A Time to Recharge
Before you cast it aside, show your gear a little love.
When late fall approaches, some anglers aren’t as active as they are in spring and summer. Some turn to hunting; others get caught up in the rush of holidays. Fishing gear is neglected, often relegated to a corner of the garage for a few months.
Don’t just let out of sight become out of mind — this is a good time to do some maintenance of your fishing gear.
Let’s start with the easy equipment. Take the reel off the rod, set it aside and inspect the rod carefully. Look for hairline cracks in the blank and line guides. Run a Q-tip inside the guides. If there is a hairline crack, the cotton will pull off the Q-tip and you’ll know the guide needs to be replaced.
The most common rod damage occurs when the tip breaks off or the insert inside the ring pops out. These accidents come from reeling a lure to the tip and popping out the insert or using your rod to dislodge a snagged lure. (Don’t do that!) If you are unsure of doing a repair yourself, drop it off with a local rod/reel repair service. Note: they get very busy this time of year.
Rods get water spots or collect dust in the rod rack. Wipe them off with a soft cloth and some gentle cleaner (dawn dish soap) and water. For hard-to-remove spots, it may be necessary to scrub with a light rubbing polish. Once the rod is clean, wipe it one more time with a damp cloth, dry and finish with a cleaning wipe to curtail future water spots.
The cork on the rod gets very grimy. Wash it with soap and water, and if you can’t get it clean, rub it down with very fine sandpaper or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Scrub, dry, then seal the cork with U-40 cork seal.
Reels are trickier to maintain than rods. If you have reels you really like and are unsure of doing repairs/cleaning on your own, send them to a reel repair center for a cleaning. The cost is about $25-$45 per reel, plus parts, if necessary.
Some anglers like to tinker, especially with high-end reels. In addition to cleaning, you can add modifications such as upgraded bearings and spools plus color-coordinated external parts for handles, caps and star drags (bait-casting reels).
There are plenty of videos, websites, forums and social media groups to help you get started learning the details of disassembly and modifications (along with the specialty tools to make the job easier). It’s fun to tinker, if you’re so inclined, but it can be addicting, and expensive if you add high-end parts.
Horizontal rod images (except Q-tip image) courtesy manufacturers. Black reel image courtesy manufacturer. All other images: Randy Brudnicki | TPWD
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