The reels we use for fishing offshore cost a lot – they represent a significant investment. And offshore gear takes a much tougher beating than inshore tackle, much less that used in freshwater. So naturally, we want to take good care of those offshore reels. We’re going to stipulate right up front that most everyone already knows to give them a thorough freshwater shower after each and every use in the brine. But good reel care doesn’t stop there.
Before you wash off your reels, be sure to advance the drags. This way water is less likely to intrude. Still, be careful about blasting them with a pressurized stream of water and instead, gently rinse them off. Wait a sec – rinsing isn’t good enough. To make sure you eliminate all salt deposits, you should have a soapy rag or wash-mitt and make sure you run it across each and every inch of the reel. Give the reel one more rise to eliminate the soap, and finally, shake the reel off, wipe it down with a dry rag or shammy, and leave it in the sun or put it in an air-conditioned environment where any remaining moisture will quickly dry off.
Before you pack your reel away until the next trip, go back to that drag and loosen it all the way up. This will release all the pressure on the drag washers and prevent any dimples or indents from forming. Then make sure you put the reel in a place that’s not exposed to direct sunlight. UV rays damage monofilament line (including Fluorocarbon leaders) and if it sits in the sunlight, that 40 pound test will soon start breaking at 30 pounds of pressure.
On a regular basis, lube the reel as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then go one better – spray down a rag with CorrosionX, Boeshield T-9, or another good corrosion-inhibitor, and then wipe it on all the reel’s surfaces. (Don’t spray directly on the reel or it can accumulate in nooks and crannies, and then attract dust and grime; in the long run that can do more harm than good).
The good news? Quality offshore reels are built to take on hard duty in the first place. Care for them properly, and many models will last a lifetime.