As the fishing season is winding down in the North Woods and people turn their attentions to hunting and warm fires, remember to take all of that fantastic gear you bought and store it right! Throwing your pole in the garage is a thing of the past when a nice super reel and rod might cost hundreds of dollars. We need to take the time to winterize our treasured sidearm and keep it in pristine condition for years to come. Here are some inside scoops on preserving your rod and reel with some tips from the Musky Shop!
1. Prior to retiring your rod and reel combos, detach the reel from the seat to release the pressure on your Reel Seat Hood. This screw down hood is prone to cracking when stored a tight position and might have trapped moisture in the seat that is best to let air out. At this point, it's never a bad idea to add a little oil to the threads to keep them smooth for the next use.
2. After removing your reel from the seat, you need to take the time to give it a good cleaning. Reels store plenty of dirt and debris in all of their small crevices. We use pipe cleaners to really get deep in the reel and clean out the clogs. On the exterior of your reel, wipe the surface and handles down thoroughly with alcohol pads to prevent any bacteria or mold growth over the winter. At this time we recommend removing the line and replacing next season.
3. After a thorough cleaning of your reel, You should loosen the drag and control cap, this releases the pressure on the reel and allows it to contract and expand while the season changes without damage to the reel. At this point you can add a spot of oil to the spool and give it some cranks until it feels good and smooth. If your reel comes with a cover, it's great to store it inside to protect it from dust, but add a moisture barrier like a Tupperware container or dry bag to prevent moisture from seeping inside. Store in a dry warm environment.
4. For your rod, start with a similar alcohol cleaning of the shaft and thoroughly clean the handle. Cork can be scrubbed down with warm soapy water. This will again prevent any mold or mildew from growing during storage.
5. After a hardy cleanse, check all of the eyelets from top to bottom and replace prior to putting away as you might forget in your hurry to get out next year.
6. Always store rods completely vertical or horizontal as tilted storage can cause a permanent bend in the body of the rod. Use a overhead beam or floor stand to prevent damage. (Graphite rods do not like cold storage, which will lead to cracks and damage, so remember to store rods in warm temps)
7. The addition of a Rod Glove is great for protecting the rod guides and the shaft of the rod. It will help keep your rod from any bumps and bruises during the winter months.