How to Clean and Store Fishing Equipment

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Proper care and storage is essential to keep your fishing equipment in tip-top shape. Whether you’re getting ready to hang up yourfishing equipment waders for the season or just want to get your tackle box organized, a little extra effort can add years to the lifespan of your favorite fishing gear.

How to Clean and Store Fishing Equipment

Rod and Reel Care

Your rod and reel take a serious beating over the course of the fishing season, yet many anglers don’t take the time to properly clean and care for these essential pieces of fishing equipment. Keep a few things in mind when you get ready to pack up your rod and reel:

  • Make sure everything is dry before you pack it away. If you are storing your rod and reel for a long period of time, remove all the line before you pack it away. Excess moisture can hide in the line and lead to damage.
  • Inspect and clean the guides on your fishing reel to remove dirt and debris. Some Q-tips and WD-40 do the job nicely.
  • Store your rod and reel in a cool, dry place; this is one of the best things you can do to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Lighten the drag on all your reels before you pack them up. The reduced strain on the gears will result in a longer lifespan.
  • Do not seal your fishing reels inside plastic bags or any other airtight container for the winter. This is a recipe for condensation, and corrosion isn’t far behind.
  • Store rods vertically to keep them from warping.

Storing Lures and Tackle

There’s nothing worse than opening up your tackle box for the first time in spring to find a mass of tangled lines and rusty hooks. Keeping your lures and terminal tackle in good shape is fairly easy, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines:

  • Rinse off hard baits and plugs with cool, fresh water. This is especially important if you fish in salt water, as the salty residue can cause corrosion.
  • Dry the contents of your tackle box thoroughly before packing it away. It’s okay to leave your box open outdoors to dry out, but be careful not to leave it in direct sunlight too long or you risk fading in your painted lures.
  • Remove and discard any equipment that has rusted. Replace all dull, rusty or broken hooks before storing lures.
  • Store scented and soft-plastic baits in sealed plastic bags.
  • Keep feathered lures and flies in airtight containers away from sunlight to keep them safe from insects and fading.

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Caring for Other Fishing Equipment

All that extra fishing gear that is so easy to forget about needs a little care too. Be sure to check on every last tool in your fishing arsenal before you store it for winter:

  • Check waders and hip boots for leaks and repair them if necessary before packing them up. You can find leaks by taking waders into a darkened room and shining a flashlight inside them; looking for points where the light is able to shine through.
  • Roll up waders to store them; never fold them. Stash them somewhere cool and away from sunlight.
  • Thoroughly dry all your metal fishing equipment – pliers, knives, hook removers, and multi-tools – to keep rust away. Now is also a good time to sharpen knives and add a squirt of oil to pliers and multi-tools.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So take a little time this season to clean and store your gear the right way – your fishing equipment will thank you!

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