October 31, 2012 by Chad Grigsby
If you live in an area of the country where your fishing pretty much shuts down in late fall, it's a good idea to give your rods and reels a maintenance going-over now so they'll be ready to fish next spring. When my fishing's done for the year, I'll take all the reels off the rods, remove the fishing line, and wipe the reels down with a cleaning cloth. I'll lubricate each one with Abu Garcia Reel Lube, starting with the levelwind guide. Then I take the sides off, check and clean the gears and bearings, and lubricate everything that's supposed to be lubricated - it doesn't take much. Finally, I loosen all the drags on my baitcasters because I don't want them to develop a set.
Next, I'll check the rods. I clean off any grime or dried weeds they've accumulated. I also inspect the guides. The best way I've found to do that is to take a Q-Tip and rub it around the inside of the ceramic ring in each guide. If any of the cotton fiber sticks, the ceramic is cracked and needs to be replaced. Inspection, cleaning and maintenance only takes a few minutes. I've found it better to do it at the end of the season rather than just when fishing is starting to crank up again and I've got a lot of other things on my mind.
Whether you do it now or wait until spring, though, take care of your rods and reels. I've got some old reels that look a little beat up, but they still work fine because I take care of them. Considering how much good fishing equipment costs nowadays, tackle maintenance is still a smart thing to do.
---- Goodwill pro Chad Grigsby, Maple Grove, Minn.