Maintaining your fishing gear
Each time I go out to Pyramid Lake in Nevada, I am reminded that you need to take a few precautions regarding your fishing gear.
Earlier in the year, I did not get a chance to clean my gear right away as I typically do. A white crust had formed on my fly line from the alkalai because of the alkaline waters of Pyramid Lake.
While obviously not as alkaline as salt water, the water in many of these high desert lakes is high enough in alkalinity to cause problems with your tackle. Besides the residue on my fly line I also noticed a small amount of rust on the gears of my fly reel when I opened it up to clean it. I was able to clean it up with little problem, but if I had left it unattended, it could have caused some real problems.
I mention the gear issue this week because many people have stowed away their gear for the season and may have overlooked cleaning it. It is always a good idea to clean your gear prior to putting it away for the season. I also give it a quick once over if it has been unused for quite sometime.
Recently, I got very low in reel lubrication, because I clean my rod and reel each trip I make out to Pyramid Lake or when I happen to use the rod in saltwater, which is even more demanding on your gear.
I have always used a reel lubricant that is much thicker. Penn makes the particular tube that I had been using. Unfortunately, I could no longer find it locally in Truckee or Reno. Most lubricants now are much thinner machine oils. I suppose that these will work just fine, but you know it is hard to be without something that you have become accustomed.
So what’s really necessary in cleaning up your gear? The rod, reel and line are the important components of your basic tackle. These should be washed with soap and water and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water.
The spool on your reel should be taken off and washed thoroughly. I use a wash rag or sponge for my cleaning. Dry the components off by hand and let the spool with the line on it dry. I then lubricate the reel prior to putting the spool back onto the reel and putting it away. Be sure to lubricate all of the working parts. Check with the instructions that were provided with you reel if you still have them. They typically tell you what points to lubricate.
The rod is pretty easy to clean up. Just make sure you wash the graphite and pay attention to the guides and reel seat as well. I also like to clean the cork each time, but this can cause a lot of wear on the cork. If you wash it all of the time, you will find that you may have to fill in holes and patch the cork. While that’s not hard to do, it is an extra step. Just wiping it down with fresh water may be all that you want to do if you are not prepared in filling holes.
About once or twice a season I will also apply an application of wax to my rod. You can use furniture polish or even car wax. This keeps the rod looking pretty good.
The fly line can be washed with a special line cleaner, but I usually wash it first with soap and water. After I allow it to dry, I will use a line cleaner/dressing. There are many brands available.
Finally, I like to wash and/or rinse the other things that are used in the water such as my waders, wading boots, stripping basket, and even the ladder that I use at Pyramid.
I cannot stress just how important it is to keep your gear properly maintained.
Cleaning and flushing your gear with freshwater is a necessity if you are fishing saltwater or alkaline water, and a great idea to do at the end of the season and again at the beginning of the season even if you are fishing in freshwater.
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