Reel cleaning is very important after fishing the salt. You spent some good coin on that Hatch 7 or Nautilus X so let’s make sure it lasts! After everyday fishing the salt, be sure to spray down your reel with some fresh water. Once your trip is over, it is important to do a more thorough cleaning. Here we want to separate the spool from the hub and soak it in some warm water. You don’t need to soak it long, I usually just do 5 or 10 mins, but the warm water will help break down any old salt particles. I then go ahead and soak both the spool and the hub in warm water with some mild soap. Try and avoid dish soap or anything too strong, but I do like to use some soap to really make sure I remove all the salt and grit. I take a soft wash cloth and lightly scrub everything with the soapy water before rinsing it with more warm fresh water. After this, make sure you let everything completely dry before replacing the spool on the housing.
I make sure to do this last step when I am back home in the states. Fresh water in some countries such as Belize, Mexico, and the Bahamas can still have a small brackish content to it. I spray the gear down everyday with this water after fishing, but once I return home, I give all my reels one more thorough cleaning before putting everything away.
And just a reminder, don’t forget to also clean your rod, pliers, flies, and pack zippers.
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Bruce Mahony says
Fly Gear Maintenance
I haven’t had any problems with any of the lines or reels I have. They all get a wash in fresh water after every session and a full clean after a week away irrespective of whether they were used or not. 18 years of game fishing taught me how hard the saltwater environment is on gear so I’m fussy with maintenance
Once I am home every rod is thoroughly cleaned and checked. Every reel/spool goes through the following process. 20 letres of warm soapy water in a bucket with a 2kg weight complete with s’steel ring in the bottom. Set the reel up on a rod in a rod holder and thread the line through to get a good entry angle into the bucket. Pass the line through the ring on the weight and attach the line to a garden hose reel and wind all of the line and backing on to the hose reel. Hit the line on the hose reel with a strong shower jet then allow to dry in a shady spot.
While the line is drying remove the line from the fly reel spool and give the reel a thorough clean and lube where required. When the line is dry reattach it to the spool and load it on the spool.
Once the 10 or 12 lines and spools are “cleaned” clean the lines again with 303 Aerospace Protectant and dress them with Tiemco dressing.