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Dan Grulke
FCPA Fishing Coordinator

Department Resources

Maintaining Your Fishing Equipment

By Chase Brown

Proper maintenance off all your fishing equipment -- including rods, reels, tackle, accessories, etc.-- is important in order to extend its life and get the most use for your hard-earned dollar.

Just like a wizard who needs a properly working wand to cast magic spells, the same holds true for you and your fishing rod.

Below are some tips on how to extend the life of your equipment.


  1. Make sure that you keep your guides clean to prevent any buildup of algae or dirt on them that will cause your line to become frayed.
  2. Use a towel and rubbing alcohol to clean around the reel handle area on your rod every time you take your reel off to ensure that you clean out the dirt and other particles that may have built up on the inside.
  3. The preferred method of storage when you are not using your rods is either on a rod rack or in a rod sleeve. If you do not have either one, then just make sure that wherever you store them they are in a vertical position. If the rods are kept horizontally in a way that they start to bend, over time it can cause permanent damage.
  4. If you are a person who likes to keep your rod looking polished, then I recommend wiping it down with a disinfectant wipe a couple of times a year to give it that fresh-out-of-the-store shine.


  1. Probably the most important tip to maintaining your fishing reel is to rinse it with freshwater after every use. That does not mean dipping your reel into the pond or lake you just fished. Instead, take a bucket and fill it with water from a hose or sink and dip your reel in. You never want to spray water directly on a reel, as this may cause whatever dirt or algae particles to go up inside your reel and cause further damage.
  2. Make sure that you properly lubricate your reel depending on how often you fish, so that all the moving parts you retrieve stays running smoothly. You can get lubricants specifically made for fishing reels, but I find that penetrating fluid (e.g. WD-40) or a silicone oil work just as well. If you are somebody who fishes every day, then you will want to lubricate every couple of weeks. For those of you who fish every month or so, you should lubricate it each time you go.

Tackle and Lures

  1. For cleaning hard body lures, use a wet toothbrush to apply cleaner and make sure you get all the hard-to-reach spots. When it is up to your standards of cleanliness, wipe it off with a dry towel.
  2. Make sure that you store soft plastics in a cool, dry place so that they do not succumb to melting or loss of color. Ensure that all packages are properly sealed before storage, so they do not become dry and wilted the next time you go to use them.
  3. When storing fishing weights, make sure that they are in a place where they will not get bumped around and cause damage to your other lures.
  4. Fishing hooks can start to become dull after repeated uses. Before tying a hook onto your line, make sure that your hook is still sharp enough to catch a fish. A common way to tell if your hook needs to be sharpened is by dragging it softly along your fingernail to see if it catches. If it slides down your fingernail with ease, then it is probably time to sharpen it. I tend to keep a small sharpening stone in my tackle box for this exact purpose.


  1. Make sure fishing nets are properly rinsed with freshwater after each trip, so that you can prevent any rust from forming. Store your net somewhere off the ground so that it prevents things getting caught in the holes of the net.
  2. Keep your tackle box clean from dirt and grass and be sure to get rid of any leftover bait that you do not intend on saving. I cannot tell you how many times I have left a piece of bait in my tackle box only to come back a few days later to an awful smell and an infestation of maggots. If you take anything away from this article, please let it be this -- DO NOT LEAVE BAIT IN YOUR TACKLE BOX!


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