Taking out your gear for that first fishing trip of the year is immensely exciting.
Putting your fishing gear away at the end of the season . . . well, it stinks.
With such a joyless activity, it might be tempting to just toss your gear in a heap into your garage or basement and leave it until spring. But if you don’t properly put your fishing gear away for the winter, you’re likely to have big problems come spring.
To properly prepare your fishing gear for winter, start by removing the old line from your reel, even if you think you could get another season or two out of it. All that salt on your line can corrode the reel spool, so you’re better off removing it. On spinning reels, check the spool lip for any rough edges. Take your reel apart to thoroughly clean and oil it. It’s also smart to send it to a repair shop to have a professional clean and go over it.
Next, inspect your rod for any cracks or rough spots that could cut your line. A Q-Tip or pantyhose are great tools for finding any sharp nicks. Check the guide feet for corrosion. Apply a light oil [not sure if he means “light (as in not heavy) oil” or a light coat of oil] to the reel seat and any metal parts. Also, a light coat of wax will help protect your rod’s finish.
Finally, sort through your fishing tackle. Remove and replace any rusty or corroded hooks. Sharpen any dulled hooks, repair damaged plugs, clip off any remaining line and clean your tackle boxes.
Taking a little time to make sure your fishing gear is properly stored this winter will ensure that the moment you go to use it in the spring is every bit as wonderful as you envision it.