How to keep your fishing tackle in tact this winter (and all your other gear, too!)

We’re a lucky bunch.

As anglers, we’re never truly forced to give up our fishing hobby just because the weather changes. Sure - some aspects of the ritual may vary when the temps begin to fluctuate. Your clothing, equipment, type of boat, and of course location may not always be the same, but where there’s water, there’s fish, and where there’s fish, there’s us.

If you’re one of our buddies in the north who has made the switch over to your winter fishing gear, here are some tips for how to maintain your unseasonal accoutrement.

1. How to repair your fishing tackle

There are many moving parts to your tackle. Take note of each piece, and make repairs NOW; do not wait until Spring! If you have ceramic guides, make sure they’re knick-free. Cork grips, reel seats should be clean and damage-free. Ensure there are no grooves in your stainless steel guides, which will help avoid frayed lines. Make sure your waders are clean and try hanging them upside down to avoid mold while they’re in storage. Does something smell fishy? Hot soapy water or bleach will work wonders! Do not store anything which is unclean or broken. You’ll thank yourself in a few months.

2. Maintaining your fishing rods

Any number of unsavory fluids can sully up your rods. Blood (hopefully from the fish, not you!), guts, and even sunscreen can stain your grips and rod blanks. Clean them up before storing, and make sure your threads and locking rings are properly lubricated and dried as well. Use a lighter oil for anything that spins, but go after gears with some grease. Finally, it’s important to ensure that any drags aren’t too tight. Keep ‘em loose!

3. Prepare for on-the-fly repairs

Feeling crafty? Put together a few fishing repair kits that you can use when you find yourself in a pinch. For example, items like patch material and glue for snagged waders, rod repair materials with extra tip tops and guides, a spool of nylon for nets if you’re in a pinch - these are some easy and inexpensive items you can divvy up and store in advance so they’re ready when you need them.

4. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Now’s the time to thoroughly inventory your fishing tackle box. Go ahead - take it all out; every single item. For the bigger ticket items such as tools, ensure that they’re in decent condition for another year. Anything that’s overly rusted - toss or recycle. Do you have dozens of hooks? Reduce! We like to employ the 10% reduction rule - reduce any one object by 10% to keep your fishing tackle box efficient and uncluttered. Are there objects that you never even used last year, or novelty items? They’re just taking up space. After you’ve gone through piece by piece, repack your box with care, placing the objects you need most accessible on top.

5. When in doubt, ask a fishing pro for help maintaining your fishing gear

Typically, everyone’s got a little extra time on their hands during the winter months. Take advantage of down time and head to your local tackle shop or outfitter, even if it’s just to observe how they’re maintaining their equipment. You may learn something new, and depending on your willpower, you may even walk out with a new toy! After all, you’ve made room for the new as you’ve been ditching the old, and deserve a reward for all your hard work.


Now it’s time to rustle up that ice auger you properly stored last spring. Happy fishing!


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