How to Care for Your Fly Fishing Gear

Some TLC goes a long way when you need it most.

If you’re like me, you fish the heck out of your rods, not rough, just fish it and fish it hard. Sand, salt, weeds, water scum, are all hard on rods and reels. Maintenance of rods and reels to avoid failure to keep us in the game is easy than you think.

Inspect rods and clean them, using mild dish soap and a nail or vegetable brush. (I like Dawn, if it’s good for ducks, it’s good for my cork). It will remove the grim from the blood sweat and tears from last week’s adventure from the cork. Some people use wood oil to protect the cork after it has been cleaned. See this video from Mad River Outfitters.

Don’t forget to inspect guides for damage by using Q tips, if the fuzz from the Q-tip comes off, you will need to get the guide repaired, it will eventually damage your line.

Wax your ferrules, any wax will do, a candle will work in a pinch, but I find that paraffin wax is the best. To attach rods with wax, place each section at a 90-degree angle then twist it into position and the opposite for removing sections. This will help the wax and rod bind together better.

look like new

Don’t forget those reels, I always rinse each reel with warm water after every outing to at least remover the grime, make sure you tighten the drag to full before rinsing, to avoid water getting in and allow to dry overnight if possible.

When you store your reel for long periods, always back off the drag. To clean the reel, remove the spool and wash with warm water and soap (same soap as previous), easier to do with the fly line removed. Some reels can be soaked in a bucket as the bearings are inside the frame, if not use a toothbrush to scrub the reel.

The collection of reels and spools ready for cleaning.

Apply reel oil to the handle or any moving parts. I like to apply grease to the spindle, screws, and the inside of the frame. If you choose to clean the reel yourself then I suggest putting them on a cloth and put the parts in order, so don’t lose any. No one likes spending till 3 am looking for a part for your reel, not that I know or anything.

Stay organized

So, your reels are lubed, the rods are waxed, cork is cleaned. I don’t know about anyone else, but man I love the feel of new cork. The outfit will work when you need it most and not let you down. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

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