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Do You Treat Your Reel As Well As You Treat Your Gun?

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November 01, 2011

Do You Treat Your Reel As Well As You Treat Your Gun?

By John Merwin

About a month ago, I wrote about the necessity of maintaining and servicing your fishing reels. Some readers noted doing a lousy job of tackle maintenance while at the same time taking meticulous care of their firearms.

That brings up an obvious question: Why is this so? Or what’s the difference? Seems to me that if you’re going to make the effort to keep a prized rifle or shotgun in top shape, then you might lavish the same attention on a nice, quality reel--be it fly, spin or baitcasting.

Guns and reels both perform better with appropriate care. But somehow guns are often seen as treasured heirlooms while various tackle items are usually not. Historically, it’s an attitude that goes back a long way, which I learned as the former director of a flyfishing museum and often went through boxes of old, usually neglected fishing stuff.

Personally, I’m far more of an angler than a hunter. But I do own firearms and enjoy hunting occasionally. I try to do at least a half-decent job of maintaining and cleaning my rifles and shotguns once in a while. And I do the same with fishing reels, especially those I use most often.

It’s quite true that a fishing reel does not have the potential of saving my life or defending my home, as a firearm might do in some unforeseen circumstance. Maybe that’s the reason that arms--both historically and today--are so much more revered.

So I’m looking for answers, just out of curiosity. If you’re among the (seemingly) many who carefully maintain a firearm while often ignoring a fishing reel--why is that? What’s the difference?

 

Comments (18)

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from MNflyfisher wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

One big point, firearms are a lot more expensive. Im more likely to take care of $1300 then my $150 shimano

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishfinagler wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

And a guns performance is based mostly on cleanliness of the inside (barrel and action). If I am cleaning my gun on the inside, I'm gonna take another minute or so to clean the outside.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Not me, I treat both of them very well maintanance wize.. The time and money to go somewhere to hunt, or fish..I can not stand to have a reel, or a gun malfunction because of lack of care. And I sure have seen a number of gun owners, and reel owners abuse their guns and reels, and have them malfunction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I love to clean and work on my reels. I just bought a few baitcast reels at a very cheep price from a pawn shop that were non- functional. With a good cleaning last night and minor tune-up, all are now ready to fish with today. All of the reels I bought from the pawn shop had been in good working order when pawned, but had been there long enough to corrode up. They had been used in salt water before being pawned and not cleaned afterward. The pawn shop owner has promised me to let me clean and lube all the reels that he takes on pawn in the future to prevent a repeat of his loses. I do a lot of reel cleaning and tune-ups for friends that is totally uncalled for if they would just perform a little preventive maintenance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1Browning2 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I'm a believe in taking care of all of my possessions, whether its my browning gold or my shimano reel. I take pride in what i have and want to issues when i hit the field or water

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Formica wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

As others have pointed out, guns tend to be more expensive.

But I'll throw something else out. I can go online and easily and quickly use google to find dozens of articles on gun maintenance, gun repair, and step by step guides (with PHOTOS!!!!) on how to disassemble and reassemble and conduct proper maintenance on any gun I own or desire.

Try doing that for fishing tackle. Simply doesn't exist.

Heck, even this very magazine, in all its articles on the importance of maintaining fishing equipment, I can't recall a single step by step article to explain what needs to be done . . . how to take the tackle apart, what to clean, what to oil, what to look for, how to put it back together.

Perhaps its out there, but I haven't seen it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Outsider wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

This is one thing i can pride myself on...I maintenance my fishing reels often. I completely strip them down to the last bearing, degrease them completely, then oil and grease them approiately. I do it before i ever use a new reel...the stuff they send from the factory is junk...well except Quantum, because they use their "hot sauce" on their reels and i think it is wonderful. I have had some trouble servicing my diawa spinning reel, its pretty complicated to disassemble. I guess i do it becasue i like to fish more than hunt, and when and if i get the chance to tangle with a world class fish, i want to have the most fighting chance at winning the battle. Id say what i do is overkill, but i have had some of the same reels for 10+ years and they work flawlessly. I usually do it late winter and mid summer. Espically summer if i have been fishing a lot with one in particuliar...mainly my river equiptment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Michael Formica, I will be glad to walk you through all the procedures. I just need to know what reels you have. All you ever have to do is ask and the best place to ask is on the answer section of F&S. I have not seen you on there before, so if you are new, give it a try.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I am guilty of neglecting my fishing reels while taking care of my guns. It is not the cost of the item because I neglect my bows to and they are more than double most of my guns. I guest the fear of rust and pitting in and outside of the barrel keeps my ontop of my guns. If I thought I could get away with only cleaning them once a year I would. Then again maybe I'm just lazy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

