If you want to catch more fish this winter, especially on your first trips of the season, Lindy pro staffer Bob Bohland strongly - yet politely - suggests you get your act together as quickly as possible.

“Organization is critical,” he said, referring to the assortment of lures, terminal tackle, rods, reels, and other important gear that modern ice anglers carry with them on their adventures.

Tackle is a key concern.

“Don’t wait until you’re finally on the lake to open your tackle box,” he warned. “You might be surprised by what a mess got left behind in the scramble to catch as many fish as possible before the ice went out last season.

“If you’re like me, you rush around at late ice, trying to find the last hot bite — and then when the season ends in a blaze of glory, you throw everything into the fish house and hoist it all up into the rafters.".

To get organized for the winter ahead, Bohland carefully sorts through his tackle, putting everything back where it belongs.

“It’s worth the effort,” he said. “I’ve even found lake trout jigs in my panfish box.

He also restocks his arsenal as needed. “Always have two of every lure, just in case,” he said.

Other items on Bohland’s to-do list include reloading reels with fresh line, and making sure his shelter and auger are ready to hit the ice.

“When you get to the lake, equipment malfunctions — like a non-starting auger — can be trip busters,” he said. “Stoke your auger with fresh gas and get it running. Charge your sonar batteries. In short, get everything in your system working 100 percent.”

With the recent blast of cold weather putting a skin of ice atop many smaller lakes and ponds across the northern fringes of Lindy Land, Bohland believes it won’t be long until the time for gearing up is behind us.

“Get your gear in order now because we’ll be on the ice before you know it,” he said with a big smile.