Although I’m cautious with my rods and always transport them in bags and tubes, of greater concern is my reels. Like most people with a penchant for the latest and greatest tackle making sure it stays in tip top shape is paramount. Although accidents happen scratching a brand new high end reel is like watching your child fall down a staircase…Horrible.
Most good quality reels will come with some kind of soft bag or cover right out of the box. Although I upgrade most of my top end reels to neoprene pouches (wetsuit material) these soft pouches can come in really handy for storing your less expensive reels. They are also machine washable which is handy.
If you’re serious about protecting your reels then soft neoprene pouches are a must. You can get them in all sizes and should be readily available from you local tackle store. To be honest if your spending anything over a couple of hundred dollars on a new reel then I would defiantly be making sure that the salesman threw one in to sweeten the deal and ensure your loyalty next time you need a new reel!
Most will have some kind of adjustment and I tend to find that they fit better if I remove the handle completely and put that into the cover separately. I’m sure that if god forbid I ever dropped one of my reels off my work bench I would feel a lot better knowing it was safely inside a neoprene pouch.
The last piece of equipment that I use is a hard case. They are very similar the cases that photographers use when transporting camera equipment. They have several layers of foam which you can use to cut out sections for your individual reels or just use them to “sandwich” the reels in between. You can find a variety of sizes at most of the larger chain hardware stores and for fewer than fifty dollars they are the best value piece of reel protection money can buy.
Carrying your reels in these kinds of reel cases makes air travel a synch and I have carried a backpack and the reel box as hand luggage as they are not much larger than a laptop bag. The ones that I use also have holes for padlocks for extra security.
Making sure that you properly was your reels after an outing, especially if it involved fishing around sand and saltwater is also essential to making sure that your reels stay in top shape. The first thing to do is make sure that the drag is tightened right up. This will ensure that no water penetrates the drag washers. Then give them a light rinse in fresh water, the use of soapy water is really up to the individual although I only use fresh water and would say if you do use soap then do so sparingly. Allow your reels to dry and then give them a quick wipe over with some Inox or WD-40 and your all set. Lastly don’t forget to back off your drag before storing them away.
Until next time happy fishing.