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Rods, Reels and Line
The time is finally here. Spring has arrived and fishing is about to begin. You are ready for the season to start, but what about your equipment. If you made it to some of the sport shows or visited your local tackle shop, you most likely picked out a few lures and some other tackle that will guarantee that you catch fish. Did you remember to get some new line for your reels or replace that reel that you broke last summer? As a tournament angler, I know the value of good line. I change my line before every tournament. The brand of line is a personal preference; every manufacturer makes high quality line. The average weekend angler can get away with only changing the line at least twice a year. New line might not make a difference in everyday fishing, but when you hook into the trophy of a lifetime, you do not want your line to be the cause of a quick release. The best care of your rods and reels begins at the end of the last season. When you put your equipment away for the year, take a little extra time to make sure that everything is working well. The first thing to do is take all of your reels off your rods and strip off the line. Take your old line to a recycle box at you local tackle shop. Let us begin with your reels. You have been using them all summer and you know which ones are not performing up to their abilities. There are a few solutions for these problem reels. You can take them to your tackle shop for repairs if your tackle shop does repairs. You can send them to places like Bass Pro Shop for repairs, or you can send them back to the manufacturer for repairs. I personally send my reels back to the manufacturer, depending on whom the manufacturer is the cost is sometimes only shipping. However, there are times when the repair costs almost as much as the reel. No matter whom you get your reel to make certain that you get a price before they make any repairs. When you put up your reels for the winter back the drags all the way off for storage. Most drag systems rely on the compression of different materials to make friction. When you back off the drag for storage, you allow the materials relax back to their original shapes, thus prolonging the life of your drag. Most of the reels that you buy come with a small tube of oil for lubricating the moving parts. Place a couple of drops at all the moving part intersections, such as the bail arm pivot points, where the handle meets the body, the handle tabs, the pawl on a bait caster. You do not have to take apart your reels, and I do not suggest that you do unless you have some experience doing it. I ruined quite a few reels when I was younger. I would take the side off a reel, and this little spring would go flying by my face and I could never figure out where it was supposed to go. The last thing that I do is wipe the reel with a cloth and give a light coat of WD 40 or the equivalent. When you go to get your reels out this spring, you will be ready to load the line and go fishing. Putting line on your reels is simple. Let us start with the proper way to load a spincast reel (Zebco 33). Put the reel on the rod, thread the line through the guides and take the cap off the reel. Thread the line through the cap, push the button and wrap the line around the spool twice. Now tie two over hand knots in the line and pull it tight down to the spool. Cut off the excess line and replace the cap. Lay the spool on the ground with the label side up and while you are holding the line in front of the cap begin reeling. Stop after 10 cranks and drop your rod towards the spool of line. If the line twists into a bunch of pigtails then turn the spool of line over. The only way to check the amount of line that you have on is to take the cap off and look. Fill it up to within 1/8 inch from the edge of the spool. A baitcast reel follows much the same routine, except the spool of line stands on its edge and usually you have someone to hold it with a pen through the hole. Again drop the tip of the rod after a few cranks and check for twists. If they happen then turn the spool over. To load a spinning reel follow these steps. Place the reel on the rod, thread the line through the guides, open the bail and tie the line to the spool. The spool lies flat on the ground and you hold the line as far up the rod as you can. Do the twist test and make any changes that you need to. Load the spinning reel to within 1/8 to ? of an inch from the edge of the spool. If you put to much line on a spinning reel, you will get a birds nest come off the front of your spool when you cast.
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