Winter Tackle Clean-Up

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Winter Tackle Clean-Up

The main objective for winter clean-up is getting things in order for next spring and summer. So why not take time check your rods, reels and tackle while old man winter discourages or at best diminishes our passion for fishing. Winter is also a great time to go through your tackle box. If you’re like me living near saltwater you have two different boxes one for salt and another for freshwater.

When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned your rods and reels? I’m talking the $19.95 special all the way up to the higher-end stuff everyone seems to want. Since fishing rods range in price from a few dollars to several hundred and reels even higher, it stands to reason that it’s important to keep them operating properly. Some high end reels will require special technical abilities to disassemble, clean and reassemble properly. Other less expensive models might only require some minor cleaning, oiling and maintenance. If you’re mechanically inclined do it yourself if not find an expert.

Rods are not as difficult as reels. Start with a through cleaning and checking for damage to the rod, handle or guides. A quick way to check guides is 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 grime 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 baitcasters. 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 then add new.

You can do it yourself but be certain to watch how things come apart so you can get it back together. I’m going to share a tip with you 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 ourselves types. When you get into new territory like cleaning a fishing reel, shotgun 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 your set. I’ve even go so far as to photograph the wiring on my television, VCR, disk player, and stereo system just in case I have to move it… I’ll know where the wires go.

The rods and reels are done but what about that old mono or braid 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, soak it thoroughly with Reel Magic before storing.

When using braided line be sure to consider your target species, remembering that braid is very strong for its size. Don’t over-kill your reel with heavy braid unless you need it. By using lighter line you’ll find casting distances will improve.If you’re a monofilament user wait keep in mind that mono has memory so wait until the season starts to install your line.

Open any tackle box especially us saltwater types, and it looks like an old gull nested in it. Dump everything out, clean the box, remove the rust stains, and install new lining. If you don’t need it and most of it we don’t’… get rid of it, the rusty hooks, swivels, sinkers, lures, or whatever is taking up space. I’ve heard it before because we’re all the same and our standard answer is “I can’t throw it out I might need it someday.” Yea, just like me… I haven’t used it in two years but I might need it. Just get rid of it!

Occasionally we need to bite the bullet and buy some new stuff. New stuff is always good and it gives us a chance to browse the tackle stores. Buy new hooks, sinkers, swivels, lures bobbers, line, leader, etc and you’ll be ready for next season. If your lures still have paint and are in fairly good shape buy some new trebles and split rings, it’s cheaper than replacing a perfectly good plug.

Once you have straightened out, cleaned out and emptied that old 40 pound tackle box, it should come in somewhere around 5 pounds and things are much easier to find. Now all you need is spring.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com