I love fishing in the saltwater. Whether it is walking the flats looking for tails or throwing topwater plugs to Tuna offshore, the ocean fascinates me. I love the diversity and the “eat or be eaten” attitude that the fish of the sea take on. One thing I do not love about fishing the salt is how hard it is on gear. Manufactures use words like “anodized” or “stainless steel” when describing precautions for dealing with the salt and although they help, they are not enough. Anything that is used near the ocean needs a thorough cleaning after fishing.
Most people clean their rods and reels and that is a good start but there are a couple other fishing items that should be rinsed well with fresh water that are commonly forgotten. The first is your boat bag or fishing pack. Most of these bags have metal zippers as they are more durable than plastic ones. Even if the bag or pack never touches the water, there is always salt in the air that can cause those zippers to corrode if you do not properly rinse them off. Those bags are expensive! Don’t let negligence ruin all the zippers on your new boat bag.
Another commonly forgotten piece of gear that needs to be cleaned are your flies. Even if they are tied on a stainless steel hook, corrosion can (and in most cases will) occur. There are few things more frustrating than losing a large fish on the flats because your hook broke. When flies get fished in the salt and not cleaned with freshwater afterwards, the rust can not only cause the hook point to dull, but the the hook itself can weaken. This means you could be fighting that bonefish of a lifetime just to have your hook (along with your heart) break. After fishing for the day, I collect any of the flies I used and put them into one of the plastic hockey puck fly storage containers. I then run fresh water into the container and shake it aggressively. I repeat this step multiple times to ensure all the saltwater has been cleaned off before letting the flies dry.
We all want to spend more time fishing the salt. Just make sure you take the extra time to properly clean your gear so that you do not have it fail because of corrosion.
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