Maintaining Your Fishing Rod and Reel—A 5-Point Checklist

fishing rod in a boat

Campers have their camping gear,  hunters have hunting equipment, and fishing enthusiasts have their rod and reel. What do these three groups of hobbyists have in common? They all need to do some maintenance to keep their gear from developing issues and breaking down long before they are supposed to. 

This is especially true for fishers, whose whole activity depends on their ability to catch fish with their rods. After all, good fishing rods aren’t usually cheap—for example, Okuma Musky Rods can cost as much as $123.57! 

The Problem With Fishing Gear

All too often, fishers just toss their rods on the back of their truck after a long day of fishing and don’t even take a second to clean them. Unfortunately,damage that often assails fishing rods show no immediate signs, and you might be caught unaware on your next fishing trip! Instead of reeling up that fish, you might just be left with a broken rod and an unsuccessful trip.

While it can be tempting to forget about your rods after a long fishing trip, it really doesn’t take too much effort and time to perform basic maintenance. Here are five simple ways to keep your fishing rod and reels in tip-top shape for your next fishing expedition. 


Protect your gear with rod covers when not in use 


Textile based rod covers are a cheap and effective way of protecting your rod and reel from scratches and dings during transportation. They also help prevent tangled lines, which are the bane of fishing enthusiasts worldwide. Just like in other areas of life, preventing damage from happening in the first place is better than trying to repair it. 


Wash your rod and reel immediately after fishing 


Don’t wait until after you get home to rinse your rod and reel, especially if you’ve been fishing in saltwater. Salt will make easy work out of your rod and reel’s metal parts, and the longer you wait before cleaning them, the higher the chance of you forgetting about it until it’s too late. 

A good rule of thumb is to keep a separate bottle of freshwater dedicated to rinsing your gear the moment you are done fishing. The process can be as easy as squirting the bottle’s contents to wash your rod and removing any dirt, algae, and other debris before packing up. 


Remove hooks and lures before going home


Hooks and lures are designed to hold on to fish, but they can just as easily get tangled with your line, car seats, or even you! Lures and hooks are generally inexpensive, but the damage and injuries they can cause if not properly attended to can be rather extensive. 

To prevent any untoward accidents, just remove the lures and hooks and place them back to your tackle box when not in use. 


Store your rods properly 


No two rods are created equally, but they are all susceptible to damage due to improper storage—especially during transport. If you’re serious about fishing and want to keep your rods usable for as long as possible, consider investing in a sturdy fishing rack that you can install in your car or your boat. 

These racks hold the rods in place and prevent them from being bent, broken, or banged around. If you’re looking for a rod and reel set specifically for traveling, you can purchase a set with an included case, such as the Flying Fisherman Passport Rod Set with Case, which you can bring along for any fishing trips that may involve flying. 


Remove the line for long term storage


If you know that you won’t be fishing for a long time, it’s a good idea to loosen the drag or remove the line entirely to relieve the stress on your reel. While a tight drag is good when you are fishing, the stress that it puts on your reel does weaken it over time, especially if you are fishing with it constantly. 

If you are planning to keep it away in long-term storage, it’s best to release any tension or stress to help delay the deterioration.  


While cleaning your rod and reels is relatively easy, it’s still very common for fishers to throw their equipment on their trunk without concern—until the next fishing trip. By following these five simple steps, you will be in a much better position to keep your fishing rod and reels in good shape. is an outdoor store offering the largest selection of hunting, camping, and fishing gear in St. Louis, Oklahoma. Have trouble finding what you’re looking for? Our expert customer service team is available 24/7 to cater to your gear-related needs. Contact us today to know more.