Sport fishing is a multi-billion dollar business in North America alone, and, on opening day for the fisherman’s favorite species, you can be sure that they are out at their favorite spots, with their gear all cleaned and setup with new line. The lures have had their hooks sharpened, and the tackle box and fishing vest have been packed in an order of the most favorite tackle being the most accessible. The importance of keeping your reel clean and working properly is paramount to successful and productive fishing trips, as opposed to yelling at your reel for falling apart, or having it seize up during a fight with an enormous speckled trout.
Cleaning reels should be done immediately after fishing in salt or brackish (partly salt) water, and after a few trips out in the lakes and rivers, creeks and streams. You should have a fine toothbrush, 3-in-1 oil, a clean cloth and clean water. Soap or any cleansing chemicals should never be used when cleaning or handling any fishing gear, as the smell will make it into the water where your line and bait await, and will spook the fish.
The first thing to do when cleaning a reel is to remove the drag knob (if your reel has one on top of the spool), to gain access to the spool release. Release the spool release, and remove the spool, taking all of the old line off of it. Return the old line to any bait and tackle shop for recycling. Using a wet, clean cotton cloth, wash the spool completely and dry with a dry, cotton cloth. Oil the attachment lever at the bottom of the spool lightly.
With the spool off, remove any debris that may have accumulated inside your reel. Use the toothbrush to clean all moving parts if you have fished in salt or brackish waters. Use the wet, clean cloth to wash the reel completely, or rinse with a hose using freshwater. Dry, and then lightly oil all moving parts. Then reassemble, and attach new fishing line to your reel.
Keeping your reel clean at all times will ensure that it will last a long time, be ready for catching those trophy fish, as well as the more palatable 1 to 4 pounders, and not fall apart under pressure.
Fish safe, fish responsibly. Fish on!