Fishing is an oxymoron, in that it can calm anglers, even put them in a meditative state, and provide excitement wherever they get a good catch. Whether you fish professionally or as a hobby, in most areas you’ll need to store your fishing gear as winter rolls around and lakes freeze over.
Of course, ice fishing and fishing in the ocean are a different story, but the point is, when you need to store your gear, it’s important to do it right.
As with storing most things, you’ll need to clean your equipment, know what you can and can’t store, and set it up in storage so it won’t take damage.
Cleaning Your Fishing Gear
Let’s start with your fishing poles. You’ll need to clean the rods and reels properly so they won’t grow mold or erode while in storage.
Maintaining your fishing rods isn’t something you do just once before storing them. It’s something you need to do after every trip. First, soak a cloth in lukewarm water and vinegar, or lukewarm water with mild detergent. Wipe the rod down thoroughly. If you’ve been saltwater fishing, remove the line front he rod and reel. Rub down the rod joints and areas where parts touch with candle wax or paraffin. Loosen the drag so the line isn’t pulling on the rod and potentially warping it. Let the rod dry completely.
It’s equally important to clean your fishing reels. Wash them in hot, soapy water. This will help remove grit and kill a sufficient amount of bacteria. Let the reels dry completely. Next, with a lubricant you can get at a sporting goods store, lubricate each reel’s moving parts. For the smallest moving parts, use Vaseline. Work it through all the parts and wipe off the excess grease.
If you walk out into the water when you fish wearing waders, you’ll need to make sure they’re completely clean. At home, wash your outfit in freshwater, such as in the bathtub. Allow them to dry out completely. Stuff the boots with dry newspaper, which will help them keep their shape. Then roll the outfit part up to get it ready for storage. Do not fold it. The material can crease, and this can cause leaks.
Many anglers throw out their used lures. If this is your habit, that’s fine, but some like to keep them in excellent condition and use them again. To do this, let your lures soak in freshwater, after you’ve used them, while saltwater fishing. At home, clean them in a mixture of freshwater and vinegar. Replace corroded or otherwise damaged hooks. Let your lures dry completely. Empty your tackle box and clean it and the trays with hot water and a bit of mild detergent, or hot water and vinegar, and let it dry completely as well. Then sort your lures back in according to your preference.
Don’t store organic bait, period. It goes against self storage rules and the bait will rot, attract pests, and stink.
Storing Your Fishing Gear
Naturally, you can store your fishing gear at home. If you do, we encourage you to keep it in a room with moderated temperature and humidity so that the rods won’t dry out and possibly crack during the winter. Most basements, attics, and garages do not fall into this category, but if you have another place to store them, that’s great.
Self storage is an excellent place to store your fishing gear. Find a storage location near your favorite fishing spot to make it even easier to plan a fishing day. Get a unit with climate control.
Talk to the manager about putting up a rack for your fishing poles. They can help you get this done. If you’re storing your fishing gear and perhaps a few other items, a 5’x5’ unit will provide plenty of space. Also, storage space rents for less than residential space, so it’s more affordable than you may realize.
Once you’ve installed a rack, you can place your fishing poles on it. They store well both horizontally and vertically. Consider adding shelving for your tackle box, waders, and any other equipment, so you can keep them off the floor.
With these measures, you can keep your fishing gear in excellent condition until the next fishing season comes around.