Maintaining your fishing gear
  |  First Published: August 2005

There’s nothing worse than opening your tackle box to find your favourite lure or reel crusted over with corrosion. Simple steps can be taken to make sure your new pride and joy gets the use it deserves. This month’s article will provide a guide to cleaning and maintaining your fishing valuables.


Cleaning and maintaining your fishing reels is quick and easy. By taking some time out after each outing to clean and check your gear, you will ensure that your gear will last another few years.

When cleaning reels, it is really important that you never submerge them under water. This allows water to penetrate the bearings and seals, which has an extremely detrimental effect on the working order of the reel. Make sure that the drag and brake settings are set to full lock as this will protect bearings and seals from water damage. I have found that washing reels with warm soapy water dislodges all salt and dirt from the outer reel casing.

In terms of servicing your reels, I would leave that to someone who knows what they’re doing. Attempting to service your reel yourself is not always the best option. I found this out the hard way when I serviced a Shimano Chronarch – it is not as easy as it seems. Service rates are usually around $30 and they are offered at most tackle stores.


Whether your rod is an $800 Loomis or an $80 Kmart model, it’s important to clean and store it in an appropriate position after each use. There is nothing worse than arriving to your favourite spot to find that your grips are still covered in bait from your last outing or your reel seat has seized up due to the salty conditions.

Cleaning your rod down in warm soapy water will protect it from corrosion and damage. Giving the rod a quick spray with the hose and leaving it in the backyard to dry will probably do more harm than good in most cases.

I have found that the best way to preserve cork grips is to run some soft bee’s wax over the grips. At first the grips will be a bit sticky to touch, but after wearing them in over a few sessions they will become firm and shiny. This wax will help protect the grips against cockroaches and any other nasty insects that may take an interest in your rod.

In terms of storage, keeping rods in a sleave or case and storing them a dry uncluttered area is best.


With most hard-bodied lures retailing at around $16, keeping them clean and in good nick is a wise move. When out on the water, keeping the lures that you have used in a container separate to the unused lures is best. Throwing the lures you have used back in your tackle box will cause corrosion of hooks, trebles and split rings on other lures.

In order to keep trebles and split rings in good order, rinse your lures in fresh warm water and dry them. Replacing split rings and trebles is relatively easy; all that is required is a pair of split ring pliers and patience.

Cleaning Agents

Cleaning aids and lubricants will go a long way towards ensuring the longevity of your fishing year. There is a vast array of greases, lubricants and oils for cleaning and maintaining your gear. All these products vary in price from a few dollars to over $30. The brands that I prefer are Inox, Reel Lube and Penn Reel Grease.

Getting in the routine of cleaning and maintaining your fishing valuables will help preserve your fishing gear against corrosion and rust. By taking a few minutes to inspect your gear, you may save money in the long run. Instead of letting problems go unnoticed, you will be able to fix them when they occur or even prevent them from happening.

All in all, keeping your gear in good nick will ultimately lead to you catching more fish rather than losing fish to weak hooks or broken guides.

Till next month, good fishing to all you junior anglers out there.

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