It is that time of the year when some of you make your first journey to your favorite lake, reservoir, farm pond, pay lake or river and you come away disappointed. Why did this trip disappoint you, because you let a trophy catfish break you off. Brothers and sisters, this should never happen unless you are fishing in heavy cover. I am going to offer you some tips to assist you in making the next trip more pleasant and fruitful. First, you should start the year off with new fishing line and if you can't afford new line, then take the old line on your reel and transfer it to another reel. By doing this, you have taken the line that has been exposed to UV rays, use and placed it on the bottom of the other spool and the line that has been protected in now on the top layers of your spool and is almost like new line. Tie up all new shock leaders, test your old hooks for sharpness and if dull, sharpen them or get you some new ones. I would suggest that you use the Snell knot for attaching your hook to the shock leader. You can learn how to this by reviewing my article on knot tyeing. Check your reel guides and make sure that they are smooth and have no nicks or grooves in them. Check the star drag on your reel and test it to make sure the line will come off the spool with some pressure. If you are using 30 pound test line I would suggest that you set your drag at 15 pounds. You can set the drag at whatever weigh you desire by using a fishing scale or putting some groceries in a plastic bag equaling the poundage you want the drag set at, tyeing your line to the bag and raise it up with your rod and reel and then use you star drag to set the tension so that the line will slightly come off the reel when the item is picked up with the rod. Remember this, you can always tighten your drag after a big fish hits, but it is too late to loosen it once it happens. Believe it or not, the star drag might be the most important thing that you have in your fight with a trophy cat. So, to make sure that it always functions as it was designed, you should always back off your star drag so that there will be no pressure on it when you have finished your fishing trip and reset it the next time you go out. Before each trip you should always strip off the line from the reel to the end of your rod. This can be 8', 7' or 9', depending on the length of your rod. This piece of line gets all the wear and tear from transporting it, storing it, UV rays and all the other things you do with it is the boat. Then retie your weighs and shock leader to this undamaged line. Once the trophy fish is on, don't try to muscle it, let your rod and your drag do their job and you will be a happy fisher person. Hey, don't forget to take the big landing net, you just might need it!