Fishing, like many other sports, involves equipment that can break down over time if you don’t take care of it. Maintaining your rod and reel should really be your first priority – after all, you can’t catch fish without them! But too often, after a long day of fishing, we just toss our rods and reels in the back of our cars and head on home to carry on with our lives.
1. Use Rod Covers To Protect Your Reels While Transporting Them
Rod covers are simple and cheap – these textile-based covers usually cost under 5 bucks, and are a great way to ensure your rod is protected during transport and not in use. They cover the entire rod, all the way down to the reel, and prevent your line from tangling or heavy impacts from scratching your rod.
The first step of good maintenance is prevention, and by preventing nasty tangles, scratches, and bumps, you can extend the life of your rod.
2. Rinse Your Rod And Reel With Fresh Water After Fishing
This should be self-explanatory – but still, many anglers don’t even rinse off their rods and reels after fishing. This is obviously important when fishing in saltwater – corrosion can occur very rapidly – but even freshwater lakes, streams, and rivers can contain dirt, algae, and other detritus that can harm the longevity of your rod.
The process is as simple as can be – just grab a squirt bottle or a hose and rinse your entire rod – reel assembly and all – to remove residue and dirt from it. Failing to do so can result in a shorter life for your rod.
3. Remove Hooks And Lures After Fishing
Hooks and lures that are left in after fishing can easily get tangled with other rods, your car’s upholstery – or you. After you end your fishing session, don’t just toss your rod in the back of your car. Take care of it by removing your lures and hooks and replacing them in your tackle box before you put your rod away for the day.
4. Store Your Rods Properly
Rod storage is actually very important to the longevity of a rod. Storing a rod improperly – sideways, or in a very hot area or the trunk of your car – can cause it to warp and weaken. In extreme cases, the rod itself may “bend” based on how it was stored, and that change in shape is permanent, and ruins the rod.
Consider a dedicated area for rod storage – not just in your garage or in your truck, but on your boat as well. A well-stored rod is a happy rod, and proper storage not only prevents bending, but also can help you avoid the rod banging around in the back of your trunk, or on your boat.
5. Clean Your Rod – And Guides
This isn’t a step you have to take every day, or after every fishing session. But if you’re an avid angler, you may consider doing this at least once every month or so. Grab some clean water and some vinegar and a mild detergent, and an old toothbrush.
Give the entire rod and reel assembly a once-over with the vinegar solution, and make sure to get inside the guides – objects lodged in the guides can be very destructive to fishing line and cause poor casts, and can weaken the guides over time.
6. Loosen Drag – Or Remove Line – For Long Term Storage
When you’re fishing, your drag is usually going to be set pretty tight – but during long-term storage, a tight drag can weaken your fishing line and reel by putting excess, unrelieved stress on your reel through the drag system.
If you’re going to be storing your rods for a while, make sure you loosen the drag so that your reel isn’t holding any tension or stress for unnecessarily long periods of time. If you’re putting them away for the season, consider removing their line entirely – you will ensure no stress is put on the rod or reel, and next season you’ll probably need a new line anyway.
7. Treat Your Rod Well – And It Will Treat You Well
This one is very simple. Don’t toss your rod in the back of your truck. Don’t whack your buddy with it. Don’t let it bang around on the floor of your boat.
Your rod is the single most important piece of fishing equipment you have. It’s a valuable tool, and should be treated as such.
If you treat your rod well – proper care, maintenance, and storage – you will ensure a long lifetime for your rod and your reel, and will be fishing with it for seasons to come.
By following these simple steps, you can extend the life of your rod and reel, and guarantee increased performance while fishing. While none of these steps are particularly hard, many anglers overlook them, and in so doing they put their rods and reels at risk.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and that’s as true of fishing rods as it is of anything else. So take care of your rod by following the above steps, and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained rod and reel.
Caption: John Schips, Primary Contributor for www.flannelfishermen.com
The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.