Ron's Tackle Tips — Maintenance Time

Ken Jones

Staff member
Maintenance Time

By Ron Crandall of Ron's Reel Repair (February 1999)

As I write this its late January and yesterday I got caught in my own "I should have done this" situation. The surf perch are here in force and I lost a good-un to nicks in the line. If you have been with us for the last couple of years you know that we really do our best to remind you to check, clean, and maintain your equipment. Now is the time to do it.

Start with cleaning out your tackle bag and get rid of that sand. Check out the archives section for the basics on rod, and reel maintenance, and line information and maintenance.

Here's a new one to add if you are using a SPINNING REEL (most people are). Check the line roller to see if it really turns. There has been major improvements in roller design the last couple of years but nothing is foolproof. Years ago reels used carbide guides (looks like a roller). Very soon the guides had minute grooves which caused line abrasion. Then we got rollers that sort of rolled, if you kept them oiled. Now we are starting to see rollers with bearings and little grooves in them that are supposed to clean up line twists and increase the longevity of your line. Of course, this will only work if you do your part and keep everything clean. The best roller in the world won't do any good if you haven't done your part and kept it clean.

On a BAIT-CASTER reels, maintenance of the worm (that's the gear that makes your level wind travel back and forth), and the slot at the top of the line guide, is essential. These must be kept clean and free of sand in order to keep internal gears from breaking.

Go to the archives and check out all the other things you should be doing.

Yearly Maintenance (December 1997)


Where are your Rods? Are they piled in the corner of the garage, leaning haphazardly one against each other? Is stuff getting piled on or against them? Or have you properly taken care of your equipment and it is ready for the next break in the weather to just be grabbed and used? (See also: Tips Sheet on Rod Maintenance)

Things to consider: Have you cleaned it after the last use? Are any guides broken? Is the tip broken? Check the reel seat and butt. Do you need to repair something, anything? Do it now, not when you're ready to leave on a fishing day.

Rod Storage

Rods can be stored horizontally or vertically, but not at an angle, as in the aforementioned corner of the garage. If stored in the corner, the rod spine will take a set different than what it should have. Place horizontal brackets every 3 feet so that the rod does not bow. Brackets are available to store rods vertically which support the rod at the base and near the top third to maintain proper orientation.


Change and Recycle Line. (Bring line and spools to your local tackle shop. Berkley remelts used line and spools and recycles this as fish habitat for farm ponds or other dam created lakes, reservoirs, etc.) Clean spools, check and back off drags. Check the performance of the reel. Does it need to be overhauled? Do it now! Always consider that the next fish you lose might be because of malfunctioning equipment. (See also: Tips sheet on Reel Maintenance)

Yearly Maintenance — Other

• Clean out tackle bags.

That old candy bar wrapper and beach sand won't help you catch fish.

• Sharpen or replace worn hooks.

• Snell hooks, tie new leaders.

• Oil pliers.

• Sharpen your bait knife.

• Wash that gunny sack you use to haul your catch home, "it stinks"

• Clean cart and oil axles if you are one of the people who turned a folding grocery cart into a pier U-Haul.

• Plan to go to the Sport Shows that happen early in the year. This is an easy and fun way to see all the new toys that you really want, but don't really need.

If all this sounds like too much work, remember, the reel I fish with most is a 1963 Quick Finessa. It works perfectly and all the battle scars are mine, and well earned.