After putting your rod and reel through it’s paces, it deserves a little attention.

Maintaining your tackle is a surefire way to get the most life out of that hard earned money you spent. More importantly, proper upkeep of your rods can be the deciding factor between you landing that fish of a lifetime, or tackle failing and it becoming just another fish story. Here are five tips to you can do to keep your tackle in tip-top shape.

Spool Washers

You ever notice the small plastic bag of washers that comes in the box with that new spinning reel you just bought? A lot of people don’t know what these are for. These small washers sit on the spool shaft, and adjust the way your line lays on the spool. If you notice your line likes to stack on one side of your spool, you probably need to add or remove a washer. Try it out, as is out of the box, and if you notice this happening, adjust accordingly until the line lays even. Check the reel manual for installation steps.

Flip your Line

Often times, especially on light tackle equipment, only the top 100-yards or so of line are used. Once frayed and “worn out”, most folks take off all of the line and re-spool it.

Instead, I like to empty my spool (typically by walking down the street with my bail open), cut it off, run back to the used side of my line and start spooling from there. This leaves the old line on the bottom of the spool, and that new line that has never seen the light of day is ready to fish. You essentially are just flipping the line on the spool. This allows you to get a few more months out of your line, and save a few bucks, especially with braid.

Clean your Cork

After a couple of months of using that new rod you just got, the cork tends to get dirty. Between fish slime, oils on your hands and grime, they can get pretty gnarly. Every so often, once I see a black tinge on the cork, I like to take a baby wipe (Lysol wipes work as well) and clean the cork with it. It only takes a minute or two and brings your cork back to life.

Kill the Corrosion

Saltwater is the devil when it comes to fishing tackle. After rinsing of your rods with freshwater, it is never a bad idea to apply a corrosion preventive. Products such as QMaxx offer a protectant, cleaner and corrosion preventative all in one. Spray it on, let it sit and wipe it off, an easy way to protect your gear.

Back off your Drag

You may have had to lock down that drag while fighting that big fish, we’ve all been there. Once you get home though, be sure to back off your drag all the way before storing your rod, especially for long periods of time. Keeping your drag tight for a long time compresses your drag washers and if left long enough, will become compressed for good. This means less drag range on your reel, offering only very loose or very tight drag.

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