Fishing Gear Tips: 6 Ways to Ensure a Long Life

Oct 11, 2023 | 6 minute read
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Two rods troll behind a fishing boat in the sea, with mountains in the background

Whether you’re a professional captain hoping to keep customers coming back for more, or a recreational angler who loves heading out alone, the same things ring true when it comes to your fishing gear. Keeping your angling equipment in shape is paramount to ensuring a productive experience time and time again – not to mention the money it could save you. So here are our fishing gear tips when it comes to maintenance. 

1. Inspect Your Gear Regularly

It’s an easy thing to forget about at the end of a day’s fishing. Or at the beginning, when the thrill of getting out on the water has consumed you whole. But checking up on your gear more than once in a while will save you from big issues in the long run. 

An elderly angler on a river inspects his wooden gear

Think tackle. It’s a key component of your angling arsenal, but it’s exposed to damage all the time. Rocks, bites, and a whole host of other things – underwater and above – could harm it. Check your tackle at the end of the day and take some time to repair it before the next time you go out. Things such as grime, for example, can easily be sorted with white spirit.

If you’ve forgotten to check, keep an eye out for things such as the lure veering off to a particular side. It could be bent. Use pliers to force it back into shape, or head to a local bait and tackle store that can repair it. The latter is true of any issue you find with your tackle. We’re talking nicks and chinks, and everything else. A professional may even show you how to fix it yourself next time!

2. Clean Your Gear with Fresh Water

You’ll notice that many boats come with freshwater hoses. Most experienced anglers always keep a bottle of mineral water with them – and not just for hydration. After the end of a busy day fishing – especially in saltwater – cleaning your gear with clean water is a must. Wipe down your rod and reel, but pay extra attention to jigs, hooks, and lures. Here’s where oil or soap comes in handy, and even a spare toothbrush to scrub them clean. 

A hose pipe sprays a boat with a wet window in the foreground

If you notice the feathers on your jigs aren’t as loose as they were when you first bought them, a dash of oil will help lubricate them for the next time you go out. And lubrication is vital for other parts of your gear too. Think of that smooth drag on your reel! If you’re concerned that the smell of the oil could be off-putting to the fish, we suggest you opt for some scented lures, as they’ll offset any negative consequences of the oil.

If you’re short on time, some anglers recommend popping your lures in the dishwasher for a quick rinse. However, make sure to take them out quickly after the cycle is done. You’ll see why in the next two fishing gear tips we have in store for you!

3. Dry Your Gear Thoroughly

It may sound silly to those of you who know what to do. But it’s surprising how many people forget to dry their gear after cleaning it! Water causes rust on every kind of metal. And rust is seriously damaging when it comes to fishing gear. Therefore, it goes without saying that you should dry your gear to make sure it doesn’t come susceptible to rust. 

Rub your gear down with a cloth or paper towel after washing – that’s enough to do the trick. Let everything stand for a few minutes and take another quick glance to make sure everything is thoroughly dry before packing things away. It sounds simple, and that’s because it is!

4. Store Your Gear in a Warm Area

Taking care of your gear doesn’t end when you get back in the car. There are plenty of fishing gear tips you can follow at home to ensure a long life for your equipment. And nothing is more important than finding a suitable home for it. This is especially true for the end of the season, or any time you plan on hiding your gear away for a while.

Storing your gear in a warm area is vital in protecting it against rust, as you’ll avoid exposing it to dampness and condensation. Bedroom closets and the like are the best spots. However, failing that, just make sure you store everything in a spot that doesn’t experience big changes in temperature. Avoid basements, garages, and spots close to exterior walls unless well-insulated. 

5. Loosen and Clean Your Reels 

Back into the nitty-gritty of fishing gear maintenance, there’s plenty you can do to your reels to ensure a long life. It may seem needless, as your reels don’t get as exposed as some of your other bits and bobs, but it’s a vital piece of kit that you need to show some TLC. 

A man's hands screws into a fishing reel in the open air

Make sure to loosen the drag off your reels at the end of each day to avoid unnecessary tension. Much like with storing, this is especially important at the end of the season. Then, make sure to do the same as you would with your jigs and lures – keep them clean. Hot water can work here, with a 10-second rinse and lengthy wipe down to dry it off. 

Reels have plenty of nooks and crannies that you may not be able to reach with a cloth or paper towel, so some anglers even suggest using a hairdryer to get to those difficult-to-reach areas. Before packing them away, add some specialized oil for that extra care. After all, you want the line to pass through the reel as smoothly as possible!

6. A Word on Rods

Before we wrap up, we just want to emphasize the importance of keeping your rod in good shape. After all, it’s the most important weapon in your fishing arsenal, and it’s actually pretty fragile. 

Fishing rods and a few reels lie on a wooden table

First of all, follow all the above guidelines when it comes to cleaning and drying your rod. However, unlike your other gear, you’ll want to make sure there’s a special place and position for your rod. Special rod holders are important, but laying them down flat instead of standing them up against the wall can also do the trick to make sure the rod doesn’t bend (or “set,” in fishing terms). 

Similarly, be careful with your rod when fishing. Try not to bang or hit it, so be careful when casting from a boat, or even on structure when fishing from shore. Other than that, make sure to wax the joints on your rod to avoid friction on a regular basis. And wash the grips of the rod with soap and water when cleaning it. 

And Now You’re Ready for a Long Life of Fishing!

Most of these fishing gear tips require just a few extra minutes at the end of each day’s fishing – or 30 at the end of the season. This small investment is well worth it, and could add years onto the lifespan of your gear. If you’re a captain, you’ll get happy customers who know you look after your gear. And if you’re fishing on your own, you’ll save on expensive purchases at regular intervals, not to mention better-performing gear. Seriously, a little bit of work goes a long way!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other fishing tips, from what to wear for men and women, to finesse fishing for Bass. You’ll find them all in our Fish and Tips section.

We hope these tips will help you, but we’d also like to hear from you! How do you keep your fishing gear in good condition? Let us know in the comments below!

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Growing up next to a river, Rhys was always on the water. From Carp fishing in his native Wales to trying his hand at offshore fishing when traveling abroad, Rhys has vastly expanded his horizons when it comes to casting a line and continues to test new waters whenever he has the opportunity.

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