Capt. Art's Blog

Keeping up with Searcher

Ask A Captain! – Ready to Fish?

Hello, Searcher friends!

Team Searcher is preparing for what is sure to be a phenomenal 2016 fishing season!  Our new bait tank has been installed, and our crew is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the projects we scheduled for our spring maintenance period.

As we ramp up to our season starter, this is the perfect time to address the following “Ask A Captain!” question:

An angler who is preparing for his upcoming trip in June asked:

What are the important steps I should be taking when getting my fishing gear ready for my Searcher trip?”  – B.Z.

I spoke with Searcher Captains Art Taylor, Aaron Remy and Ryan Stahl to learn their suggestions about the process of getting Ready to Fish!  I also made the important stop at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop to check out the latest items on the shelf and to interview owner and expert Doug Kern about his guidelines for getting “geared up” for fishing.


Doug Kern services a reel – with a smile!

SSaacrods copy

Everyone agrees that the process begins with gathering your rods and reels and inspecting them.  During your entire gear inspection process, a key task will be looking for signs of rust or corrosion on metal parts.

Ryan advises, “Check your rods, make sure the guides don’t have any cracks in the epoxy, or chips in the ceramic that can cause line fraying – in general, just make sure all the guides are not broken and in good shape.  Also check that the reel seat works properly.”

When checking your reels, inspect the line.  If it’s monofilament or fluorocarbon and has seen some use, it’s more likely you will need to replace due to its short shelf life.  These types of line deteriorate more easily and are more vulnerable to stress, heat/cold cycles and other damaging factors.  Run your fingers along the line and check for nicks.  If found, replace! Make sure the line is not underwrapped (when the tag end gets underneath some of the loops on the spool and can cause a tangle) – if it is, strip off 50 feet or so and that should resolve the issue.

Label your reels with the line test loaded so that when you are fishing, you don’t have to play a guessing game when it’s time to drop a line!


Next, ensure that the reel functions properly:

  • That the drag functions smoothly
  • Spin the spool to make sure it spins freely – if not, it may need service on the bearings or lubrication
  • That it will engage in and out of gear
  • That the clicker functions

If you have questions or concerns about your reel, have it serviced.  Doug said, “Although annual servicing is recommended for all reels, most modern, higher-quality reels won’t need yearly servicing unless they are put under a lot of abuse.  Monitor the action of your reel and if you notice it has become jerky or squeaky, have it checked out!  On average, the cost of servicing is between $40 and $60.”


Next step:

Take stock of your tackle – be certain that you have hooks and weights in the sizes you will need, and inspect your lures for rust or corrosion on the hooks and rings.  Captain Aaron reminds you to verify the condition of your hooks (even if they are in a “new” package in your tackle box) to make sure they are not rusty or corroded.  Doug recommends that you re-rig any trolling lures that have monofilament leaders.


Bootz says, “Check yer boots for holes or cracks!”


Watch out for a hole in your sole!




Doug emphasized the importance of making a checklist so you can identify all parts of your fishing routine and ensure you don’t leave a critical piece behind!  He recommends you gather and check the following accessories:

  • Your tackle box (check that handle works, and zippers and fasteners function)
  • Rod belt
  • Verify validity of your fishing permits/licences and passport
  • Water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, fishing gloves
  • Foul weather gear
  • Check the hook and loop fasteners on your rod strap ties
  • Make sure all tools are working, you may need to loosen them up or replace them


An important part of preparation for fishing includes using the resources you have available (fishing reports, tackle shop suggestions, local fishing conditions, peer advice and of course, the Searcher office!).  Doug said “Information is king.  Make sure you have current, valid intel including the size and style of tackle that is working – but be aware and beware of the hype.”

I asked Doug about the “hot item” of the moment, and he showed me the Z-Bar by One Cool Tuna, just released at the 2016 Fred Hall Shows in Long Beach and Del Mar. This super-slick addition to the surface iron family is notable because it is 100% CNC machined from a solid piece of metal (not poured or cast), and because of this, each and every one swims the same.  Doug shared, “The design was perfected and fine-tuned over a couple of years for the most effective action.”  Check them out at Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop (one of the only places you can get one!) – I hear the mint green color is very popular!


Well, Searcher friends, sounds like you’ve got some homework to do!  You are going to be READY TO FISH! We’ll see you soon – can’t wait for our first trip to start! 🙂



To prolong the life of your gear, follow these preventative measures during the fishing season:

  • Rinse down gear with fresh water after every trip, or during a multi-day long trip so that salt won’t crystallize on your gear.
  • You may want to try a liquid corrosion inhibitor on your reel to prevent damage.
  • Always loosen the drag washers so they don’t over-compress, so they will retain the proper action when taken out of storage. 

Captain Ryan says, “Make sure to back off the drag (so that there is no drag) when you store your fishing reels”

  • Don’t throw salty hooks in with your new hooks – either discard salty hooks or keep them separate.
  • When putting away a setup with a hook that has been in saltwater, either give the hook a freshwater rinse or ensure it is attached to a plastic or graphite part of your rod (for example under the reel seat).  Avoid leaving the hook attached to a guide.
  • Any item (including terminal tackle) which has metal pieces coming in contact with saltwater should be rinsed with freshwater so it will last longer.

    Sooooooo… does “Ask A Captain” work?

    Did you know? You can “Ask A Captain!” about anything, including tackle!  Want to hear an amazing fish story?  Send in a question to Captain Kenny!  Got a question about how we keep the laughter rolling on deck?  Ask Captain Ryan!  Wondering about Baja?  Inquire with Captain Art!  Need a tip from a gentleman farmer?  Query Captain Aaron!

    Each individual who submits a question to our Searcher captains will be entered into a monthly drawing for a FREE tackle swag bag, courtesy of our generous sponsors. The next prize drawing will be held on June 30!

    Submit your question via email to with “Ask A Captain!” in the subject line.  I’ll hunt down answers from our captains and post for all to see. Selected questions and answers will be posted regularly on and Facebook.

    What are you waiting for?  Send in your question before June 30!  Good luck!

    -Jen :)

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