Barnegat Fishing Charter

Winter Tackle Care 12/29/13

As winter moves in its time to close the book to another great season. Tackle and gear are put away for another year. But before you put your fishing tackle away until spring, make sure that it sufficiently winterized. Doing so can not only extend the life of your equipment, it can save you preparation time in a few months when the days get longer and warmer, the sun a little higher in the sky and the new season is upon us. Here are a few tips on cold weather tackle storage designed to get your gear through the winter in great shape to get back out on the water come springtime.

Rods - Before storing your rods for the winter, give them a complete rinse with clear water and let them dry. Then take them over where you have a good source of light and examine them closely for signs of the wear and tear that can accumulate over the course of the season. Check the line guides to be sure they are not nicked or scratched in such a way that could abrade your line and cause it to break when stressed while fighting a fish.



Reels - Because of their large number of moving parts with close fitting tolerances and the hence greater number of things that go wrong with them, reels are more vulnerable to indifferent maintenance than rods. Making sure your reel is in well maintained condition can not only save you money, it can help you get ready quicker once the new season rolls around. And there is no better time to take care of this than prior to putting them away for the winter.

Wipe your reels down with a soft, moistened cloth and then take them apart and look for pieces of sand or grit that may have worked its way in during the season. Use a cloth to wipe away these foreign objects. Use 3-In-One oil or a light gun oil. These products are great for lubricating crank handles and receivers, spool shafts and the bail mechanisms on spinning reels. It isn’t likely you’ll ever have to lubricate the internal gear mechanism in your reels or at least not very often. If you do need to lubricate these points, don’t use any of the light oils mentioned above. Gear mechanisms generally require a heavier lubricant or grease to help the gears operate properly..

Lines - As a general rule, conventional nylon monofilament lines should be replaced each season. The sun’s UV rays have a deteriorating effect on nylon mono and after a full season of use, most mono will have a lot of nicks and tiny cuts along its surface which can weaken them. Too many nicks and there you’ll be losing lures again. Additionally, line stored on a reel spool over the winter often develops a “memory” and come spring, you’ll be looking at a set of tight coils that tend to foul when you try to cast.

Higher end lines like fluorocarbons and braided composite spinning lines are not as affected by UV rays and are often not as easily nicked in the course of everyday fishing and can often be used for more than a single season. But examine them well before you put your reel away for the winter. Additionally, since these lines can also develop memory, it is best to take them off the reel and store them in loose coils for the winter.

Lures, Hooks and Tackle Boxes – Rinse your lures well with clear water and allow them to dry thoroughly before putting them away for the winter. This will minimize the potential for corrosion and rust.  You can remove light corrosion with some fine sandpaper. Hooks that are moderately corroded or worse should be replaced. Take everything out of your tackle box and make sure the trays and interior are clean and dry. This will help your lures last longer by minimizing the conditions that produce corrosion. Separate your soft plastic lures, make sure they are dry and store them in zip lock bags for the winter. Accumulate a half dozen or so of the little desiccant packets that often come with the packing in electronic equipment or in the pill bottles from you pharmacy. Put them loose in your tackle box before you put it away for the winter. They will draw much of the residual moisture out of the box and its contents and help minimize hook and lure hardware corrosion.

By taking a little time at the end of the season to make sure you tackle and equipment is properly readied for the winter, you can help ensure that come spring, it will just be as eager and ready as you to get back out on the water.


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