Maintaining the condition of your fishing tackle can be a good or bad practice to develop depending on what your needs in life are. If you need an excuse to regularly buy new gear then skipping the tackle care stage after a day on the water is the way to go. If you want to keep your gear for a long time, or want to maximise its resale value when it's time to unload it, then tackle care is something you should be doing.
The conditions fishos are exposed are far from ideal from the perspective of their tools of the trade. Think about the worst elements the tools of a golfer have to deal with - mud on the nine iron, snapped tees or on some occasions the putter bouncing across the road forty metres away while you storm off to the bar. The angler on the other hand has their gear exposed to sand, salt, sun, water and wind. Five elements with incredibly corrosive characteristics.
There are some simple things you can do to maximise the protection of your fishing tackle and to reduce the chance of malfunction when things really count - ie when you're hooked up! Of course they won't stop it from happening but they will certainly extend the amount of time it takes for the process to occur.
The best way to start is simply by adding ten to twenty minutes onto your pack-up process and use it to run over the items you've used. If you're not doing them already the following tips are a few processes you might like to consider in order to extend the life of your fishing gear.
Dragging up mulloway from 120m of water - not the place you want your gear to fail
When you're out fishing try to minimise your reel's exposure to sand and salt water. This doesn't necessarily occur through the most obvious way - dropping it - but it can happen through sand whipping down the beach on a windy day or extended periods of exposure to sea spray on a moving boat can force salt water deep into the line or workings of the reel. Knocking your reel against rocks or other hard objects like lawnmowers in the shed can cause weak spots in the frame of the reel which can later encourage corrosion.
After a fishing session give your reel a light spray over to remove any salt, sand or other substances which may have got into the reel or line. This can be done a number of ways, I prefer using the hose on a light mist setting, but some people use a bucket of lightly soaped water or even take them into the shower.
There are two things you don't want to do when undertaking this part of the process - firstly don't loosen the drag before you wash the reel down, if anything tighten it further as this will help prevent the chance of the water seeping into the drag washers. Secondly don't use a high pressure setting on the hose as this can blast sand, salt or water into the reel and defeat the purpose of what you are trying to do.
After the reel has been washed dry it off with a rag and spin the handle around a few times to flick water off the moving parts and then lightly spray over it with an aerosol lubricant / corrosion inhibiter. After a few minutes' wait wipe it down again with a clean rag. Inox, WD-40, CRC, RP7 or any of those aerosols will do the job although some people believe that Inox is the best choice as it isn't so industrial in its make-up.
Reel love - love it and it will love you back
After this has been done leave the reel in an open area to allow it to completely dry. There will always be water in areas that can't be reached with a cloth. If you keep your reel in its box or in a neoprene reel cover let the reel sit for a day or two, depending on the temperature, before putting them back. The enclosed environment of these storage methods can hinder or even stop a reel from drying.
Finally depending on the regularity of the reel's use think about taking it to your local tackle store to have it serviced every year or so. This will help make sure the internals are all maintained in good nick and that everything is working okay.
They are a few tips to keep in mind regarding the upkeep of a fishing reel. In part two of the series we'll look at rod and line care.
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