spinning reels are a pain in the butt to take apart...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Frankly I'm a bit afraid to do a full maintenance job on my "prized" spinning reels. Sure I've disassembled some garage sale ones and put them back together seemingly well. But for the ones I spent some real money on I don't fully trust myself to reassemble it properly. It's not a watch, but there is quite a bit going on in there and I've pretty much adopted the policy to just leave well enough alone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mizee wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Depending on how much you fish is a question to ask as well. I fish throughout the warmer months of the year and then only hunt during the colder months. Doing this I clean my reels at least once a year and reline them as see fit. As far weapons go I would say people pay more attention due to safety concerns if neglected for too long. Not saying due to a weapon backfiring or anything, but if faced between a predatory animal such as a bear or cougar you better believe I want my weapon in top shape to take care of business. People may have a different opinion of weapons since this is my point of view coming from a military background that your life depends on the weapon you carry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

When your reels cost as much as your guns, you take just as good care of them. I know folks who have gun safes for their reels, but those guys are few and far between. Michael, youtube has lots of instructional videos for lots of models of reels for maintenance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Man Wall wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I'm with rdorman.. it's a pain. interesting article though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Is that your Savage 99 in the photo there? Any details/history you'd like to share, if so?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tackle maintenance is a great topic, I think. There are some very simple things you can do that will enhance the performance of older spinning reels, such as making sure that the line roller on the bail assembly actually rolls. We'll get more into that sort of thing over the winter.

And yes, that's my old and slightly beat-up .308 99C, which I like mostly for its aesthetics, but also because I happen to shoot left-handed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

And I know with shotguns you can OVER TREAT THEM to where they do not work...when it gets cold in particular.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bigbass09 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I admit not to taking care of my reels but than again my reels cost on average 30/40 dollars. I did purchase a refurbished Quantum EX 500 about 15 years ago from Zebco. After about 3-5 years fishing with it I decided to clean it. I begin taking it apart and found that one side would not come off, There were two screws that I knew needed to be removed but was afraid to not knowing what might pop/fall out and then not being able to put it back together, I cleaned what I could and forced grease into the drive gear not knowing that I was also getting some grease on the drag disc. Over the next 3-5 years the drag begin to slip. I finally decided to remove those screws and found that there were two springs that may fall off but not if one is careful when removing the side cover. I found the drag disc completely saturated with grease. I called Zebco up and ordered some replacement parts. When the parts came in I completely tore the reel down and cleaned it. The reel worked perfect after replacing the drag disc. The only other part I had to replace was the line pawl and that was just two months ago. I now clean all my reels on a yearly basis because now my reels average between 40/150 dollars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from MNflyfisher wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

One big point, firearms are a lot more expensive. Im more likely to take care of $1300 then my $150 shimano

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Formica wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

As others have pointed out, guns tend to be more expensive.

But I'll throw something else out. I can go online and easily and quickly use google to find dozens of articles on gun maintenance, gun repair, and step by step guides (with PHOTOS!!!!) on how to disassemble and reassemble and conduct proper maintenance on any gun I own or desire.

Try doing that for fishing tackle. Simply doesn't exist.

Heck, even this very magazine, in all its articles on the importance of maintaining fishing equipment, I can't recall a single step by step article to explain what needs to be done . . . how to take the tackle apart, what to clean, what to oil, what to look for, how to put it back together.

Perhaps its out there, but I haven't seen it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tackle maintenance is a great topic, I think. There are some very simple things you can do that will enhance the performance of older spinning reels, such as making sure that the line roller on the bail assembly actually rolls. We'll get more into that sort of thing over the winter.

