Ron's Tackle Tips — Rod Cleaning and Maintenance

Ken Jones

Staff member
Rod Cleaning and Maintenance

by Ron Crandall of Ron's Reel Repair

We have had a lot of requests about what is the best way to maintain a Rod in order to have it for a Lifetime, assuming you don't break it.

Start with one new rod:
1. Apply a paste wax (not a liquid) to the rod and base of the guides only (not on the guides).
2. Apply paraffin wax to screw threads of reel seat. This will allow for smooth operation and less wear.
3. For a rod with glass or graphite ferrules, apply paraffin wax to the ferrules.
4. For a rod with metal ferrules use only 'skin oil' on ferrules. Apply by rubbing male end of ferrule in hair or lacking hair, rub on forehead. This will apply minuscule amount of oil to the ferrule. This is all you need.
Now go use your rod.

After fishing do the following:
1. Since this is the California Pier Fishing website, information is provided with the assumption that you will be fishing in salt water.
2. Remove reel and clean any sand or grit from reel seat with an old toothbrush, or a paint or acid brush that has bristles cut short (for stiffness).
3. Spray the rod with Salt Away, then rinse. This breaks down an amazing amount of salt that you didn't realize was on the rod.
4. Take rod into shower with you and clean thoroughly with a toothbrush.
Naturally, dry thoroughly before putting away.

For older, abused rods:
1. Apply Corrosion-X to corrosion build up on metal ferrules, reel seats and guides. Let sit overnight. Scrub with a toothbrush and rinse.
(Tip: WD-40 and Simple Green do not work as well as Corrosion-X)
2. Install rod butt cap if missing. Caps are available through tackle shops.
3. After the rod is free of corrosion and clean, proceed to treat it as if it were a new rod.

Other considerations: New rods have a single coat of epoxy covering the rod and guide wrapping. This epoxy will chip off with use exposing the uncoated surfaces to moisture. Moisture will get under the epoxy and lift it off, deteriorating the guide wrapping and causing the guides to come loose. You need to seal the chipped epoxy immediately. Applying paste wax will help, or clean the chip with alcohol, and apply a flexible marine varnish like McCloskey's Man-O-War.

Inexpensive rods are more prone to chipping than expensive rods, but treating an inexpensive rod as described above will allow you to keep it for a lifetime.

Disclaimer: Products mentioned in Tips are those used by Ron's reel Repair, and should not be thought of as the only product of this type available.


Well-Known Member
4. Take rod into shower with you and clean thoroughly with a toothbrush.
Naturally, dry thoroughly before putting away.
That is hilarious! I’ve never thought of getting so personal with my gear lol. However, I used to dunk them in a swimming pool for a minute or two, now i just use a garden hose or beach showers and its “clean enough”!

Ken Jones

Staff member
I do this frequently after returning from a trip, it's convenient and easy. The shower refreshes me while helping clean the rods. I wouldn't dip them into the swimming pool, I don't think the chlorine in the water would be too good for them.