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Maintaining rods and reels

By Staff | Oct 15, 2009

Even the most expensive and technologically advanced rods and reels are useless if they don’t function properly in the heat of battle. Maintaining your rods and reels is one of the easiest things to do, but is often overlooked or done incorrectly by even the most seasoned anglers.

In fact, if not carefully done, some of the maintenance performed on big game outfits can actually hurt their performance and can lead to an angler losing the fish of a lifetime.

Soap and water: Washing your equipment at the end of a day of fishing is common practice. However, how and when you wash your tackle can be critical to equipment’s performance. Big game reels can be complicated pieces of machinery. They have intricate knobs, levers and small screws where salt can build up. These areas also rely on grease to protect their components, as well as help them run smoothly by decreasing friction.

Constantly soaping your outfits will wash the grease right out of these places and actually promote the collection of salt inside the reel. Instead of heavy soaping at the end of every day, try using only a light, indirect spray of fresh water and a thorough wipe down with a chamois. Fully tighten the drag whenever you wash down your reels in order to keep from pushing salt and water into the reel’s drag mechanism. Only after several days of fishing, or when you are putting your tackle away for an extended amount of time, should you soap your reels.

The same goes for big game rods with roller guides. A light, indirect spray of fresh water and a thorough wipe down is the best way to wash your rods. To protect your rods from getting dirty, apply a coat of insulator wax before you use your rods and at least once every two months. Waxing your rods will protect them from the elements and keep them looking like new for years to come.

Grease is a big part of your outfit’s performance. It is important to keep most parts of your rods and reels freshly greased. WD40 makes a great cleaner but is more of a short-term way to protect these parts from salt. There are several excellent products on the market for this purpose. Penn Reel Lube, Corrosion Block Multi-Purpose Grease, and “Blue” Grease are all good choices.

It is important for you to grease your reel parts and roller guides once a month if you fish regularly. It is also recommended that you remove the reel from the rods and re-grease the reel seats.