And yes, that's my old and slightly beat-up .308 99C, which I like mostly for its aesthetics, but also because I happen to shoot left-handed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishfinagler wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

And a guns performance is based mostly on cleanliness of the inside (barrel and action). If I am cleaning my gun on the inside, I'm gonna take another minute or so to clean the outside.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Not me, I treat both of them very well maintanance wize.. The time and money to go somewhere to hunt, or fish..I can not stand to have a reel, or a gun malfunction because of lack of care. And I sure have seen a number of gun owners, and reel owners abuse their guns and reels, and have them malfunction.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I love to clean and work on my reels. I just bought a few baitcast reels at a very cheep price from a pawn shop that were non- functional. With a good cleaning last night and minor tune-up, all are now ready to fish with today. All of the reels I bought from the pawn shop had been in good working order when pawned, but had been there long enough to corrode up. They had been used in salt water before being pawned and not cleaned afterward. The pawn shop owner has promised me to let me clean and lube all the reels that he takes on pawn in the future to prevent a repeat of his loses. I do a lot of reel cleaning and tune-ups for friends that is totally uncalled for if they would just perform a little preventive maintenance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1Browning2 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I'm a believe in taking care of all of my possessions, whether its my browning gold or my shimano reel. I take pride in what i have and want to issues when i hit the field or water

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Outsider wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

This is one thing i can pride myself on...I maintenance my fishing reels often. I completely strip them down to the last bearing, degrease them completely, then oil and grease them approiately. I do it before i ever use a new reel...the stuff they send from the factory is junk...well except Quantum, because they use their "hot sauce" on their reels and i think it is wonderful. I have had some trouble servicing my diawa spinning reel, its pretty complicated to disassemble. I guess i do it becasue i like to fish more than hunt, and when and if i get the chance to tangle with a world class fish, i want to have the most fighting chance at winning the battle. Id say what i do is overkill, but i have had some of the same reels for 10+ years and they work flawlessly. I usually do it late winter and mid summer. Espically summer if i have been fishing a lot with one in particuliar...mainly my river equiptment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Michael Formica, I will be glad to walk you through all the procedures. I just need to know what reels you have. All you ever have to do is ask and the best place to ask is on the answer section of F&S. I have not seen you on there before, so if you are new, give it a try.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I am guilty of neglecting my fishing reels while taking care of my guns. It is not the cost of the item because I neglect my bows to and they are more than double most of my guns. I guest the fear of rust and pitting in and outside of the barrel keeps my ontop of my guns. If I thought I could get away with only cleaning them once a year I would. Then again maybe I'm just lazy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rdorman wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

spinning reels are a pain in the butt to take apart...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Frankly I'm a bit afraid to do a full maintenance job on my "prized" spinning reels. Sure I've disassembled some garage sale ones and put them back together seemingly well. But for the ones I spent some real money on I don't fully trust myself to reassemble it properly. It's not a watch, but there is quite a bit going on in there and I've pretty much adopted the policy to just leave well enough alone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mizee wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Depending on how much you fish is a question to ask as well. I fish throughout the warmer months of the year and then only hunt during the colder months. Doing this I clean my reels at least once a year and reline them as see fit. As far weapons go I would say people pay more attention due to safety concerns if neglected for too long. Not saying due to a weapon backfiring or anything, but if faced between a predatory animal such as a bear or cougar you better believe I want my weapon in top shape to take care of business. People may have a different opinion of weapons since this is my point of view coming from a military background that your life depends on the weapon you carry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

When your reels cost as much as your guns, you take just as good care of them. I know folks who have gun safes for their reels, but those guys are few and far between. Michael, youtube has lots of instructional videos for lots of models of reels for maintenance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Man Wall wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I'm with rdorman.. it's a pain. interesting article though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Is that your Savage 99 in the photo there? Any details/history you'd like to share, if so?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

And I know with shotguns you can OVER TREAT THEM to where they do not work...when it gets cold in particular.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bigbass09 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I admit not to taking care of my reels but than again my reels cost on average 30/40 dollars. I did purchase a refurbished Quantum EX 500 about 15 years ago from Zebco. After about 3-5 years fishing with it I decided to clean it. I begin taking it apart and found that one side would not come off, There were two screws that I knew needed to be removed but was afraid to not knowing what might pop/fall out and then not being able to put it back together, I cleaned what I could and forced grease into the drive gear not knowing that I was also getting some grease on the drag disc. Over the next 3-5 years the drag begin to slip. I finally decided to remove those screws and found that there were two springs that may fall off but not if one is careful when removing the side cover. I found the drag disc completely saturated with grease. I called Zebco up and ordered some replacement parts. When the parts came in I completely tore the reel down and cleaned it. The reel worked perfect after replacing the drag disc. The only other part I had to replace was the line pawl and that was just two months ago. I now clean all my reels on a yearly basis because now my reels average between 40/150 dollars.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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