Have you taken the time to grease the bearings during any given season? A friend and I witnessed a wheel flying off a trailer after it locked up once the boat owner had pulled off the launch ramp. The owner bemoaned the fact that he never does any preventive maintenance on the trailer, and he paid the price for that one.
Murphy's Law, you say? Maybe, but sometimes I'd call it Lazy Law.