Fishing Rods Care
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Today's fishing tackle has never been better: crisp, ultra light rods, super smooth reels with multiple ball-bearings, slick fly lines, braided PE lines, you name it. Great-Value-Fishing.com
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Unfortunately for the angler, this high-tech gear also comes with a price. Even though most tackle is made from high quality materials like carbon, aviation grade aluminium, stainless steel and even titanium, we practise our sport in a hostile environment: humidity, UV exposure, extreme temperatures, salt spray, mud, sand, and coral.
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The fishing action itself is often dangerous and our precious tackle gets knocked on boatdecks or jetties,
scratched on rocks or dropped in sand. Even fish push our rods and reels to extremes: a running
sailfish will make your fly reel spin at speeds up to 5000 rpm… Imagine the heat build-up in the bearings!
Inspite the quality of design and material fishing gear takes a beating every time we go out there. Does this mean we shouldn't invest in expensive tackle? Certainly not. First of all because quality tackle will always outlast cheap stuff, and second, because it simply feels good to fish with a beautifully crafted rod and reel. Over the years, having lived so many exiciting moments together, most of us get emotionally attached to our favourite tackle and our secret hope is to be able to pass it on to our kids many years from now. /n/n Luckily, there are — mostly simple — ways to keep our fishing tackle in good shape and ensure many years of fishing enjoyment. Let me share my fishing guide experience with you through this series of tips. 1) ROD CARE Note: Rod maintenance has nothing to do with rod breakage. Anglers will always find ways to break their rods, ranging from common (car doors) to plain stupid (standing on it) or what some qualify as heroic (while fighting a huge fish). Avoiding rod breakage and rod repair are other subjects which I will discuss another time. - Avoid at all times to knock the rod against hard surfaces. Small scratches and nicks may cause rod breakage. - After fishing, rinse your rod and dry it with a soft cloth before putting it back into the sheath. - Better not put a rod wet with seawater back in its sheath, as you will contaminate it with salt. If this cannot be avoided for transport reasons, wash the sheath thoroughly as soon as possible. - Never stow a rod in its tube.
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2) REEL CARE Reel manufacturers have a difficult task: we want our fly reels to be light, yet very strong and rigid. They have to look good and be saltwater resistant. The drag must be ultra smooth and yet have train-stopping power. Oh! and please, can you make them affordable as well? Reel design is all about making compromises between what is needed and what can be done… within a reasonable price: aviation grade aluminium is lightweight and fairly strong, yet corrodes very easily. Titanium would be much better, but it's also highly unaffordable. So let's stick to aluminium and in order to protect it from the elements, we can paint it (no good for saltwater use) powdercoat it (better) or anodize it. Still, many parts like screws, nuts, washers, springs etc… have to be made from other materials like stainless steel, titanium, brass, bronze or even tempered steel. The combination of different metals may also cause corrosion problems due to what is known as electrolysis. Right. So our reels are not 100% corrosion proof and what can we do about it? Just follow these simple tips: - Avoid dipping your reel in water as much as possible and certainly in saltwater. - Don't knock the reel against rocks, boat decks, hard floors etc. Small scratches and dents expose bare metal which will corrode. - On a boat always place the rod butt (and reel) on a damp cloth, so it will not slide and scratch. - Never drop the reel in sand! Sand grains are very hard and can scratch the inner housing, damage drag disks and even ball bearings. - On a moving boat, make sure the reel is not exposed to spray. The power of the spray can force sea-water deep into the reel where it will attack the ball bearings. Backing tends to be forgotten and is left on the reel without another thought. Yet it should be frequently inspected for damaged or weak spots (coral head or oyster bank encounters). When drying up, salt crystals can cake backing together. Discover this when that long-hoped-for permit makes a run for the horizon and all you can do is hope and pray… Catching large fish is often a combination of luck, local knowledge, skill and perseverence. It is ONLY possible with fishing gear in perfect condition. How many specimen fish get away because of failing tackle? Can one honestly call it bad luck? This is Google
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As a guide, I provided rods and reels to my clients and I couldn't afford to have them loose fish because of poorly maintained tackle. Once, a French angler lost a fine yellowfin tuna after battling the fish for more than one hour. We thought the tippet broke, but it appeared that he'd spit the fly. To my utter surprise, inspection of the fly revealed the 6/0 stainless steel hook had broken. I felt miserable for my client. After each day on the water, I always rinsed the flies we used and yet, the humidity trapped in the fly's feathers and bucktail fibers had caused the hook to rust unnoticed. That night, I checked all my flies and discarded almost the whole lot. Stainless steel hooks they said? Yeah, right. Today, all my off-shore flies are tube-flies So, you'd better keep a close eye on your stuff! It only takes a little effort, but you will save big bucks on tackle and lines. And when the big one strikes, you will be ready for him! Tight lines!
Alex Thomas has been a professional fisherman since leaving school at 16 years of age and then opened his first fishing tackle store when he was only 22, henows runs a successful chain of 32 retail outlets. Alex Thomas
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