best way to clean saltwater fishing reels

Best Way to Clean Saltwater Fishing Reels: Five Easy Steps

Fishing reels, rods, and other gear are always going to need some type of clean up when you get off the water and head home.

Saltwater fishing, though, presents its own set of challenges because the saltwater can seriously degrade your gear.

Reels can be seriously corroded simply by skipping your cleanup after a long day at the kelp beds near Carlsbad, and you may have regrets about skipping cleanup later.

Today, we’ll walk through the best way to clean saltwater fishing reels in five easy steps to make sure that your reels are properly taken care of.

Best Way to Clean Saltwater Fishing Reels

Here are the steps you need to follow in cleaning your saltwater fishing reels properly:

Step #1: Rinse While Fishing

The first thing that you can do is to rinse your reels off with fresh water while you are out fishing.

If you’re surf fishing on the coast, it might be harder to do this unless you have running water available nearby.

Thus, what you can do is to keep a bucket of fresh water on the boat for the sole purpose of immediately removing excess salt build-up.

While rinsing a reel, you always want to make sure that you are doing so gently and holding your reel upright so that you do not push any salt or sand further into the reel’s mechanisms.

Step #2: Cut Away Used Line

In most cases, any used line should be cut away at the end of each day of fishing; otherwise, the salt may transfer to the reel and erase any work you did rinsing.

At the end of the season or if you take a long break between fishing trips, you should completely remove all the line from the reel before you clean it and put it away.

Step #3: Rinse With Fresh Water

Rinsing your reel off at the end of a day of fishing is not a complicated process, but it can take a little bit of time since you need to do so gently.

While you can use a hose to rinse your reel, you want to make sure that you do not direct the water pressure directly at the reel.

Keep the water moving very gently over the reel to prevent any damage.

If you see any spots that have built up with debris, use a toothbrush to scrub the corrosion away gently, as much as possible.

For spinning reels, make sure that you do the following:

  • Remove the skirted spool and drag knob
  • Rinse underside of spool area

If you have a lot of build-up on a reel, you can dunk it into a bucket of fresh water mixed with Jet Dry for a few moments to help loosen that salt or sand.

The reel needs to keep moving when you do this to ensure no spots crystallize.

best way to clean saltwater fishing reels

Step #4: Wipe Dry

Once you finished rinsing everything, you will want to use a soft cotton cloth to wipe everything down until things are dry.

With spinning reels, it’s best to loosen the drag system so that the washers do not become warped while the reel is in storage.

Step #5: Upkeep

Once your reels are clean and dry, you want to do some preventative maintenance, as well.

You might not need to do this every single time you clean your reels, but it is always good to check these things:

  • Have you recently oiled your reel’s gears? Within the last year? If not, look up how to take it apart and oil them carefully.
  • Wipe the reel down using a protective coating such as WD-40 or Aluma Guard to help the metal stay strong.

Some people find that oiling their spinning reel and doing disassembly of their reels is stressful, so they prefer to have their reels serviced.

You can easily choose to have your reels serviced once every year or two instead of doing it yourself.

However, there are lots of tutorials online for each specific type of reel that might help you to learn how to do it yourself.

Watch and Learn

Are you still unsure about what you need to do to keep your saltwater fishing reels clean?

Don’t worry; we’ve got a video to share as well!

Many people are visual learners, so this video might help you see what the process may look like when cleaning your reels:

Preparation Is Key

The best way to clean saltwater fishing reels with regularity is to set yourself up for success, which means that you need to have in mind before you get home that your gear needs cleaning before you put it away.

You might set out towels and other essentials ahead of time so that cleaning doesn’t feel like such a production.

Preparing for cleaning in advance will make the actual task of cleaning easier, so think of what you can do to make it easier to ensure your reels are cleaned each time you sue them.

In the long run, you’ll be delighted that you put so much attention to their maintenance!

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