For anglers residing in the northern states or parts of Canada, the white stuff is blanketing the ground in many places. Fishing rods are seeing very little use these days, unless it is those made specifically for the ice.
Here are a few DIY tricks for getting your rods back to store-bought shape. Ideal for those of us in winterization mode. Or for those more southern brethren that have a little spare time between catching fish in your more favourable climes.
Tackle the Grip
Your rod grip takes the most abuse when it comes to your fishing stick. Weeks of dirt, grime — and hopefully fish slime — can turn pristine handles into a mucky mess. This is especially true with cork.
A quick and easy trick is to sandpaper that sludge away. Lightly sand your cork handle and fore grip with a lower grit paper or block first. I start with 100 and end with a fine grit, such as 300. This will reveal fresh and untouched cork, revitalizing your rod back to its original splendor, while also providing the valuable grip you need for a non-slip hold. Finish the sanding job with a diluted bath of dish soap, applied with a wet sponge, and let air dry. The difference you will see — and feel — will be like night and day.
I take on this task monthly throughout the fishing season, and if I have a rod I want to sell, it always gets this treatment — and fetches me a better price.
Take on the Rest
The entire length of your rod can also become covered with grime, especially if you fish weed-choked water. Make it part of your regular maintenance to wash the length of your rod, best done with a soft, pliable sponge and warm, diluted dish soap water. Use a soft cloth to dry it off at the end.
For those that fish salt water, this practise is imperative.
Rod eyes can also build up crud over time. This is especially true with the small end eye, more so for anglers that fish heavy cover. To tackle this problem area, take a dry Q-Tip and swab the inside. This will remove most of the hardened junk. Then take a wet Q-Tip to really make it shine. Give all of them the once over.
Q-Tips are also an excellent tool for cleaning the cracks and crevices of your reel seat - once the reel is removed. Take this dry/wet approach to tackle the lodged-in dirt.
Keeping a clean rod will not only look better on the water — it will also perform better. Fishing rods are an expensive part of our angling arsenal. These simple tips will help to keep them looking young.