How To Clean Fishing Reels, Rods and Line?

In order to ensure a longer life for your fishing gear, every fisherman should think about maintaining the gear. Taking care of your equipment helps to save money and can avoid unpleasant surprises by the water. The maintenance procedure is not expensive and and may not take much time at all. Fishing takes place in a rather hostile environment for the equipment, because the sand, mud, salt, sun, water and wind can damage the gear. So it’s worth to take a look at the gear after each fishing trip, to take care of it when needed. In the following post I explain some basic methods how to clean fishing reels, rods and line.

How To Clean Fishing Reels, Rods and Line?
Taking care of your fishing equipment is a part of being a decent fisherman

Reel cleaning and maintenance

If you are out fishing, protect the reel from sand, mud and salt water. When you get home, try washing the reel. You do not have to do this after every fishing trip, but occasionally certainly. There are many ways to wash the reel, for example, under hot tap water, outside with garden hose, in bucket, etc. There are even people who take the reel with them into the shower! High pressure washing is not recommended, because it can move harmful abrasive particles into the reel mechanism or just some little reel parts can go out of place. It is also not recommended to use soapy water, because if the soap gets inside the mechanism, it may start to break down the grease.

When the reel is washed, make few laps with the lever, so that water could come off the moving parts better. Then dry the roller with a clean cloth. You can then lightly spray the reel with universal grease. Make sure it does not fall on the line. After waiting for a few minutes, clean the reel with dry cloth again. If you keep the roll in a box or in a neoprene pocket, let it first dry in room temperature, because a closed space is a bad environment for drying.

Reel cleaning and maintenance
Fishing reels have many moving parts, make sure you lubricate the mechanism time to time

Many reels come with their own grease, which you can use to lubricate the mechanism from time to time. It is recommended that you read the manufacturer instructions or manual first.

Handle the roll carefully when fishing, don’t let it fall on hard ground. It is good to keep the roll in a hard box during transport – this reduces the risk of crushing it.

Rod care and maintenance

Since the rod is a rather delicate thing, it is worth to handle it carefully, especially during transport. It´s really easy to break it, therefore, it is useful and recommended to keep the rod in a hard case during transport.

After a fishing session, it is wise to wash the rod in the same way as a reel (especially metal rings when you go fishing in salt water). If you keep the rod in a bag or case, let it first dry in the room temperature.

Check the rings from time to time. If your rod has metal rings, check that they don´t have grooves in them. Grooves can cut the line. The same goes for ceramic rings, because small cracks may develop over time. Attaching the hooks to the ring can also reduce the life of the rings – it damages the surface of the ring, which can later cut the line. It is advisable to attach the hook to the ring leg for example.

Rod care and maintenance
Be sure to check the rings for any damages, because damaged ring can cut your line

Line care and maintenance

It is also worth keeping an eye on the line. After every fishing trip check the first few meters of the line if there are any signs of wear. It can occur during fishing if the line has touched, for example, some sharp stones or has been stuck somewhere. If you find any wear, cut the line shorter and re-tie it. Many fishermen cut the line shorter after each fishing session (two meters at most), to ensure a “fresh” line on the next trip.

If you are using a monofilament line, do not leave it in the sun for a long time – the monofilament is sensitive to sunlight.


Hopefully these tips will help extend the life of your gear and to ensure that your next fishing trip is smooth and hassle-free. Happy fishing!

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