There is no denying it, if you’re eat up with fishing like we are, you spend a lot of money on your passion. Several rod and reel combos can cost a pretty penny, even if you only buy low-end options. It still all adds up fast. The way to make that money go further is by making sure your rods and reels last.
Of course cleaning the reels is a big way to keep them lasting longer. Their moving parts will eventually wear down and become looser, sometimes drag washers and other parts need to be replaced. However the most important thing is to keep them clean and well lubricated so they don’t grind pieces of grit or build up friction and breakdown the components.
With a rod, however, there aren’t many moving parts. Instead the wear and tear on rods often comes on the ride. Throwing rods in the back of a truck, running down the lake with rods banging around in rod locker tubes or on the deck crisscrossed on one another, you’re still talking about thin-walled pieces of graphite vibrating and banging together.
The thin-wall construction of modern rods means they are lighter, and new materials have made them stronger too, but they are only strong as long as they are uniform. That means a deep nick, chip or crack will make a rod more susceptible to rod breakage later. The key is to protect your investment.
I was starting to get concerned about making my rods last because I can’t afford to go buy a pile of new rods every year. And I’ve really liked having a bunch of extra rods with me for when I take two or three people on fishing trips. So I decided to carry more rods with me and keep them riding better with a few simple tips.
1. Mesh Rod Covers – I’m completely sold on the Rod Glove rod covers. They just make a great rod protector. The mesh is not only easy to get on and off a rod, but it provides a bit of cushioned bulk. They come in different colors and tags so that you can color code your rods or just use tags to quickly identify your rods in the locker.
With these you can slide three or four rods in one rod tube in a rod locker. A Ranger Z520 has 10 tubes but has room to rack about 15 rods. With Rod Gloves on them, I easily store 30 plus rods in my locker at times. The hooks, should you get them hung, come out of the rod covers easily as well. That too me is the reason the mesh design is so much better than any others. If you pay $200 for a rod, spend a few bucks more and cover it up in your garage, in your truck and in your boat.
2. Wrap Your Baits – the lead on a heavy jig or big spinnerbait or a heavy crankbait hooks can dig and chip at your rod’s finish. Think about taking a piece of lead and tapping it on your rod 1,000 times quickly. That’s the sensation of your rod riding down the lake in a rod locker with a jig on it. Because of this, we use bait wraps when storing rods for travel in our rod locker. It also keeps rods from tangling together. Several good wraps showed up on the market recently. We like the Bait Glove ones from vrxfishing.com.
3. Keep Rods Straight – That sounds simple enough. Most of us store our rods on a bass boat deck while we race from spot to spot. Keep the rods side by side and straight, not crossed over each other to avoid torque, flex and rubbing with the natural vibration of the bass boat. Also if at all possible, carpet the area where you plan to lay rods as you travel. Direct metal to graphite can be damaging.
One note, we don’t advise running with your rod sleeves on the deck. We have seen them work loose under a rod strap and shoot out behind the boat while running or trailering a boat.
You spent the money for good rods, and you want them to last. I’m always amazed at how people trash their vehicles or their boats after they spend so much on them. You can prolong equipment life with just a little care and a little extra expense to care for them.