By Ali Saeed
Maintaining your rod and reel once at the beginning of the season, once in the middle, and once at the end can decrease the chances of having to fix problems later on. Ultimately, rods should be washed after each fishing trip – lightly spray it with a garden hose, followed by a shot of WD-40 on your guides and reel seat to break down salt deposits. If your rod is really dirty, scrub it with a light brush around the guides, guide feet, and reel seat. For your reels, what it comes down to is protecting them from excessive exposure to water. Reels can be hurt from the water, so take your pole out of the rod holder while traveling to and from where you plan to fish. Also, each time you clean or check your reel, remove it from the rod. During cleaning, spray your reels lightly with WD-40, being careful not to get any on the line – it may leave an odor which turns off the fish. Reels, handles, roller guides, and moving parts on the outside of the reels also need to be protected by lightly oiling or greasing them. It is helpful to release the pressure on the drag right at the end of your time fishing to keep your reel in good condition. As for your hooks – they can easily become dull after use – and sharp hooks catch more fish than dull ones. Keep a honing stone or flat file with you for touching up hook points.WD-40 and other water displacing lubricants can leave a deposit so use it infrequently and do not spray on line.
After a day’s fishing, the spool should be removed and gently rinsed with fresh water, along with the rest of the reel. Then, dry with a soft cloth and use a few drops of light oil to lubricate the line roller, bail hinge springs, crank handle knobs and shaft, beneath the anti-reverse selector switch, and where the center shaft exits the top of the reel.
Remove the handle, spool, rotor, side plate and crank gear, use a small brush (paint brush or toothbrush) to clean exposed parts with water and a mild detergent (such as dish washing liquid). Dry with a soft cloth and grease the gears, bushings, bearings and oscillator parts, oil other moving parts and carefully reassemble.
After each fishing trip, remove the spool and soak in fresh water, thoroughly rinse the reel body with a light spray of fresh water. Thorough cleaning after each saltwater trip is very important to the life and dependability of your reel. The reason for this is that every time saltwater gets on the reel and dries, it leaves a microscopic coating of “crystalline” salt residue. This salt coating will not only attack the components in the reel but will create the same wearing and / or binding effect as sand or dirt. After the saltwater and saltwater residue is rinsed from the reel, use a clean dry cloth to remove excess water from the reel and spool. Then, use a good quality lubricant that contains “corrosion inhibitors” and apply a light coating on the reel. We recommend using products designed for fishing reels.
The following points document the proper maintenance guidelines that should be used for all Spinning reels:
- Your reel has been designed to provide years of dependable performance when properly maintained and lubricated.
- Be sure to exercise care when applying oil and grease and use only small amounts of each when lubricating, as excess is unnecessary and can hinder performance of reel.
- The more frequent or severe the use, the more often and thoroughly a reel should be serviced. Your reel should be cleaned and re-lubed after each trip of saltwater fishing or if dropped in dirt or sand.
- Annually the reel should be professionally cleaned and lubricated. Lubrication points on Spinning reels are as follows (some part descriptions will vary from reel to reel).GREASE: Main Gear, Pinion Gear, Worm Shaft, Worm Gear, Oscillator Gear, Continuous Anti-Reverse Clutch Sleeve, Anti-Reverse ratchet Bushings OIL: Handle Knobs (both ends), Bail Hinge (both side of rotor), Kick Lever Mechanism, Bail Spring, Bail Spring Holders, Roller Bushing, Ball Bearings.
- Note: Grease / oil used should be a good quality, light grade grease / oil designed for fishing reels
Basic Care and Maintenance Tips
Use the following care and maintenance tips to ensure long life and dependable performance from your rods.
- Always store rods in an upright position or in a rod rack that supports both ends of the rod. If rods are stored by leaning them against a wall, the blank may develop a bend.
- Do not store rods in an area that may encounter extreme heat (i.e., car trunk, boat rod locker, etc..).
- Do not store rods in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. This may cause the coating on the rod to fade or break down (which can open up the blank to potential damage and weakening).
- Do not store rods with tension on the line (such as when the rod is set aside with the lure still attached to the line). This may cause the rod to develop a permanent bend.
- Do not carry rods in “bundles” as this can cause nicks in the rod blank and / or damage to the line guides. Carry the rods separately and store separately.
- When transporting rods in a vehicle or boat, position them so the blanks don’t rub against a sharp edge that might cause abrasion to the blank or damage to the line guides.
- When storing rods for an extended period of time (during the off-season), be sure to loosen the reel seat to release the constant pressure on the reel seat material. This will help prevent the reel seat from developing a loose fit with the reel foot.
- Do not slip lure hooks through the line guides for storage (or immediately after using the rod). This can create nicks in the ceramic line guide that will cause damage (fraying) to fishing line. Always use the frame of the reel, the reel seat, or hook clip (if the rod has one).
- Always rinse the rod after fishing in salt, brackish, or algae-filled water. These waters can leave a harmful residue on the rod and line guides that can cause corrosion and a build up of dirt and grime that will cause wear (to line guides) and / or damage to fishing line. After fishing these waters, remove the reel and thoroughly rinse rod with fresh water and use a small toothbrush to clean around the line guides. Wipe dry with a clean dry cloth.
- Periodically clean the cork handles by using a mild detergent and a plastic scouring pad.
- When fishing with the new “Super Lines”, always set the drag to allow for some slippage on hooksets.
- If the drag is set too tight, hard hooksets may cause the rod to break resulting in a lost fish and / or personal injury.
- Never try to free snags by using the rod to “bounce” the lure free or to break the line. Use a stick, boat paddle handle, boat cleat, etc. when freeing snagged lures or hooks (especially when using the new “Super Lines”).
- Periodically run a cotton ball or a piece of nylon stocking through each line guide to check for line damaging burrs on the inside of the guides (these materials will easily snag on any burrs)