Rod and Reel Tips for Winter Storage

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Rod and Reel Tips

I know, it’s one of the worst feelings of any angler when you are in the garage preparing to bring your tackle boxes in the house and store the rods before the icy cold weather sets in. Just one more month and maybe another short weekend trip would have made all the difference in getting your last minute angling fix before the hard water season takes over. You’ve emptied out your tackle boxes, given them a wipe down and reorganized your lures in anticipation of the next season but have you really taken care of those rods and reels?

With the price many of us anglers pay for our equipment it never amazes me at how some people care for their rods and reels. It could be attributed to the inner sorrow and slow depression setting in after a great soft water season that continually neglects your most important and expensive equipment. A little care and maintenance now will ensure that you are ready to go when that magic moment comes in the spring.

Fishing Rods.

Give them a bath. Sounds funny right? Like they haven’t seen enough water during the year. Truth is that by lightly scrubbing down your rods in warm soapy water can remove a lot of dirt and other contaminants. Once you’ve wiped them down and let them dry off you can inspect all of the important components for any signs of damage. Check your reel seat for dirt and ensure that it holds your reel tightly, turns properly and shows no signs of cracking. Eyelets should be checked for cracks and warps and special attention should be paid to the inner ceramic rings making sure there is no significant wear, cracks or if they are missing completely.

For those who want to maintain a nice shine and repel dirt and grime during the next season you can even wipe on a coat of liquid car wax. Using just enough to coat the rod surface completely let it dry to a haze and then wipe off. Pay attention to the manufacturer instructions on the packaging and you are better off to do this inside when the rod has warmed up to room temperature.  For rods with cork handles now may be the time to take a look at any dirt, impressions, dents and missing chunks. Usually a quick sanding of the cork with a fine 200 grit sandpaper should restore it to its store bought beauty. For more serious dents and  abrasions use a wet cloth and an iron to soak and heat the cork allowing it to expand and repair itself. A portable steamer may work wonders for this as well.



Once your rod is in tip top shape now is the time to look at the reel. I am surprised at just how many people overlook this crucial piece of equipment and spend money year after year on new fishing reels due to negligence and improper care. If more people cared for their reels as the manufacturers suggest they would give you years and years of solid and reliable performance without having to dig into the pocketbook each spring.  Give your reels a good visual inspection and check for any broken parts. I like to take all of the line off and check the spool for any damage and dirt. Using a small brush with a water and soap solution gently brush off any contaminants.  Once the line is off and you’ve brushed it down and eliminated any surface dirt you can now inspect the inner parts.

Many people don’t like to do this so if you are not comfortable with it then send your reel into a shop for maintenance. It’s much cheaper doing this on a yearly basis than forking out more bucks come springtime when you discover your reel is not working up to par. I like to lubricate the reel if it is in good condition and using the manufacturers reel juice if often the best solution. It doesn’t take much of the stuff to ensure everything is lubricated well. Once you’ve lubricated the reel and everything is spinning freely and without any glitches you should loosen the drag mechanism to relieve the pressure on the inner washers while in storage. I bring my reels inside over the winter to combat the freezing temperatures and the constant humidity changes.

Another money saving tip is fishing line line. With the price of braided line and fluorocarbons being somewhat stratospheric many anglers are using this money saving option. Get a spool of cheap monofilament line and spool about 20-30 yards onto each of your reels. Make sure there is enough to cover the spool. Tie on your new braided or fluorocarbon line using a granny or a double uni knot. I’ve found that dropping a dap of superglue on the knot will pretty much guarantee its strength. I usually spool on about 50-60 yards on super line depending on the rod and application. For a 125 yard spool you’ll save big dollars having 2 or 3 rods now set up with your favourite super line.


This article was written by the
contributing staff of OFT and its
group of amateur and pro Ontario anglers.

Copyright 2007. Ontario Fish Trips.

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