Should I Spray Down My Fishing Reels After a Trip?
This questions always stirs up a lot of strong opinions. I have done it and I will NOT do it again. Here's why:
I went on a bay trip with a group of guys a few years ago. When the trip was over and the boat was back at the dock, everyone gave a helping hand to clean up and offload the boat. While I was emptying some of the boat's compartments, someone decided to spray down all of the rods that were lined up against the wall. I think that most boat fishermen do this. I had a beach trip planned after this particular bay trip and I had two surf rods in the mix. I didn't realize what was happening before I could stop my friend from blasting my rods and reels with fresh water. I figured it was not big deal since it seems that everyone does it and their gear appeared to be in great condition. I left there when the bay trip was over and headed to the surf to catch a few sharks. My rods and reels worked fine and I caught plenty of fish that weekend.
I try to go fishing every 2-3 weeks throughout the year. A few weeks after the bay trip, I headed back to the surf. I got my campsite all set up, got all my fishing gear out and went fishing. After a while, I went to reel in my rod to check the bait and found that the reel was hard to turn. It felt like it was grinding the gears. Weird. That has never happened to me before. Then I tried to reel in the other rod and found the same problem. I put two and two together and realized that these were the two reels that were washed down with fresh water. The reels were completely unusable and I had to put them away for the rest of the trip.
All of my other reels worked fine and I used them for the rest of the weekend. Some of these reels had been in commission for over 10 years and I had never washed them down and never had a problem with them. The two that were washed down were useless only three weeks later. Why? Because the water mixed with the grease inside the reel and washed some of the important lubricant out of the important places. I have told this story a few times and some fishermen get defensive and tell me that I am supposed to tear down and service my reels. I do agree with them. I do complete tear downs and completely service all of my reels once a year (right before Sharkathon). I don't see the point of washing down my reels and servicing them after each use. Not only do I not have time to do that BUT why would I do that when my other reels have never been washed and work fine?
In conclusion, a year later when that annual bay trip came back around, the guys that I fished with got out their rods and found that all of the reels were locked up. Guess what they did. They went out and bought new reels. When the trip was over and we were cleaning out the boat, I made sure to put my rods away while they washed down their reels again.
A full moon at midnight on Matagorda Beach, TX