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How To Clean Your Spinning Reel After Saltwater Fishing

by Nichole Delio 29 Aug 2022

The deep blue abyss.  A saltwater fisherman’s home.  Where Mother Nature can be gentle or her most fiercest, yet humbling man evermore, with her potent power and mysterious wonderment, that very few get to regard with their own eyes.  They say patience is a virtue, well if you are lucky enough to have the virtue of patience, the pursuit will only grow as you become imbued with the enigma that is saltwater fishing.  Its the mystery of not knowing what is at the end of your line.  Its what is elusive, but very much attainable that drives every saltwater fisherman back home to the abyss.  After all, home is where the heart is.    

There is a lot of gear on the boat for saltwater fishing. There are so many tools to help you catch fish, and just like in anything else, those tools need to be taken care of properly, so that they can perform there very best for you.  Unfortunately, saltwater is very bad for your fishing gear.  That’s why you always see a saltwater fisherman using freshwater to hose down their boat and their gear after every trip.  They are making sure that the saltwater is washed off of their boat, rods, and reels.  Its very important to remember this, otherwise, the saltwater will get into everything, and start to corrode everything.

Salt does not cause rust, but it does speed up the process.  Just drying the reel from saltwater does not protect it from corrosion.  You can’t just dry the reel with a towel and expect it to be clean.  That is why so many fishermen and Captains will use freshwater to hose down their gear.  They know they are not just drying the gear and hoping the saltwater will wash away.  

When you don’t clean a saltwater spinning reel

When you don’t clean a saltwater spinning reel, it can affect the drag system and throw the reel off.  It will create line cut offs.  It definitely wont be smooth to retrieve line and it wont be a smooth spinning of the reel.  It can cause you to lose a fish, perhaps your personal best, or fish you may have been after.  Its not a good day, when your equipment fails you.  It definitely does not make a good day out on the water.    

The damage will happen gradual and overtime.  You may not notice right away, but when you do start to notice your spinning reel or gear is not working right, then its time to jump on it and make sure your gear is clean of saltwater.  

How to clean your spinning reel after saltwater fishing

The first thing you are going to want to do, is make sure you tighten your drag.  This will prevent anything from getting inside the reel.  You don’t want dirt or more water, or salt to get inside of the mechanisms.  

The second thing you are going to want to do, is wet a towel and make sure you have soap on it.  The soap is going to help make it easier to clean the saltwater.  You want to wipe the reel down with the wet towel.  You should make sure you remove the spool to clean the spindle.  Salt can get into anything, remember that.  You could use a Q-tip to get into those tight, unreachable places.  

Now you are going to want to rinse the spinning reel.  Make sure you are extra gentle.  You are just looking to remove the soap.  

Now you are ready to dry the reel.  Use a clean towel that is dry, and wipe the spinning reel dry.  Leave it out to air dry as well.  

Next, you want to lubricate the reel.  After the reel is nice and dry, you are going to want to lubricate it, so that the reel runs smooth when you are ready to use it.  Lubricate all the moving parts of the reel.  You don’t want to put on too much oil, and make sure to remove any excess.  

Next, you can use a protective coating to protect against moisture and corrosion.  You can use WD-40 as a protective coating for your reel.  It dries quickly and it lasts long.  

Now you are ready to loosen that drag and set your spinning reel in your arsenal to slay for another day.   

How many times should you clean your saltwater reel

You want to clean your saltwater spinning reel after every single use.  The more you stay on top of it, the longer your reels will last you.  Think of it like this….Your reels are your arsenal.  They are your tools for your job.  They help you catch the fish you need or want.  Without them, fishing is useless.  You need your reels.  Take care of your reels and they will take care of you.  

In conclusion, as stated before, your reels are your arsenal.  Its as simple as that.  Clean and take care of your gear and it will help you catch fish.  Take care of your things and they will take care of you.  The cleaner the reel, the more confidence you have in how it handles, the more confidence you have, the more comfortable you are in using the gear and ultimately landing you on some good fish.  Make sure to make it a habit so that you stay on top of it.  Last but not least, have fun.  That is what it all comes down to.  Enjoy every moment you are giving to fish, and even the moments you must spend, cleaning your gear.  Never take it for granted.  Be grateful, and you will see how much you progress in the fishing world.  

Keep grinding, stay strong, always stay humble, and ALWAYS keep on fishing!

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