5 Winter Fishing Gear Maintenance Tips

Most all of us cringe when it comes time to store our treasured possessions for any length of time. Remember that super bummed out feeling you had when your mom took away your favorite teddy bear when you were about eight years old? She may have said that it was time for him to go to a new "home" in the attic, but you wanted no part of giving him up and storing him away.

Reel Lubricant

Well, anglers tend to get the same sort of feeling when it comes to storing their fishing gear for any length of time. Some of us even shed a tear as our mind flips through the mental scrapbook of memories created when the weather was warmer and the bite was hot.

However hard the truth is to face, if you live in the Northern part of the country and haven't picked up ice fishing yet, you'll need to store your gear for a couple of months. Even if you live in a warmer climate, there may come a time when you decide to take a vacation that doesn't involve fishing (GASP!) or have a few weeks of inclement weather. Regardless, at some point, all anglers will need to store their gear.

Here are five tips to remember when storing your rods and reels:

  1. Check the guides on the rod to see if any are loose or cracked. If you do find any damaged guides, you can buy new ones and have them replaced. Most tackle shops will do this for you at a fairly minimal cost. If you want to try to replace the guides yourself, be sure to use caution when removing the glue from the blank to avoid damage to the rod.

  2. Clean and lubricate all metal parts. If you fish saltwater, your rod and reel should be rinsed with freshwater after every trip. When storing for a longer period of time, be sure to wipe down and lubricate all metal parts outside and inside the reel with an anti-corrosion spray. It's also a good idea to check and re-grease your drags.

  3. Loosen the drag on your reel. Most reels have drag systems that can lock up or become compressed if left tightened for an extended period of time.

  4. Remove fishing line. This tip is particularly important if you use monofilament line since it will hold the shape of the reel and create memory in the line. The less memory in your line when fishing, the better.

  5. Store your rods in a rod rack. Leaning rods upright against a wall without the support of a rod rack is not a good storage strategy because this can cause curvature in the rod.

What other tips or suggestions do you have for keeping your gear in top shape during the off-season so that it's ready to land the big ones come spring?

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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.