by Michael Bales, Head Guide at Alaska Rainbow Lodge

If you’re like me, you have a love affair with your fly rods and reels. I know that may sound strange to some, but I have a few go-to rods and reels that I absolutely love, and I want to take care of them. Think about this: after a week at the Alaska Rainbow Lodge you probably caught upwards of 150 big and hard-fighting fish. That’s a lot of stress and demands on some pretty sophisticated and expensive equipment. So here’s what I do with all my equipment at the end of each season.

  1. Inspect the fly rod carefully. We’re looking for any bent guides or stress fractures around the ferrules. If you do find one, send it back to the manufacturer for repair. Almost every great fly rod company today has excellent warranty repair and customer service. And now is the time to get that rod repaired, not a few weeks before your next visit to Alaska Rainbow Lodge.
  2. Inspect the fly lines. Take all the line off your reel and look for cuts, abrasions, nicks and cracks. If you find any, replace the line. Today’s fly lines are ultra-sophisticated technological marvels; fortunately, they are the least expensive piece of equipment on a fly rig to restore or replace.If you don’t find any damage, use a fly line cleaner and conditioner to wipe down the entire fly line. It won’t take five minutes to do this, and this cleaner and protective coating will make your fly line like new for next season.
  3. Inspect your reel and drag.Today’s reels don’t require much maintenance, but a quick and thorough inspection is always advised.I wash my reels in warm soapy water, rinse with clean water and air dry for a few days.Then I take my reels apart, inspect the drag, and carefully clean and lubricate any moving parts as needed.

    One more thing about your reels: back all the tension off your drag while in storage. This will take the pressure off your springs and prolong the life of your reels.

If you have any questions about the maintenance of your equipment, just leave a comment below this blog and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks everyone, I look forward to seeing you again at the Alaska Rainbow Lodge.