Gear care is something that most of us probably struggle to keep up with it in the right amount. Your gear probably takes a decent beating every fishing season and you should be taking care of it after each trip or at the very least, once a month. Pretty much every piece of gear that heads out on the water needs some TLC after being used and we’re here to give you some ideas how to keep your gear in fighting shape for as long as possible!
Rinse Your Reels, Rods, and Lines
Regardless of whether you are fishing in saltwater or freshwater, you should be rinsing off your rod and reel with clean water every time you put them away after a fishing trip. Dirt, salt, mud, and other gunk can damage and scratch your rod and reel if not cleaned off. Reels are especially important because all it can take is one stray grain of sand or some mud, to lock up your reel and make you spend time doing a deep clean or having to send it back in for repairs. If you fish a lot or don’t have much time to dedicate to taking care of a reel, you should consider upgrading to a fully sealed drag reel from Pelican Reels!
And don’t forget to rinse off your fly line as well. Dirt and surface scum can build up which will reduce how far your line will cast. Cleaning a fly line is as easy as running the line through a wet paper towel or investing in a line cleaning kit. We also recommend retreating your fly lines after each cleaning using our Slick Willy line cleaner and lubricant!
Wash Your Waders
You should be keeping your waders clean, mainly because no one wants to smell like old mildewy waders. The other purpose is to keep the wader material from breaking down and help you identify weak spots so you can patch them before they turn into full-on leaks. While most waders are capable of being machine washed. If you don’t want to risk it, simply lightly scrub them down with water, on the inside and outside, and make sure you hang them until they are 100% dry. One trick I picked up from an old guide friend, was to stuff the inside of your waders with dry newspaper (a great way to upcycle your old Postfly Inserts) which will help prevent mold and mildew (which can break down fabric and seals) from forming in the booties.
Air Dry Wet Flies After Every Trip
Nothing is worse than reaching for one of your favorite flies and realizing that the hook has rusted since that last fishing day the other week. It doesn’t take long for fine hooks to rust and weaken, and nobody wants to lose a fish to a dud-hook. The easiest way to protect them? Simply take the flies that you used out of your fly box and let them air dry overnight, we’d also recommend leaving your fly boxes open to allow any residual moisture to dry up as well. An easy life hack to help keep your flies drier on the water is to take a desiccant pack, you know the little bags you get in new shoes and packages and place one in your fly box. This will help actively keep your flies dry!
Rinse Your Packs Off
You should also be rinsing off your fishing packs at least once a month to make sure the zippers don’t corrode and to help keep the fabric from wearing out prematurely. Even in freshwater corrosion should be a concern, rusty zipper teeth can break rendering your zipper useless. Many of the new submersible zippers (like on the Fishpond Thunderhead Lumbar pack above) include zipper lubricant, and if you have one of these packs you should be applying that once every couple of months at least to make sure that your zipper is easy to zip and unzip.
This is probably the cardinal sin most of us commit with regards to gear care. Even fully sealed drags need to be lubricated at least once a year. Before you lubricate the reel, take it apart and clean the assembly with a toothbrush to clear out any gunk that has gotten in there and then apply reel lubricant to the reel. This will not only make sure your drag is as smooth as possible, but will also extend the overall life of the reel, regardless of what type of drag system it uses.
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!