Author: Hunter King (RiverCrawler)
“Taking care of your equipment is very important because it extends its life. There are different ways to do this; there is prepping gear for storage, and prepping gear for the next trip. Both are very important in extending the life of all sorts of equipment, from rods and reels to lures and line even your kayak. I am going to cover tips on both storage and the next trip for a few different items.
First come rods. Rods are very used and abused tools in the fishing world. They get thrown about, beat on rocks, and are under heavy strain when fighting a fish. After every trip there are a few things that need to be checked. First is the blank itself for cracks, defects and noticeable stress marks. If you see any of these, expect a broken rod soon. Next thing to check are the grips, if they are looking rough you may want to add some grip tape, but this is just for your own comfort; nobody likes blisters. Now the eyes need to be checked, these things have a lot going on so they need to be checked often. First the eyes can get cuts or nicks and this will slice your line real quick making you an unhappy fisherman or fisherwoman. Visibly check for nicks and cuts before every trip and often during trips, but when prepping for storage a way to check for even the smallest defects is to raid the wife, mother, or girl friends clothes for a pair of pantyhose. Or, save yourself the embarrassment and find something close to that; you want something that will tear very easily or snag on the cut or nick. Now that you have the pantyhose, place them through the guide and pull it tight on the guide and circle the inside, and then pull up and down on the guide. If there is a cut or nick in the eye, there will be a tear in the panty hose. If this occurs, the eye needs replacing. Some guides have replaceable inlays; others may need to go to a rod smith. The next thing to check is the reel seat. It will get dirty and this is not really that big of a deal but I like a clean rod.
Next is reel care. I am not an expert at all! I do not get in to all the degreasing and regreasing, but I do simple things that keep them in good condition. First is a nice tap water rinse after every trip, this cleans the stuff off the outside that can make its way inside and cause some serious damage. When doing this to a spinning reel, tighten the drag all the way before rinsing. Another thing to do is take the pantyhose back out and check the level wind, and on spinning reels check the bail and the roller. Now some of the more advance cleaning. A tooth brush with soft bristles is best, open the reel up and scrub anything that needs it UNLESS it is a greased part. Those are made to look dirty. If you want to do further cleaning with the grease and lube, go ahead, but if you do not know what you are doing let someone that does do it. You only have to do the greasing once or twice a year, and I recommend checking the other stuff regularly.
Next is line. Obviously after removing a rod from storage you should replace the line. But, during your normal fishing always check it for defects because it will receive much wear and tear throughout the year.
Next is caring for lures. Rust is the worst thing that can happen to lures. One way I prevent this is by letting my lures sit in the sun for an hour to dry out the box after it takes a splash, and then I still let it air out until next trip. Replace rusted hooks quickly or remove them from the box, because it spreads fast; not sure why but it does. One thing I have heard about and want to try is a rust stopper box by Flambeau, It is called Zerust, it is a chip that fits in your box and keeps lures from rusting.
And, of course there is always checking lures for cracks and sharpening hooks.
Last comes boat care. It is always a good idea to rinse your kayak off and out after a trip. This extends the life of the boat, and just makes it look better. I also recommend not leaving them in direct sunlight.
I know there are many more things that I could add to this. I feel that I covered most of the important things. But really most of caring for gear is just keeping it clean.”