Maintaining Your Fishing Equipment
Due to the increased cost of fishing equipment youíre going to want to take care of your investment. There are many different beliefs on how to maintain fishing gear and they vary considerably. If you donít know how to work on your own reels then youíll have to pay particular attention to this advice, it will save you money on extending services, or may prevent you from losing the big one.
Fishing tackle, especially when used in saltwater is susceptible to the elements. Anything from boat spray, submerging, extreme temperatures, and of course fish slime can all wreak havoc on your equipment. You can however, extend the life of your tools, rods, reels, lures, line, and just about anything that takes the abuse your tackle does.
Some reel maintenance misconceptions are: submerging in a bucket of freshwater, rinsing off with high pressure hose spray nozzles, using caustic solutions, and not drying before storing. This may work for some of your tools, but for the more delicate and less protected it will not. These require a bit more TLC, but will pay dividends in the long run.
Letís get started on the proper care of your most sensitive tool, fishing reels. Reels are as precise and tempermental as it gets when it comes to angling. Regular service maintenance of your reel depends on a few factors; the amount of use, exposure to extreme elements, or overstressing itís capabilities. The servicing schedule varies depending on where you are fishing. If we can define ďnormal usageĒ as one to two times per week, then those who fish in freshwater should seek/ perform service every two years, whereas those who fish in saltwater can expect to maintain a service schedule of every six months to a year. When your reel is taken in for a servicing take a moment to write down the date and where it was serviced in case a problem arises in the future.
To prevent corrosion on a reel one must get rid of ALL salt. Salt can build up under drag washers, bearings, and anywhere else you can think of. Cold water wonít dissolve salt on itís own, so there are two choices. Most marinas donít supply hot water so you can either take all of your equipment home and shower with it, or youíll have to use a salt water dissolver (Salt Away, Salt Terminator, Salt X, etc.) These solutions are meant to dissolve salts and put a protective film over the entire reel and line so salt wonít deposit as quickly.
For most, rinsing off reels is a matter of shooting a garden hose on full blast from a foot away and calling it a day. This will get the bulk of the salt off of the surface, however it will now be shot into all of the gaps and crevices that your hands canít reach to dry it off. This begins the onset of corrosion. The same goes if you run it under your sink faucet or high pressure shower head. Now knowing what a bad idea it is to rinse off reels with heavily pressurized water, you can conclude that submersion is even worse.
The simplicity of this system isnít the best part, the results are. First, tighten your drag down all the way to help keep water from getting under the drag washers. For the second step youíve got two options; you can either use a spray bottle with salt dissolver diluted with water for a 20:1 ratio, or you can use a garden hose with dissolver in a mixing unit (sold separately) attached. When rinsing you want to use a nozzle with a mist option from a few feet away. There is no need to rinse after applying the dissolver. Itís actually better not to rinse so you donít wash away the protective film it leaves behind. The next step that is often overlooked is drying!
Shake the reel (or rod if the reel is attached to one) in efforts to free up the water from all the nooks and crannies. Then take a lint free towel or chamois and dry thoroughly. Lastly, back off the drags to prevent compressing your drag stack before storing. What youíve done is removed odors, prevented corrosion, helped prevent water intrusion, conditioned your line, prevented unnecessary services, kept up the appearance, and added years onto your reels life.
Rods, hook outs, pliers, and other necessary equipment can be cared for in the same manner, but may need to be scrubbed with soap and water. Rods should be scrubbed with soap and water on a wash mitt from tip to gimbal to prevent corrosion on the guides and some reel seats, also to remove odors. Other tools can be dropped in a bucket with either soap and water or dissolver diluted with water. Donít forget to dry ALL of your tools completely before storing. Pliers, lip grippers, and crimpers should all be lubed with an anti- corrosive where necessary before storing.
These simple steps will undoubtedly increase the longevity and decrease the cost of reel maintenance. With all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into running a boat or being an angler protecting your equipment will give you the confidence needed to land that trophy fish!
I have no affiliation or vested interest what so ever with any of the manufacturers mentioned in this article.
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