Rod and reel maintenance often gets overlooked after a long day of fishing. This small task is necessary if you want to get your moneys worth out of your reel and keep it trouble free. Follow these steps to make sure your equipment is in tip top shape so the "Big One" won't get away.
• Never lay your rods and reels on the ground. Doing this can result in someone accidentally stepping on them and this is a good way to get your reel covered in unwanted sand, dirt and other foreign debris.
• Rinse your rod, reel and lures off with freshwater. I like to put my rods and reels in the shower and rinse them off with warm water, this will dissolve the salt better than cold water. Never pressure wash your equipment, this can cause damage to your rods by forcing salt and water into the gear case of your reel. Also never submerge your reels, a light rinse will do.
• After rinsing, dry your rods and reels off with a towel. Do not use a compressor to blow off your reels as this can force water into the gear case.
• Once your equipment is dry, loosen the drag so it has no tension on it. This will allow the disc in the drag system to have space between them so they do not get fused together. If the disc were to stick it would cause the drag to be erratic resulting in broken lines and lost fish.
• Lubricate the handle, rollers, bar arm pivots and your drag knob. Some of the newer reels have oil ports that allow you to put a few drops of oil into the gear case. This should be done after every outing as preventative reel maintenance. You can get reel oil at any tackle shop or Walmart. 3-in-one oil also works well.
• Once a year you need to get a reel service done to check the gears for wear and to re-grease all of the internal parts. If you are not 100% confident that you can do this step yourself do not attempt it. There are many shims and small parts that have to be put back properly or your reel will not function smooth if it functions at all. I would recommend taking it to a reel repair technician at your local tackle shop.
• After each outing you need to inspect your rod. A good way to inspect the eyelets is to rub cotton over them as the cotton will get snagged on any cracks or scratches. Get any damaged eyelets repaired so they don't cause your line to fray resulting in a broken line.
• Remove the reel from your rod and clean the reel seat. Lubricate the threaded part of your rods to keep things moving free.
• When hooking your lure onto your rod do not put your hook through the eyelet. This may damage the eyelet resulting in line damage. Instead place your hook on the metal framing for the eyelet. This will prevent any damage from occurring.
• When securing your lure on the framing of the eyelet do not put so much tension on your line that the rod is bent. Tighten the line just enough to keep your lure in place.
• Last but not least, store your rods in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
If you follow these rod and reel maintenance tips your equipment will be sure to last you many years.