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Do I Have To Clean My Fishing Reels After Using Them In Saltwater

by Shane Coover 10 Feb 2021

Do I have to clean my fishing reel after using it for saltwater fishing was the most searched phrase on Google for 2020. Just kidding, but now that we have your attention…

 Anytime I have ever been saltwater fishing, in any amount of salinity from brackish water to hyper saline environments, my fishing reel and fishing rod cleaning routine is the same. Cleaning is not something I take lightly when it comes to saltwater gear. In fact I am one of those persons who always reminds you to “rinse your gear off… clean and lube it with something like REM Oil.” Cleaning is super important but my way of doing it is super easy!

 Where Saltwater Corrosion Starts On Fishing Gear

saltwater corrosion on saltwater fishing reel

The corrosion problems are allowing saltwater in your reel or allowing saltwater to remain on your reel anywhere… and having that saltwater stay inside or on your reel. Regardless of “stainless steel” rating or not I use these practices to ensure my fishing tackle works on every fishing trip and is in prime operating performance.

Have you ever been saltwater fishing and seen a white film develop on your fishing gear? Maybe you have seen it on a boat or vehicle near saltwater with white residue from the saltwater. This same white salt happens to show up on fishing reels when they aren’t cleaned. It’s okay just make sure to follow along with the cleaning steps. Do them after each and every fishing trip.

 How To Clean Your Fishing Reel After Saltwater Fishing

The solution I have found to work the best and be the easiest is to use a light freshwater rinse after every fishing trip. Here’s the tricky part…if you dunk your fishing reel or get a good amount of saltwater inside your reel you are going to need to do a deep cleaning and that can involve some pretty expert level assistance. If you are a DIY type of person it’s easy to search on the internet for a helpful DIY video on how to deep clean a fishing reel. I have even brought my fishing reels into the shower to give them a good rinse after a long day of fishing and a late arrival back home. The second tip is to make sure the reel dries out 100% and no white residue returns. The final tip is to use some kind of fishing reel or gun lubricant and apply that to the exposed working areas of the reel like the worm gear and tension knob to name a couple.

Practice these three tips: rinse, dry, and lubricate and I assure you your fishing gear will last much longer when saltwater fishing. Remember you have to maintain your fishing gear. It’s a machine. Machines need routine maintenance and I believe, eventually, all will break. It’s up to us to minimize the time between failures with proper care and maintenance.

 By Shane Coovert

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