Original post made by Dave Demoss(Dademoss) on May 21, 2003 Weve all seen it or done it, after that long day fishing. We leave "rigged" rods in rod holders to and from the fishing grounds and back to the garage until the next trip. Many bank fishermen tote their rods around for days in the back of their pick-up truck. Then when they finally get around to it, these rods are stood up in a corner of the garage or somewhere similar to wait until the next trip. Rods won't be hurt as bad by the water and dirt, but reels will be. Salt water is very hard on reels, and even that crystal clear lake can have suspended dirt particles, bait goo, or other impurities waiting to attack your reel and possibly ruin your next outing. Always rinse your rods and reels with fresh water after every trip. A reel should be thoroughly cleaned and lubed at least once a year, and depending on use, more frequently than that. If you can't do this yourself, get a fishing buddy to help you or let a professional do it for you. It will help to give your reel a much longer life and just might prevent another excuse for the one that got away. All reels, no matter what type, need to be protected by cleaning and lightly oiling or greasing of the reel's moving parts. Take care not to over do it and check the manual if you have any questions. It is also important to lubricate the handles, roller guides and the moving parts on the outside of the reel. Whenever you clean your reel, remove it from the rod. Spray the reel with WD-40 or similar spray. Internal moving parts should be lubricated with a drop or two of light machine oil or a dab of reel lube. Use a light spray and take care not to get any on the line as it may weaken the line's breaking strength. I usually change out my fishing line while the reel is receiving it's yearly cleaning. While you have the reel off the rod, be sure and clean and lubricate the reel seat on your rod. Another helpful tip to keep your reel in good working order is to release the pressure on the drag after your day of fishing is done. Here are some steps for cleaning recommended by a major reel manufacturer: 1. With the drag system at a high setting (to prevent water intrusion) clean the entire exterior of the reel using a soft spray fresh water wash down or wipe clean with fresh water and soapy towel. Clean every nook and cranny to ensure that all salt water and dirt deposits are removed. 2. Dry the reel thoroughly with soft clean towel and place in a warm location to air dry. Once dry, back off the drag adjustment until free spool is achieved. Leaving a drag system under a heavy thrust setting for extended periods will lead to erratic drag performance. 3. The outer reel surfaces can be lightly sprayed with any top quality water displacing and corrosion preventing spray like WD-40 or Corrosion-X. (Be careful not to get spray on your line). A small paintbrush can be used to ensure that the protective spray is worked into tight corners. 4. Lightly lubricate exterior components using a top quality reel oil. Reel handles, drag knobs, bar arm pivots and rollers, click assemblies and all oil ports can be serviced at this stage. 5. Remove the fishing reel from the fishing rod periodically. Do not leave the reel locked into a reel seat in a salt encrusted environment for extended periods. Oxidation may cause discoloration or pitting of the reel foot or reel seat and make it difficult to remove the reel from the rod. 6. For the continued top performance of your reel, we recommend a full strip down, complete servicing, re-lubrication at least once every 12 months or even more often if the reel is used frequently. 7. If you are mechanically minded, you may wish to do your own maintenance. Be sure to use the parts schematic provided with your reel to identify and locate parts. This will help ensure that all components are reassembled in the correct order after servicing. When cleaning reel components, wash down with cleaning solvent in a well ventilated area to remove all grease, gunk and salt deposits. We recommend the use of cleaning solvent that totally evaporates and leaves no oily residue on components, otherwise proper lube adhesion will not take place. All ball bearings should be cleaned and allowed to dry. Apply a coating of oil, allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, then pack with grease and re-assemble the reel in the correct sequence. 8. If the reel will be stored for an extended period, give the exterior a light coating of oil applied with a brush. Make sure that the drag is backed fully off. The click mechanism can be engaged on reels featuring this system. Do not store reels in sealed plastic bags as this will cause condensation and sweating, which can bring out salt deposits still present in the line on your reel. We also recommend that you remove the line from your reel (by spooling on another empty reel) and thoroughly clean the spool unit. Coat with oil lightly for maximum corrosion protection, wipe clean, then re-install line. Tight lines and happy fishing!