Barbs and Backlashes


Preparations by whitetips
March 22, 2010, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags:

I hope this does not disappoint any of you, but it snowed Friday, the weekend was relatively cold, and I did not fish over the weekend.  That confession probably just blew my reputation and no one is reading this any more.  If you are, let me tell about a couple of projects I did this weekend; some preparations for some hard core fishing!

I have no problem laying down some dough for good equipment.  Yes, there are bargains, sales and deals, but you pretty much get what you pay for.  I will never tell you that you have to have the most expensive equipment in order to catch fish, but I will tell you to buy the best you can afford because better “tools” will help you catch more  and bigger fish.

When I dig down into some hard-earned cash to purchase some good equipment, I hope and expect that it will last awhile; hopefully a long while.  I also do what I can in order to take care of that equipment to make it last and work well.

Now let me tell you this first suggestion is my personal preference.  I will tell you what I do with my rods; you may think it is a good idea or not, I do not care, take it or leave it.

Most quality rod handles are made of good-quality cork .  I love cork, I like the way it looks, I like the feel and I have not found anything I like better.  What I do not like is that cork gets dirty, looks bad and after a few years of use begins to deteriorate.  So, I varnish my cork handles.  I had a “rod guy” that cringed when I told him that and suggested that I just use cork sealer.  I have tried that and in my opinion the cork sealer does not preserve the cork handles; after time they look bad and start to fall apart.  I had a couple of rods I had used cork sealer on a few years ago and was not happy with the way they were looking, so this weekend I sanded them down a little bit (removed some of the soiling and discoloration) and then put varnish on them.  I am experimenting with varnishes and do not know that one is any better than another.

Varnished cork handles.

The other thing I try to do annually is take my reels; tear them down, clean them and then re-oil and re-grease them.  I will admit it takes some time, and there is a risk of losing parts, not getting them back together right, etc.  If you have a reel repair shop, they can do the job for you at a reasonable price and by all means take advantage of that service.  I end up doing it myself and with some time and care it is no problem.

One thing I like to do is spread out an old towel.  I place all the parts on the towel as I remove them and that helps me keep everything in order.  Notice the parts diagram!  I have saved the parts diagrams for every reel I have in service.  If I get confused I can refer to the diagram and usually figure out which parts go where.  Those old diagrams are also very handy if you need to order replacement parts.

Some reels will have some specialized tools that can be used to disassemble and reassemble the reels.  Again, when you buy a new reel, save the box, save the parts diagram, save the tools and any extra parts that come with the reel.  If you have those tools that come with the reel, you usually can do the whole job without any other tools.  Regardless, most reels can be taken apart and put back together with a minimum of tools.

A rag, some Q-tips and an old toothbrush will be everything you need to clean the reel and all of its parts.  Once again let me add the disclaimer that I am not sponsored by anyone; do not have any products or agenda that I am trying to promote, but I will tell you what I use and what looks good to me.  I recently saw this product and it looks like it would work great for giving reels a thorough cleaning, http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10151_-1_10001_10204520_100004000_100000000_100004000_100-4-0 .

There are several good lubricants on the market and your reel manufacturer may have their own or may recommend a product for their reels.  Usually you will need both a good oil for handles, shafts, bails and other moving parts and a good grease for the gears.  Use what you prefer or what the manufacturer recommends; I am happy with “Hot Sauce” products.

Of course you should spool up new line especially if you are using monofilament.

And let me make one other suggestion.  I love reel covers.  I like the covers that will cover the reels while they are attached to the rods.

When I travel, the reels come off the rods and the rods go in a rod tube (you are more likely to bust a rod while you are traveling than at any other time).  The reels go in their covers/cases and then usually in a bucket or tool/tackle box.

Beside passing time until I am on the water again, the cleaning and maintenance will pay off.  If you have not heard me say it before, you are hearing it now–little things make a big difference!  Attention to details will pay off!  You all know the time when your equipment will fail you–it will be the time that big fish, perhaps that “fish of a lifetime” is right there at the end of your line.  When that happens it will be too late to do some maintenance, change line, make sure your equipment is in peak condition.  There are volumes of “sad stories” that could have been avoided with a little bit of time, a little bit of care, a little bit of preparation.

Oh and one other pay off–see the old “cream and green” Cardinal 4 spinning reel?  I have been fishing those reels since I was in high school which just happens to have been some time ago.  At the time I laid out what was a pretty good sum of money for a poor high school student to purchase the first of those reels.  With some yearly maintenance I am still using that original reel!  Have worn out and replaced a few parts over the years, but still using it.  Have caught a darned lot of fish on that reel over the years, cannot recall having been let down even once.

Yes, gotta show this bad girl again! This fish was not caught on a cable and winch, but on medium-weight spinning equipment. You gotta have confidence in your equipment when a fish like this inhales your bait!

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