We are in the middle of winter in northern Michigan and fishing out of the boat on Lake Michigan will have to wait for Spring. However, preparing for the first trips of the year start now. One of the projects I take on every year is reel maintenance. When fishing for the powerful King Salmon, high jumping Steelhead or the lunker Lake Trout the reel and how it functions is an integral piece of gear that will allow that fish of a lifetime to be landed.
I start off by cleaning the dirt and grime, removing the line, and assessing the condition of the reel. I inspect to make sure all screws, nuts, bolts, and parts are present. At this point I start to make a list of parts that need to be purchased to repair and restore all the reels. I then make sure that the level wind feature is working. This is such an important function of the reel. It makes sure the line winds and unwinds on the spool evenly. If this wasn’t working correctly the spool would not be able to load the capacity of line needed to fish. If not working correctly the line may clog up and if you had on that lunker Laker, you might not be able to get it to the boat. I then make sure all the drag systems are working properly. The drag system of the reel is clutch that allows a certain amount of force or pressure to be set. This is important because I use the lowest or smallest test line possible but still allowing us to land these exciting sportfish without them breaking the fishing line. The drag system allows the fish to pull out line when they put more force on the line that is greater than the set drag yet lighter than the breaking point of the line. The drag maintenance requires an inspection of the internal engineering of the reel. There is typically a series of drag and steel washers that are compressed by star gear or drag set. If these washers are properly greased the drag system of the reels should work properly. The next most important component of the is the clicker. When fishing we see the strike of the fish as indicated by the action they impose on the rod. We also, hear the fish bite when they pull-out line. This is because most rods have a “clicker” function. The clicker function is an audible alert that the fish has taken the bait and is pulling out the line. When the clicker pawl has worn out, they must be replaced to restore the loud and clear “clicker’ audible alert.
I have completed all my reel maintenance. There are many more items included in Winter maintenance. I will share more on the work that is done in the Winter to prepare the gear so your trip on the water this Spring and Summer will be successful. That’s all for now. Get outside and enjoy winter and be healthy.