Reel and Line Maintainence

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UV light damages monofilament lines and any chips in ceramic guides cause problems .  It's a good idea tocheck your line-weight against a set of common spring scales, and to be especially wary of the effects of UV damage on knot strength.

The terminal guide is especially important. Even microscopic chips can do the damage. And if your eyesight isn’t so great, a pair of cheap over-the-counter glasses can help identify the fine abrasions that will abrade your line.

Another common problem is tying new line onto old. As the new line gets chopped away at (snags, reefs, weed, sharp teeth, etc), one ends up fishing with the same old line. And that’s when I’ve come unstuck. The old line can’t hack the pace. Some nice fish have gotten clean away just because I was too miserly to replace the whole line.

The moral of this story is “if in doubt, throw it out’. But care with where you throw it: even though it starts to break down under the sun, nylon line can still pollute the environment for several lifetimes.

Make a habit of cleaning your gear after every trip. Watch the water pressure as you can end up creating a problem by pushing water into the gears and bearings of the reel. At the very least, a light spray of fresh water to remove the salt after each trip is a good practice.

It’s important to remember that reels are designed to drain when the rod is horizontal, so sticking them in a tree or garden shrub while hosing or leaving them in the rain will do the trick. Squirting them standing up is ok as long as the reels are soon given the chance to drain with rods  horizontal. Give the handgrips a decent scrub to get rid of the dried blood and guts.

An occasional follow-up with a gentle wash of warm soapy water, a dry down followed by a rod polish is worth the effort. An old toothbrush can get into those difficult corners. The use of a quality car polish can actually protect the rod from UV damage. The damage in this case is not usually terminal. The rod just starts to look faded and un-loved. To dry washed reels, a place in the hot water cupboard is pretty helpful.

Finally, spray the reel with your favourite purpose designed spray. My favourite is INOX. Its’ odourless, tasteless, doesn’t seem to attract dust and is non-toxic.

Once the salt has been removed from metal parts, the protective coating the oil provides reduces the opportunity for oxidation. Both stainless and alloy components oxidise in salt-air. Aluminium is quite short-lived and turns to powder if not well looked after.

If you decide to dismantle your reel, don’t over-do the grease. Sewing machine oil is about right for most moving parts. And a gasket of grease on faced surfaces can improve water resistance after re-assembly.

Tight lines!

Steve Radich

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