Hey gang. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m sick to death of the weather pattern we’ve been stuck in lately; nice through the week and sucksverymuchbad on the weekend. By the way, I stole that term from my buddy Ken Bergmann.
It seems like we’ve been in this same pattern all winter. I’ll be sitting at my desk on Wednesday or Thursday when my crackberry starts to vibrate. I check my text messages and there’s a picture of a fat slob of a red lying on the deck of Carter’s kayak. I immediately start to drool and daydream about chasing reds in skinny water on Saturday morning or Sunday after church. Instead, Friday rolls around; I check the weather forecast for the weekend and see winds out of the East at 15 mph. I’m sick of it I tell you, just SICK OF IT!
Most saltwater fishermen rinse their rods and reels after each trip to get rid of the salt. Bad weather days are a great time to bring rods and reels into the dining room for a more complete cleaning. Helpful Hint: It’s a really good idea for your wife to have plans for several hours before you put fishing gear on the dining room table.
Even if she’s out of the house it’s a good idea to spread paper, or better yet, a plastic table cloth out on the dining room table to maintain peace in the family. Remove the reels from the rods, clean the accumulated dirt, sand, grit, and grime from the reel seat.
There are a few cleaning supplies that you should always keep on hand: An old toothbrush, Armor All cleaning wipes, or baby wipes, fine sandpaper, and Penn’s Corrosion Inhibitor.
Use cleaning cloths or baby wipes on the rods and an old toothbrush on the guide feet. Cleaning the cork requires a gentle touch. I start with soap and warm water in the kitchen sink and work the cork over with the toothbrush. As a last resort you can use 320 grit or finer sandpaper on cork rod handles to brighten them up. Be careful though, once you sand away cork, you can’t put it back.
Strip old line from your reels. Water from splashing, rinsing, or just from the line leaves deposits. Left untreated, this leads to corrosion on the spool. Use the baby wipes and tooth brush on your reel. Wash and brush all the exterior nooks and crannies.
If you’re comfortable servicing your own reels, this is the time to disassemble, clean and re-lubricate them for the season. Kayak Fishing is especially hard on reels, so don’t be too surprised if you open the side cover and find a disgusting mess like this.
A little more time with a different toothbrush, some light solvent, and several paper towels will put things back in order.
If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, then give the guys at Haddrell’s a call and let them put your reels back to like new condition.
Replace your line. This can be an expensive proposition depending on the number of reels and the type line you use. Here’s a pro tip for where you have multiple rigs spooled with Power Pro or similar braid. Strip one reel spool. Then wind the braid from another reel onto the one you just stripped.
This puts the old, faded, fuzzy braid against the spool and exposed fresh unused line on top of the new reel. This tip applies to your inshore rigs that are often spooled with over 150 yards of line, but only this first 50 yards or so gets used repeatedly. It also works for your bottom fishing rigs that are spooled with hundreds of yards of line and only the first 100 feet gets used.
Once you have the mess cleaned up inside; move outside and start to work on the kayak. You’ll need the same supplies as you would for a thorough car wash plus one, a cup of household bleach. I give the Kayak Fish SC fleet a light wash after every trip to keep the yaks from getting too disgusting.
A long string of windy weekends give me a chance to do a complete detail, so follow along. Add either dish soap or car wash detergent to your wash bucket, and then add at least 3 gallons of warm water and a cup of bleach.
I use a big sponge, a tire and wheel brush, and a red or green 3-M Scotch Brite pad for really getting the yak clean. Wet the yak down and hit the big areas with the sponge. Take your time, after all, the wind is howling and you aren’t going fishing today. After the initial rinse, you’ll probably notice some areas stained from pluff mud and fish slime, go over those a second time with the tire and wheel brush or the Scotch Brite pad.
The last thing I do is go over all the little bits that go on the yak. My Scotty rod holders and YakAttack camera mounts take a lot of abuse from pluff mud, paddle drip, and fish slime. Here’s another Pro Tip for while you wife is away; toss all of those small bits on the top rack of your dish washer and run it on pots and pans mode.
If you simply can’t stand it anymore and have to go fishing regardless of the weather, give me a call; I’ll meet you at Paradise Landing. Even when it looks like this.