Q I think I do a decent job taking care of my rods and reels after a day of fishing, but I can probably do it better. What advice do you have for a guy who’s happy to fish all day but not necessarily to clean up afterward?
Kirk V., via BoatingWorld.com
Ed. note: This answer comes from the July 2017 Fishing column. Remove all the terminal tackle (yes, wash it too). Never leave a bottomfishing weight attached to a stored rod. It can cause a nick or a scratch in the finish, which can create a weak point in carbon-fiber and other composite rods. Tighten the drags on the reels all the way, so no water, soap or dirt gets into the plate. Use a soft lambskin glove or a rag soaked in a bucket of soapy water to carefully wash from rod tip to butt, making sure to get into the guides and the nooks and crannies that may hold dirt. Rinse the rod thoroughly and then dry it with a chamois or a soft towel. Finally, loosen the drag on the reel so it doesn’t develop a pressure spot during storage. Now put it away. Repeat the process with the rest of the rods, reels, gaffs, nets, downriggers, pliers, etc.
Peel off a few yards of line that may have frayed from your last epic battle. Once in a while, use a Q-tip or pantyhose on the guides to check for sharp points or snags. Those will part a tight line instantly.