Care Of Rod Guides And Fishing Line

Taking the time care for your rod guides and fishing line will save you money and ensure each fishing trip is hassle-free.

Protecting Your Fishing Line

Considering the expectations of monofilament fishing line, and the abuse it's subject to, it is amazing what this "thin" material will do. But, to get the most out of any monofilament, we must protect it from certain negative elements.

Listed below are a few "mono checks" that, when followed properly, will put more fish on the table. We will start with the reel and work towards the hook.

Putting Monofilament Line On Your Fishing Reel

Most tackle stores are happy to spool up your reel, particularly those who have a line winding machine. If you have the time, and they have the quality line you want, let them do it.

When you're spooling up a bait casting reel, or any conventional reel, put a rod, or even a pencil, through the center of the line spool. Tie the line to the reel with a (Uni-knot or Arbor knot) clipping off the tag end. Snug the knot to the reel spool. One person should reel while another holds both ends of the rod, applying pressure as the line is reeled onto the spool. Fill to about an 1/8 inch from the spool's outer rim. Keep the line away from anything that could cause abrasion.

Use the same procedure with a spinning reel, but reel line so that it comes off the end of the spool. After 15 or 20 turns, if a twist occurs, turn the spool over and continue to fill the reel.

Monofilament will twist. If it happens while fishing from a boat, play the line out with nothing on the end, trolling behind the boat for about five minutes. It is also important to always use a ball-bearing swivel, which will reduce or eliminate line twist. Certain lures or bait tied directly to the line will invite twist. To compensate for this, try lighter line. Just for your own education and enjoyment, go down in line test. You will be surprised that you can catch big fish on line much lighter than you are presently using. It may take more patience and even a little more skill, but you will enjoy it. If fish stop biting, go to a lighter test. The thinner line may get them eating again. The thinner the line, the less likely a fish sees it.

Thumbnail photo of a fishing rodPhoto: Florida Sportsman

Care Of Fishing Rod Guides

The guides on your rods must be checked and kept free of any abrasive areas. Pull a strip of pantyhose through the rod guides to check for snags, or a cotton tipped swab.  Saltwater will wreak havoc with roller guides. Inspect them before and after each trip. When trolling, make sure the line is not wrapped around a guide.

Care Of Fishing Line

Always check the line for nicks or frazzles or areas of abrasion that will cause a weakness. After every fishing trip, or after playing out a nice fish, cut off approximately ten feet of line and retie, if you have reason to believe it may have been frayed. This is very important.

When fighting a decent fish, in fresh or saltwater, three things can happen: (1) the fish goes deep, pulling the line across rocks, logs or other hard objects, (2) the fish is big and the line will rub across its body or tail, and (3) other things, such as the boat, a jetty, surface objects or dock, or even other fish in the area, may bump into your line. All three factors will cause abrasion, eventually prompting the line to break. The easiest solution is to cut off the weak line and re-tie.

Quality monofilament that has not come in contact with the above items does not need to be totally replaced. (We have had saltwater charter boat captains catch over 20 Blue Marlin without re-spooling new Ande monofilament.) So, if you check your reel's drag system, your rod guides and cut away line that may be damaged, we guarantee you will catch more fish. Take the time ... it is worth it.

Other Fishing Tackle Tips

  • Monofilament can be damaged by excess exposure to direct sunlight. Keep your equipment in a dry, shaded area. Fishing on a hot summer day is fine. Keeping your rods in a hot car trunk, or exposed to direct sunlight in the back seat, is not recommended.
  • Always use a well balanced outfit. This means the rod, reel, line and lure should be made for each other. Do not load a light outfit with a heavy line. Conversely, do not throw a huge lure with a light outfit.
  • More rods are broken in car doors, house doors or through poor storage. Do not let rod tips bang all over your boat.
  • Always rinse rods with freshwater. Periodically remove reels and lubricate reel seats with CRC-6-56.
  • Remember, proper maintenance, balance, storage and handling are imperative in taking care of the equipment that takes care of you.
  • Store all bulk line in a cool, dark place. Direct sunlight will damage monofilament over a period of time.