Cleaning Tips for Saltwater Tackle

Even though fishing on the high sea is unbeatable, it can destroy your fishing tackle. This isn’t due to the size of the fish anglers wrestle, it’s the water. Saltwater is notorious for destroying fishing equipment, so taking the proper precautions is essential. If a fisherman uses the same cleaning techniques for saltwater trips as their normal freshwater excursions, it will be costly. Their tackle will quickly become useless, since saltwater wreaks havoc on tackle. This costs time & money, so don’t neglect your tackle’s needs.

Fortunately, a few simple steps will save you from this nightmare. When you first start saltwater fishing, it’s easy to overlook these critical details. They may seem redundant, but they will help you avoid having to constantly purchase new equipment. For good reason, every seasoned angler that takes on the ocean knows these rules. We decided to compile them into one list to help novice fishermen. These tips will save your tackle, so don’t take them for granted. They are easy to do, so there’s no excuse not to protect your equipment!

Essential Cleaning Tips for Saltwater Tackle

Cleaning Tip #1: Rinse Everything Thoroughly – This may seem incredibly obvious, but it’s shocking how many anglers overlook this. Every time your tackle touches the ocean, it needs to be rinsed out with distilled water. This will remove dirt, salt & debris from the equipment.

All the aforementioned elements are notorious for destroying tackle, so they need to be removed at all costs. Having a few jugs of drinkable water will do the trick for removing any unwanted grime. As a rule of thumb, every angler on the boat should have at least one jug set aside for cleanup. A freshwater hose is also ideal, but it’s not always available on long trips.

When rinsing out the reel, it should be handled with extreme caution. It should never be sprayed or submerged in water, since this can be disastrous. The sheer force of blasting a reel with water pushes salt & sand into the mechanisms that spin the wheel. This causes more damage than not cleaning it at all, so avoid committing this error. Submerging the reel can also be detrimental, since it can trap water in areas that are tough to dry. For this reason, the best way to clean a reel is to rinse it out gently.

After the reel is clean, remove the spool & rinse it too. From there you can dry the reel with a clean rag. Don’t focus exclusively on the reel, the entire rod needs cleaning. Make sure to rinse the guides & seat!

Cleaning Tip #2: Lubricate Everything – Once your reel is rinsed & dry, it’s time to lightly lubricate it. This includes all parts of the reel, with special attention placed on the gears. To get in deep, open & close the drag. Then crank the handle to evenly distribute the lube throughout the mechanisms.

The rest of the rod shouldn’t be neglected. After the reel has been sufficiently lubricated, it’s time to focus on the remaining parts. Spray lubricant on a cloth & rub down the entire rod. No part should be missed, so pay special attention to metal portions & the reel seat. This will protect your tackle from corrosion, so don’t overlook this crucial step!

Cleaning Tip #3: Storage is Key – All these cleaning tips are completely worthless if you don’t store your tackle properly. Leaving equipment out on the gunwale or the deck is an invitation for disaster. It exposes the tackle to saltwater, which instantly undoes anything accomplished by rinsing & lubricating. To avoid this pitfall, store your tackle in a safe, dry place. This will keep your tackle in prime condition for years to come!