How to maintain fishing tackle

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A rule of thumb when saltwater fishing is to make sure you rinse your rods and reels thoroughly after the trip to get rid of saltwater residue, which will attack any metal parts of your fishing tackle. If you don’t, you may end up with equipment that needs repair instead of maintenance. If you feel resistance or a lack of smoothness in any of your reels when you crank the handle, you may need to replace one or two bearings. Luckily, unless you have an antique, replacement bearings are relatively easy to find online, or you can go to local fishing tackle stores like J&M Tackle, The Rod Room, or Sam’s Stop and Shop and ask for help finding the right parts.

I brought back to life a Shimano Curado reel, my favorite baitcaster, with a $12 bearing, and I still enjoy it today.

If you have taken care to rinse your equipment after a trip on the water, only regular maintenance should suffice.

Spinning Reels

For spinning reels, I unscrew the spool and inspect the drag system, cleaning it if necessary. I remove the side plate to check for salt water intrusion and to make sure the gears are greased and the bearings properly oiled. I then close it and check that it is working properly. New spinning reels rarely come with enough grease on the bearings. Don’t overdo it, but make sure plenty of high-quality grease coats the gears.

Baitcasting Reels

On baitcasting reels it is essential to ensure that the worm gear is properly greased to ensure that it moves the line guide from side to side to keep the line evenly distributed on the spool . Turn the reel over and look at the bottom of the line guide. You should see a small shaft with grooves that guide level wind back and forth through the coil. Apply a small amount of grease to the worm gear and spin the reel handle a few times to make sure the grease has completely covered the worm gear and the level wind is working properly. If the level wind hangs up or does not shift smoothly, you will likely need to replace the pawl that fits into the grooves of the worm gear.

Gulf Shores Fishing Pier
walking sticks

Now is the time to check your fishing rods, mainly for cracks or potential problems in the reel seat. You definitely don’t want the reel to come loose from your hands while you’re fighting a fish.

Line guides

Then it’s up to the line guides. I will never forget losing the biggest tarpon to a failed tackle. A chipped line guide frayed the line, and after an hour-long battle, the estimated 150-pound fish was gone. If you can, borrow a piece of knitwear from your spouse or girlfriend and thread it into the fishing guides. If there is a fault, the fine mesh of the pipe will snag it. Do not attempt to repair the guide. Replace it.

Some people are good at these kinds of repairs, but I’m not comfortable doing this kind of work if it might mean losing a fish. Therefore, I will take any damaged line guide to one of the fishing tackle stores mentioned earlier to have it replaced. If you don’t feel like servicing your reels, these shops can also take care of that for you.

If you’ve been dreaming of casting your line, start planning your next fishing trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach today!

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