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Fishing involves having to learn a variety of things, from identifying fish species, to knowing the right gear to use, to proper casting and reeling techniques. But did you know that one of the most important things you need to learn and practice to ensure a great fishing experience is fishing gear care and maintenance?
In this article, we’ll talk about to why it’s crucial give your fishing gear some TLC, what kind of damage your gear sustains, and finally, some tips on how to keep them in top condition.
Why fishing gear care and maintenance is essential
One of the most significant advantages of knowing how to care for your gear that it can save you tons of money by preventing costly replacements and frequent breakdowns. We all know fishing gear can get quite expensive, and yes, that applies even if you're not buying top-of-the-line rods or high-end lures. The thing is, having gear that constantly breaks down also means having to get it fixed constantly, which can easily ring you up a hefty bill. By taking care of your gear properly, you can avoid having to repair or replace it often.
From a sustainability perspective, keeping your gear in good shape also makes sense. When your gear is well maintained, you can reduce the amount of gear you throw away—gear that can end up in landfills or pollute the ocean. Sadly, fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost, or discarded is known to be a major contributor to water pollution and marine habitat destruction, according to the United Nations Enviornment Program. And as you probably know by now, we're all about sustainability here at Baitium. So keeping our gear well-maintained is just one of the ways we're trying to lessen our environmental impact.
Another benefit of caring for your gear is that it can enhance your fishing experience. Well-maintained gear allows you to focus on catching fish rather than, say, worrying about your rod and reel system falling apart or cutting your fishing trip short because your gear broke down.
Regularly cleaning and maintaining your fishing gear can even make your fishing experience safer. Improperly cleaned and maintained reels, hooks, or lures can increase the risk of injuries while fishing. For instance, reels that are not cleaned and lubricated can become stiff, making it difficult to reel in fish. Dull or rusty hooks can also be dangerous, as they may not penetrate the fish properly, leading to injuries from hooks flying out of the fish's mouth.
What kinds of damage happen to fishing gear?
Fishing adventures can get pretty rough, so it's unsurprising that the gear we use can get beat up quite badly. Everything from saltwater to sunlight to sand to fish bites, and even how we store and transport our gear, can take a toll on our equipment and affect their performance and lifespan.
For instance, saltwater can corrode the metal parts of our gear, causing them to break or malfunction. UV rays from the sun can weaken fishing line. Sand and pebbles can get into reels and cause unwanted friction. Storing gear improperly can cause it to warp, crack, or get moldy. It can also get dents, scratches, and other kinds of damage when we aren't careful about transporting it to and from our fishing destination.
General tips for fishing gear maintenance
Caring for tackle
It's important to clean tackle with fresh water after each use. You can use a toothbrush to scrub off any dirt you see, making sure to get not just the surfaces but also the hard-to-reach areas. For any grime that might have built up, white spirit is known to work wonders. Finish off your cleaning by wiping off your tackle with a dry towel. Remember, any moisture left on your tackle can cause corrosion, which can seriously damage your gear.
Now when it comes to organization and storage, our personal preferences often come into play. We’ve said it before: tackle organization and storage can be highly subjective. Every angler has their own system that saves them time and effort in finding a particular hook or lure. Some group their tackle by size, brand, or fish species, while others separate frequently used tackle from the ones they don't reach for as often.
However, it's important to note that not all methods of storing and organizing tackle are effective for maintaining its top condition. For instance, storing all soft plastic lures in a single compartment can result in a messy, gooey surprise. For soft plastics, it’s better to keep them in the original packaging, which can prevent them from melting and sticking together. You’d also want to keep them unopened until you’re ready to use them.
To keep tackle rust-free inside your tackle box or bag, you can also throw in one of those silica gel packs that absorb moisture. Remember to store your tackle box or bag in a cool, dry place, away from moisture.
When you're fishing, it's a good idea to keep your used tackle separate from the unused ones. This will help you keep track of which ones you need to clean. Plus, it will also prevent the unused ones from getting dirty or wet from the used ones.
Caring for fishing reels
Because of all their moving parts, reels are hardest and most complicated to clean and maintain. Deep-cleaning a reel involves disassembling it, cleaning not just the outside but also the inside parts, making sure you don’t leave behind any residue, and lubricating it as necessary. Some anglers like to go the DIY route, while others prefer to leave it to professional cleaners at tackle shops. And while you may not need to deep-clean your reel after every use, you should still rinse it with fresh water thoroughly, especially if you fish in saltwater. Remember to let it dry completely after washing to avoid corrosion.
Caring for fishing rods
On the flip side, fishing rods don't need much upkeep. But where it becomes a bit challenging is in their storage, mainly because fishing rods are large and not everyone may have the optimal storage space or conditions. There’s also a bit of a debate on whether to store fishing rods horizontally or vertically, or whether both positions are actually fine, as long as you do it correctly.
Most anglers, however, would agree that a cool, dry, place, away from direct sunlight, is ideal. And, if you fish in saltwater, it’s a good idea to rinse your rod with freshwater after every use, because saltwater can eat away at the rod’s materials over time.
At the end of the day, regular fishing gear care and maintenance is always worth it. It helps you save money, reduces waste, prevents gear-related injuries, and ensures that your gear lasts longer and performs at its peak potential. It’s an investment that can pay off with more successful fishing trips, and who knows, a better chance at finally landing that catch of a lifetime!
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