If you enjoy boating and fishing, and live in a cold weather area, it may be time to start thinking about storing your rods, reels, tackle boxes and boats for the season. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation's (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign has some useful tips to help you keep your gear in prime condition this winter so that you can get off to a great start next fishing and boating season.

BoatUS ANGLER: Do It Yourself Department

10 Tips For Storing Your Fishing Equipment & Boat

Courtesy of "Take Me Fishing™"

Two anglers organizing their fishing tackle for storage

If you enjoy boating and fishing, and live in a cold weather area, it may be time to start thinking about storing your rods, reels, tackle boxes and boats for the season. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation's (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign has some useful tips to help you keep your gear in prime condition this winter so that you can get off to a great start next fishing and boating season.

"It's important to make sure you properly store your fishing and boating gear during the off season," said Take Me Fishing blogger and outdoor enthusiast, Tom Keer. "Following a few simple steps can help ensure an easier and safer boat launch next spring and provide a season's worth of successful boating and fishing."

Things like replacing your lures and cleaning your reels can go a long way in making sure your fishing gear lasts for a long time. Equally important is making sure your boat is clean, dry and tuned up while out of use in the winter. Taking simple precautions can help you avoid potential problems come spring.

Refer to the following tips when hanging up your hook and putting away your boat this winter.

Top 10 Tips for Storing your Fishing Equipment

1. Take your reels apart to clean, grease and oil.  Replace any gears or springs that are worn.  Also, clean and oil the reel handles and reel seat hardware. The lubrication of all moving parts is essential so they don't freeze up with corrosion.

2. Check your rod for worn guides and loose winding wraps. Remove and replace any guides with nicks or grooves. If the wraps are loose or exposed, repair with a few wraps of winding thread and coat with rod spar varnish.

3. When you disassemble your rods, store them using rod sleeves to keep tip and butt sections from becoming mismatched.

4. Store your rods vertically to avoid a set or bend and make sure they are kept at room temperature. Storing them in a hot place can weaken the graphite or fiberglass.

5. If you use waders, check them for leaks. Most leaks are easy to find, but pinhole leaks are challenging at best. One way to find a pinhole leak is to go into a dark place, turn on a flashlight, and put the flashlight inside your waders. Light will pop out of the pinhole.  Circle the hole with a pen and patch with a waterproof adhesive. Let dry, and hang waders in a cool, dry place.

6. Examine monofilament and braided lines for wear, replace where necessary and store in loose coils. When cleaning lines use dish detergent.

7. For fly lines, make sure to remove the line from your reel and store in loose coils. Fly lines have memory and by storing them in loose coils they are less likely to kink and tangle in the spring.

8. Replace or sharpen rusty or bent hooks.

9. Replace all broken lures, necessary tools (like pliers or hook hones) and terminal tackle.

10. Filet knives get dull with lots of use.  Use a 65-120 grit stone to sharpen the edge for next season.  Clean, dry and coat the blade with a light oil before storing for the winter.

Top 10 Tips for Storing your Boat

1. Winterize your engine by running fogging oil through the cylinders.  Change your spark plugs, water filter, and lower unit oil.

2. Trim outboards down so all water can drain.  If you remove your outboard attach it to a saw horse in the upright position (rather than laying on its side).  Tune up inboards by replacing all fluids and sparkplugs and fill with antifreeze.

3. Before filling your tank, be sure to add gas stabilizer to avoid unwanted moisture.

4. Remove your battery and store in a warm, dry place. Trickle charge in the spring.

5. Store your boat clean and ensure that the interior compartments of your boat are as dry as possible before putting its cover on for storage. If you don't have a cover, consider shrink-wrapping your boat to keep debris from collecting and animals from nesting (or chewing wires, cables and hoses).

6. If you store your boat on a trailer be sure to jack up the wheels and place a cinder block under the axles to keep a flat spot from forming on your tires.  As rubber breaks down with repeated soakings and exposure to the sun (particularly in saltwater), consider replacing your tires every four to five years regardless of tread wear.

7. Pack your trailer hubs and your steering cable with grease so hubs and cables don't freeze up.

8. Inspect all trailer lighting harnesses, brake light harnesses, and directionals to be sure your lighting system is intact. 

9. Inspect any trailer leaf springs and U-bolts and change if they are corroded.

10. Replenish your first-aid kit, update flares, replace flashlight, life jackets and handheld marine radios if necessary.  Replace sun screen and bug repellent, as well as any other items you've used during the season. 

For more information about how to properly store your fishing and boating gear in the off season, visit TakeMeFishing.org.

About RBFF
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation's aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs like the Take Me Fishing™ campaign.

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