How-to Maintain Your Fishing Rods & Reels | WD-40

How-to Maintain Your Fishing Rods & Reels

How-to Maintain Your Fishing Rods & Reels

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Connoisseurs of fishing on rivers, lakes, and the open sea know that the equipment used to grab their catch of the day needs care if they want to use it again tomorrow. Fishing rods and reels go through salt, soil, sand, bait residues, and operate constantly in wet conditions. Water alone can cause serious damage to your equipment without proper maintenance and attention. Read on below to learn more about cleaning and caring for rods and reels so your gear stays in top condition.


Good maintenance practices are essential – strive to develop a routine pattern of upkeep after a fishing trip as well as a deep cleaning and repair phase at the end of each season. There are also different causes of wear and requirements to address them between fresh and salt water fishing. As a rule, saltwater equipment will experience more duress and will need more attention after the fun is done. More complicated gear also requires more time and perhaps specific tools and knowledge for disassembly/reassembly, but here is a basic list of things to have on hand for maintenance:

Reel maintenance items:

Cleaning the Reel

After every fishing trip, basic maintenance requirements include cleaning the outside of the real with a damp microfiber cloth and perhaps adding a light layer of protectant and lubrication. WD-40 Multi-Use Product works well to provide routine care with a trusted and easily available product.

 After several uses (5 or more) it’s suggested to perform a cleaning of the reel and a light lubrication moving components visible after opening and/or removing the coil. WD-40 Specialist Silicone works well for lubricating these moving parts and also provides protection against rust and corrosion.

To reach the reel coil, unfasten the central screw and remove the wire coil from the reel assembly. Inspect the internal and external components and remove any particles or foreign elements with a small brush. Optionally, immerse the reel in distilled water for several hours. Rinse and dry with a clean microfiber cloth and be sure not to lubricate the friction unit. Mystery Tackle Box offers a video explanation if you wish for a visual aid to the cleaning process.

Other components

Bail and Spoon

The bail joint is heavily used during the fishing season and needs a bit of attention. The opening and closing action should be consistent and smooth, and caring for the joints with the WD-40 Multi-Use Product formula or silicone lubricant can help with regularity. Add a few drops to the line spool to lightly lubricate the inner bearing.

Reel handle

Every so often, break down the reel handle by first removing the fastener holding it to the reel. Extract the handle and again use the multi-use or silicone formula to lubricate the reel head, handle, shaft and rotation seat. Don’t miss the joint where the handle folds against the reel body.

Rod body

After finishing maintenance on the moving parts, wipe away any excess lubricant from the reel and other components. Tighten visible screws (with the appropriate screwdrivers) and administer a final coating of WD-40 Specialist Silicone. This step is especially important before long storage during the off season.


Pro Tip: Storing a handy can of WD-40 Multi-Use Product in your tacklebox along with a small cloth offers a quick and easy solution for basic maintenance of your fishing gear. It can also come in “handy” with boat motors and other marine equipment – you never know when a small item will come through in a big way.

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WD-40® Multi-Use Product

WD-40® Multi-Use Product

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WD-40 Specialist® Silicone

WD-40 Specialist® Silicone

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WD-40® Multi-Use Product

WD-40® Multi-Use Product

WD-40 Multi-Use Product protects metal from rust and corrosion, penetrates stuck parts, displaces moisture and lubricates almost anything. The WD-40 Multi-Use Product 3oz Handy Can is the perfect travel-sized problem solver.



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