General Rod and Reel Maintenance —

Rods and reels line the rail at the Hermosa Beach Pier

If you want to become a serious and successful angler you should learn how to properly use and take care of your tackle. One of the best ways is to find a knowledgeable tackle store, especially one that repairs rods and reels, and then become a regular. The tips and knowledge you will pick up from your visits will more than make up for any additional cost over using the big box chains. The following are some tips for maintenance given by Ron Crandall who used to write the “Tackle Tips” page for the Pier Fishing in California web site (he recently retired). Ron owned a tackle repair shop in Santa Rosa and is still considered one of the true “experts” in the field of rod and reel repair.

Reel Maintenance

            Clean your reel after every use. The number one rule in reel maintenance is to rinse the reel gently with fresh water after use in salt water. However, do not rinse it with water at  high pressure as this will force salt into the reel and cause corrosion problems.

            Lubricate the reel after rinsing. After your reel is thoroughly dry, apply a moisture-dissipating lubricant, such as Corrosion X, to a rag, and wipe the reel with the rag. Do not spray the reel with lubricant, as this will cause the reel to collect dirt.

           Use the proper lubricant when overhauling your own reels. Use Penn lubricant, or other light grease such as, Lubriplate #105. Do not use boat axle grease.

           If you drop your reel in the sand… STOP! Do not test the reel to see if it still works. Use a spare reel and overhaul your reel  or take the reel to a repair shop for an overhaul. Turning the handle of a reel with sand in it has a 95% chance of breaking parts.

            Periodic maintenance saves costly repairs. Do not get caught in the old myth of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

            How to store a reel after you’ve cleaned it! Do not store your reel on your rod. Corrosion can build up on the rod’s reel seat as well as on the foot of the reel.  After the reel is cleaned and dried, and since the reel is already off the rod, leave it off.  Let the reel thoroughly dry. Store the reel in a breathable cloth bag, like cotton, or flannel or muslin.  Avoid plastic or nylon bags. Store extra spools in a cloth bag as well. Clean old socks work well and are the right size.

Rod Maintenance.

           New rods. To insure a long life for your new rod, do the following: Apply a paste wax (not a liquid) to the rod and the base of the guides only (not directly to the guides). Apply paraffin wax to the screw threads of the reel seat. This will  allow for smooth operation and less wear. For a rod with glass or graphite ferrules, apply paraffin wax to the ferrules. For a rod with metal ferrules, use only Œskin oil on the ferrules.  Apply by rubbing the male end of the ferrule in hair or, lacking that, rub on a forehead. This will apply a minuscule amount of oil to the ferrule. This is all you need.

           After fishing, do the following. Remove the reel and clean any sand or grit from the reel seat with an old toothbrush, or a paint or acid brush that has its bristles cut short (for stiffness). Spray the rod with Salt Away, then rinse. This breaks down an amazing amount of salt that you didn’t realize was on the rod. Take the rod into the shower with you and clean it thoroughly with a toothbrush. Naturally, dry  it before putting it away.

          For older, abused rods. Apply Corrosion-X to any corrosion build-up on metal ferrules, reel seats and guides.  Let the rod sit overnight.  Next, scrub it with a toothbrush and rinse.  (Tip — WD40 or Simple Green do not work as well as Corrosion-X). Install a rod butt cap if it is missing (caps are available through tackle shops). After the rod is free of corrosion and thoroughly clean, proceed to treat it as if it were a new rod.

          Other considerations. Most new rods have a single coat of epoxy covering the rod and guide wrapping.  This epoxy will chip off with use, exposing the uncoated surfaces to moisture.  Moisture will get under the epoxy and lift it off, deteriorating the guide wrapping and causing the guides to come loose. You need to seal the chipped epoxy immediately.  Applying paste wax will help, or clean the chip with alcohol, and apply a flexible marine varnish like McCloskey’s Man-O-War. Inexpensive rods are more prone to chipping than expensive rods.  But, treating an inexpensive rod as described above will allow you to keep it for a lifetime.

         Paraffin Wax. Someone (TW) sent a note to Ron and asked if applying paraffin on glass or graphite ferrules, and on reel seats, wouldn’t cause dirt, sand or similar items to cling to the rod parts and cause  an even worse problem? Ron replied: “Paraffin is a dry wax not a sticky wax. Sand and dirt don’t stick to paraffin as they would on a sticky wax, but instead, fall off. Paraffin is used as an industrial lubricant because it is neutral in its reactivity. It allows the surfaces of the male and female ferrule to be tightly in contact without abrading each other. Paraffin allows the ferrules to be separated as needed, and not stick together as they would if a lubricant was not applied. Not using a lubricant would eventually cause the ferrules to wear against each other and loosen over time.  Naturally, if there is dirt or sand on the ferrules, clean them before putting them together. Paraffin prevents the build up of corrosion on metal based ferrules and reel seats. These are the rods that you can’t separate and the reel seats that won’t unscrew. Paraffin helps prevent crossthreading of graphite reel seats, which is a common problem if the reel seat and ring get dirt or sand in them.  When the ring or the seat is dirty the ring can crossthread on the seat and in turn damage the seat threads.  This will cause the ring not to tighten properly and cause the reel to be loose. Where do you get paraffin? First look in the kitchen cupboard. If you or a member of your family makes jam, or cans fruits and vegetables, there is probably a blue and white box of paraffin already there. If not, paraffin is available in the canning supply sections of most grocery and hardware stores. Note, do not use candles, candle wax or beeswax. Use only paraffin.”

Posted in Daily musings..., Pierfishing, Saltwater Fishing and tagged with , , , . RSS 2.0 feed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>