Fish Focus: Sammy’s Top Tips For Gear Maintenance

If you were to ask a sample of fishers what their favourite thing to do other than actually hitting the water and going fishing, there is little doubting that the majority of answers would be centred around sitting in the garage tinkering with their tackle.

Where it be admiring your new purchase, getting ready for an upcoming session, or tweaking lures and rigs to increase your chances of that prized fish – tackle maintenance is one of those things that is simply part and parcel of the trade.

If fishing were to have a downside (which let’s be honest it doesn’t) it would be that the gear and equipment needed can at times be both temporary and expensive.

Whilst buying new gear can be part of the fun, it’s a smart move to know what you can do to get the most out of your tackle.

More importantly, it is essential that as fishers we are not contributing to the amount of rubbish that enters our oceans, and this starts with maximising the usage we get out of our tackle. If you can recycle a used rig, avoid losing line in the water to reel failure, or spend less time in the garage and more time on the water, than its a win-win for both us and the environment.

This week, as part of our Fish Focus Series, we sat down with OzFish Ambassador and gun angler Sammy Hitzke to chat about how he goes about tackle maintenance. We asked for his top five tips for making sure that your prized fishing tackle last’s the test of time!

A lot of the time gear maintenance can start while you’re actually out fishing. I like to take a plastic container full of fresh water and ‘Salt-Away” out with me to rinse my lures on the go. This means I can put them back in their designated tackle tray without corroding all the other lures in the box. It also helps to prevent the big tangled mess of lures you usually end up with if you take lures off and just chuck them in a bucket to sort out later.

Same applies to your reels. Some of the best tackle maintenance can come from prevention rather than a fix. I like to take a few reel covers with me when I’m fishing out of the boat. If the weather starts to get a bit nasty and I’m copping a lot of salt spray while I’m travelling I’ll chuck the covers on the reels that are copping the brunt of the spray. The reel cover won’t stop them getting wet, but it will stop the salt water hitting your reel with force and working its way into the reel.

When I get home from a trip I like to wipe my reels over with a damp microfibre cloth to get rid of the majority of the salt and gunk that has gotten on the reel over the course of the session. After that I flush the reel under a tap (remember volume beats pressure here), wipe them down with a dry rag, shake the water out of the drag and then give the roller bearing, bail arm and handle a little spot of reel oil.

One thing I see a lot of people neglect is rod maintenance. Make sure you give your rod a good rinse with the hose to get any salt off the guides and reel seats. Then give the grips a quick scrub with some soap to get rid of any slime or scent from the day. We do this because vermin like mice, rats and cockroaches love eating fishy grips for some reason and will happily make a meal out of your pride and joy.

When it comes to rigs, I like to give mine a rinse with fresh water after I have used them, then I hang them off a peg in the shed. This stops them from getting into a tangled mess and ultimately thrown out. Also it means that next time I’m heading out for a fish, I’ve already got a rig made up and ready to go!