Tackle Clean Up

Corrosion, dirt and grunge are not your friend, especially when it comes to your fishing reels.

When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your rods and reels? A decent fishing rod ranges in price from 50 bucks to several hundred dollars, and the reels can get ridiculous in price, too. It stands to reason you should take care of them, making certain they’re kept in proper operating condition.

Rods are not as difficult as reels. Start with a thorough cleaning, checking for damage to the rod, handle or guides. A quick way to check guides is by using a cotton swab. Run it through and around the guide—if it’s cracked or chipped the cotton will find it. Clean the handles and lightly lubricate the reel seat assembly with a dry silicone lubricant.

Corrosion, dirt and grunge are not your friend, especially when it comes to your fishing reels. Dirty and corroded reels have ruined more than one fishing trip, and preventative maintenance is the key. Spinning reels seem to be the most likely choice for saltwater anglers, however some still prefer bait casters. Spinning reels are not that difficult to take down and reassemble. I’m not talking about removing every screw, gear and bearing, but a field strip or just enough to clean out the old grease and oil, replacing it with new. You can do it yourself, but be certain to watch how things come apart so you can get it back together. The worst-case scenario is you’ll have to take it to a professional and have him or her reassemble it for you.

I’m going to share a tip that can save hours of frustration and agony. It’s called the digital camera. This handy little tool offers tremendous advantages, particularly for us do-it-ourselves types. When you get into new territory like cleaning a fishing reel, or anything else for that matter, make certain to take plenty of quality close-up and in-focus photos along the way. When it comes to putting it back together and you’re not sure where something goes, just print the photos and you’re set. I’ve even gone so far as to photograph the wiring on my television, Blu-ray disk player and stereo system. Just in case I have to move one, I’ll know where the wires go.

So, your rod and reel are done, but what about the fishing line? At least once a year, strip the old line off and re-spool with new. If using braid, be sure to strip off the old backing, clean the spool and re-install new backing and line. Here’s a tip when using braid. Put a few drops of corrosion guard on the spool before you install the monofilament backing. Once the braid is installed, loosen the drag and soak it thoroughly with Reel Magic before storing.

Next, open your tackle box and dump everything out. Clean the box, remove the rust stains and install new lining. If you find some things you did not use—and I’m certain there are plenty—get rid of them. Those rusty hooks, swivels, sinkers, lures or whatever, they’re all just taking up space. Just go ahead and get rid of them!

Once you have everything straightened out, cleaned out and emptied out, that old 40-pound tackle box should come in somewhere around 5 pounds, and things will be much easier to find.

Capt. Woody Gore has been guiding and fishing the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton and Sarasota areas for over 50 years. To contact him, visit www.captainwoodygore.com, email wgore@ix.netcom.com or call (813) 477-3814.