A cold winter day is the perfect time to perform a little maintenance on your outdoor gear, ensuring that it will all operate without fail throughout the rest of the year. During my time as an outdoors store owner, I saw many a spring day wasted by customers that brought their equipment in and said, "I got my rod and reel out to go fishing and it's not working. Can you help?" Every single time that this happened, the troubles could have been prevented with an off season "tune-up."
First, it should be noted that fishing reel maintenance is much easier if your equipment was properly stored between uses. After fishing, always give your rod and reel a good freshwater rinsing. Your garden hose will work just fine as long as you remember to use a light spray instead of high pressure. This helps to remove any dirt and grime that may have attached itself while in use and prevents it from finding its way into your gears or bearings. Of course, common sense tells you that this step is a must every time you've taken it into a saltwater environment.
Keeping your reels in top running condition is really not that tough. All of today's models are easily disassembled, allowing you to place a light coating of reel grease on the gears. Some models require lithium grease for the bearings while others stick with oil. If you're unsure of what to use on yours, check the manufacturer's website as most will provide the proper information.
The last major part of a reel to consider is the drag. There are various types of reel drags on the market that operate with a coating of grease, oil or completely dry. Again, you'll need to know the specifics of your reel before tackling this one. If yours requires lubrication, remember to not overdo it. Too much and you'll find that the drag will spin freely and defeat its purpose.
Very thin, high strength braided lines have become the rage in recent years. Since these have no stretch like the old monofilament lines, they are tougher on your reels. But, have you thought about what they do to your rods? In short order, these lines have the ability to literally cut grooves into the guides along your rods. Carefully inspect each one to make sure this hasn't happened. If it has, look into getting the guide replaced. If it's a cheaper rod, just go ahead and toss it. There's no point in fishing with something that will ultimately cut your line when the big fish of the day decides to make a run for it!
Your rod guides can corrode as quickly as the parts within your reel. Before storage, always spray a little lightweight oil onto them as well.
How many times have your ended your hunting season by placing your rifle or shotgun into its place of storage, not to look at it again until the next fall? Did you bother to clean it before doing so?
Unfortunately, few of us take care of our guns properly. Go ahead and get it back out to give it the TLC that it deserves as this is the time to do your most thorough cleaning of the year.
First, be sure that the gun isn't loaded! Field strip the gun and wipe off any dirt or residue on the parts. Then simply follow the steps provided with every cleaning kit on the market. This will involve the use of solvents and lubricants that will keep your firearms in perfect working order. When looking at the directions provided with a kit, it can seem a tedious task. It's not and will take no more than a few minutes to do it correctly.
Remember that a clean firearm is an accurate one. Although I only do one extensive cleaning on mine each year, I use another product to keep them in "tip top" shape during the hunting season. The Bore Snake is probably the handiest little quick cleaning tool to ever be introduced for guns. By placing a little solvent and lubricant onto the proper places, you can make several runs with it through the gun's bore after each hunting trip. This way, cleanliness is never a concern.
Whether you're attacking your fishing equipment or firearms, everything you need to do the job correctly is both inexpensive and easily found at your nearest sporting goods dealer. If you'll just do it, your gear will last longer and provide much more enjoyment over the years.