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Tackle Maintenance – Everything You Need To Know 

Fishing tackle is a joy to use when it works, but a failure on the beach or boat can be a frustrating hindrance. Thankfully, a little maintenance at the end of the each session will ensure your rods, reels and anything else that could otherwise deteriorate or fail over the course of time can have its lifespan preserved. 

Jansen Teakle tells you everything you need to know.

As we all know, saltwater is highly corrosive and anything made of metal or that features moving parts will gradually succumb to it. By taking better care of our kit, it will remain functional for many years to come. 


As good a place as any to start, rod’s actually have little to go wrong, but when they do it can mean the end of your session. When you return home, remove your rods from their bags. Left in them, salty residue can make rod’s sweat and over time will ruin the high build finish. You have several options when it comes to cleaning rods, but I favour a light spray of good old WD40.

If the rods are noticeably covered in mud, fish slime and scales, use a wet cloth to first wipe them down. Next, apply a light spray of WD40 to a rag and give them a good buff. If the bags are wet and smelly, make sure they are at least dry before putting the rods back in, but also consider whether a trip to the washing machine is in order.

Coasters and reel seats can also be given a spray to ensure they remain functional. Check all guides for damage by running a piece of wool around the inner edge. It shouldn’t catch, and if it does then the guide will have a fracture and need replacing. A damaged guide will wreck your line and the rod should not be used.


Again, saltwater is the enemy here. I like to give my reels a gentle swill under the tap and use an old toothbrush with a tiny dab of washing up liquid to get in under the cage and other crevices. These are prime areas for corrosion to begin but it can be avoided. If you keep your reels in cases, consider whether they could do with a wash, but above all else don’t return your clean reel to a wet salty bag.

Once you have cleaned your reel, leave it to dry and never put it back in its bag wet. Take a look at the line level and condition and if it is looking a bit tired, think about changing it. Check shock leaders for damage and ideally change them at least every other session. 


Personally I don’t re-use rigs, but many anglers do. Your first priority is to get the rig under the tap and remove any saltwater residue. Stainless swivels are extremely resilient to salt corrosion, but hooks will need inspecting if you plan to use the rig again. Check for dulled points and if in any doubt, cut the hooks off and replace with new. It’s just not worth the risk. Only if the hooks remain razor sharp and the rig body and snood line are free of any damage should you pop the rig back in your rig wallet when it has been washed and dried.


Check your lead supply if you’ve lost a few sets of gear, along with your rigs. Consider when you will next have time to fish and plan to replenish your rigs and leads before that point. 

Make sure that your cool box or bag is free of any nasty surprises that will cause a stink over the days to come and consider replenishing your frozen bait supplies. If you use a rag or a towel when you’re fishing, sneak it in to the washing machine every couple of trips before it gets your hands dirtier than when you started!

WD40 is great for most jobs and tripods and seat box back rests will both benefit from a spray on any moving parts. If you’ve used chest waders, a good spray down with a hose pipe to remove the saltwater will greatly prolong their lifespan.

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