Sunday, December 19, 2010

Okay... Now what?

Hello Folks,

In my last report, I mentioned that I had removed my reels and had taken them to Susquehanna Fishing Tackle for their annual winter maintenance. Six rods now lay bare awaiting for their return.

Now what?

It's now time for my attention to turn to my rods. Each will be cleaned with a very mild soap to remove any dirt, grime, or contaminates that have collected throughout the past year of fishing. I normally use a soft towel, sponge, and old toothbrush for this task.

Each and every guide will be inspected and straightened for optimum performance. A Q-Tip will be run on the inside of each guide to be sure that there are no nicks that have gone unnoticed and may cause line damage. Most nicks will show by pulling the cotton. If you see this, replace that particular guide before using the rod again.

I prefer cork handles for their low memory, soft feel, and superb grip. It is so important not to use any harsh chemical cleansers that may damage and break down a cork handle. Over time, as a cork handle ages, there may be small pieces that break free. This will, in no way, lessen the effectiveness of the handle and gives it some age old character.

I will take a mild soap and remove as much dirt as I can and then let it be. I refuse to use anything, like sandpaper or bleach, that may cause damage to the cork. Actually, one of the best things any angler can do for their cork handle is to let it be and it will be just fine.

Overall care of a rod is very important. Try not to allow the rod to fall against hard surfaces. This alone can cause nicks that could eventually lead to a rod snapping under pressure of landing that trophy bass.

One thing that is notorious for knocking out the tip guide insert is running a lure up tight against the tip. I know that have done this numerous times over the years and usually when I'm not paying close attention to what I am doing. If I notice my mistake, I immediately check the guide to be sure the insert is still intact. The only consolation I have when I do knock an insert free is that the tip is one of the easiest for me to replace.

I hope that this gives you an insight on how I take care of my rods in my downtime. It doesn't take too awfully long and gives me piece of mind once I get back out on the water that my gear is in tip-top shape.