Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to Keep Busy in the Off Season: Part 2 Rod Storage

In part 1 of this mini series we took the time to cover organizing your inventory or "arsenal" and planning for the daunting task of ordering and re-ordering your gear for the new season. Part 2 we focus on  the proper way to clean, maintain and store your Rods during the off season. Like a good bottle of wine your rods will age better if treated properly, so here are a few tips to keep your gear in peak condition

1) Strip'er Down

First things first, when your season is officially over and you know you have no chance of hitting the water before spring, it is time to strip down your rods and reels. I personally believe in storing my rods and reels separately which means the first part of my process is to remove all reels from the paired rod. Once the reel seat has been loosened I don't fully tighten it back down, just one or two twists to stop it from sliding but not actually putting any undo pressure on the reel seat.

Once reels are off, I like to give my rods a once over, inspect all the eyelets/guides looking for any damage that may have occurred. Sometimes using your eyes is not enough, run your finger around the guide looking for anywhere it may catch or rub. If you feel something abrasive there is a good chance that your line will also rub on it when fishing (not only effecting your casting but also the lines durability).

Tip: If you have large fingers and have a hard time with this process then try using a soft material like wool or cotton Q-tips and run it through the guides and look for any pulls or catches

2) Clean'er Up

Once you have inspected the rods, it is always nice to give them a loving sponge bath.. seriously. Just some hot water and soap (not boiling, but hot) and give the rod a once over to remove any of the grime left over from the past season. once wiped down and dry it is time to store them.

Tip: If you are a superstitious angler and had an amazing season I will forgive you if your bypass this step, but if you had a brutal run (like I did) your want to clean the stink off your rods whenever possible

3) Properly Store

Rods should be stored in a rod rack (whenever possible), horizontal or vertical it does not overly matter, but the main thing you need to avoid is leaning your rods for an extended periods of time as it can effect the action by imparting a slight bend in the blank. I understand that Rod Racks are not always feasible in every space, so make due with the room you have. I also try to avoid storing my rods in areas that see extreme temperature changes or possible exposure to animals.. the roof of a garage for example.  I have seen one too many chewed corked handles to think that is a good idea

Tip: If you are a Rod Glove user during the season, then why not store your rods in them as well? it lessens the chance your rods will be banged around causing chips or damage to the tip, guides and/or blanks

(Image courtesy of Dobyns Team Member: JJ Patton)

4) Asses Your Arsenal

It is always a good idea to take time at the end of each season to asses your current line-up or rods and reels, as your skill set changes so will your rod requirements... some rods that worked for you two years ago may spend most of the season on the rod rack nowadays. If the rod is no longer getting use you have three choices, you can donate or pass it along to a friend or a teach a kid to fish program, your can continue to store it as part of your collection, or you can sell it off, and use that money to help pay for a rod that will actually get used. I know in some circles this is blasphemous, but personally I believe in selling or trading rods that get no use. I know their value and refuse to sell them cheap, but if it means a shiny new rod in the boat I will part with a rod that is no longer part of my game... think about it

Stay tuned for part 3: Reel storage and maintenance

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