Many Anglers overlook their fishing reel from year to year. They simply throw their whole rib into a closet or leave it in the back of their vehicle all year long. Then when fishing season rolls around again, they grab their rig and go. Neglecting your fishing reel like this can cause big performance problems, and performance problems are not what you want while you're out fishing. Believe me, I know this from experience. If you take a few minutes after every fishing trip, and an hour of so a year, your fishing reel will stay in great shape and last for many years :
Wipe It Down - after every fishing excursion, take a minute or two to wipe your fishing reel down with a clean cloth. Just wiping the outside of the reel like this removes any dirt of sand that might have gotten on your rod while fishing. Over time, this can build up and cause problems.
Change Your Line - this tip is especially true with monofilament line, which is what I use. Some people will go for an entire fishing season without changing their fishing line. This amazes me. As an example, I change my line once a month or so during fishing season. The “fresher" your fishing line is the less resistance it provides for the fishing reel. Not only this, but the older the line, the more it will coil, and the less strong it will be.
Setting The Drag - You want your drag set tight enough for a hook set, but loose enough to come off of the fishing reel easily. Just pull the line off of the reel with your hand before throwing your first cast. If it pulls off fairly easily with a decent amount of resistance, it should be fine. After the hook set, adjust the drag accordingly. The drag on your fishing reel isn't like that chicken cooker. You don't just “set it and forget it". The drag on your reel should be adjusted as you feel the size of the fish.
A Spring Cleaning - At least once a year your fishing reel should be taken apart and cleaned and greased. This simple step, which takes about an hour of your time, will add years to the life of your fishing reel. Do a search for “fishing reel maintenance" to get instructions if needed, but the bottom line is that your fishing reel should be cleaned and greased at least once a year.
These simple tips will add years to the life of your fishing reels, and help their performance as well. The last thing you want to have happen is for your reel to not work properly when you happen to be fighting the fish of a lifetime. I've had my reel not work, while fighting a fish like this and let me tell you something, it's no fun at all. If there were any children within earshot of my screaming on that day they're still scarred. I was not a happy camper, or should I say angler. Just remember these simple tips and nothing like what happened to me will ever happen to you.
Trevor Kugler is co-founder of JRWfishing.com and an avid angler. He has more than 20 years experience fishing for all types of fish, and 15 years of business and internet experience. He currently raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country…. . Montana!
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