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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


12/04/2017 - Time to take Care of your Equipment

Floats like the made by Mark Sarule can be made from bird quills

With the end of another coarse fishing season it’s time to take a look at our gear that has probably been in use for some 9 months under all weather conditions, I start off by cleaning all the mud and other debris from between the woven willow also don’t forget the legs. I then submerge the basket in cold water for about an hour then its allowed to dry, when this is done you will find what was once a squeaky and not so solid basket is now as firm as the day it was purchased. I now give it a couple of coatings of good quality yacht varnish making sure the first coat is perfectly dry before applying the second coat, I don’t use polyurethane varnish as it doesn’t flex like yacht varnish.Rods and ReelsAs I sit in my study looking into my reel cabinets seeing rows of nicely maintained reels, dating back to the early 50’s, I go back in time reliving a good catch or big fish taken using such a reel either in the UK or foreign climes, as I look at my Tibor Gulfstream I’m taken back to when I had many an exciting fight with big sharks caught on a fly some 40 feet from the boat some twenty miles offshore from the California coast, on one occasion we watched American Marines exercising, we even having a submarine surface from the depths of the Pacific less than 800 yards off our starboard bow. As my friends often comment it looks as if my reels have come straight from the dealer. My first job after every fishing trip is to take care of my equipment especially when it’s been used in a saltwater climate. All reels are washed down in warm soapy water, then rinsed in clean cold water, then dried with a soft cloth before being thoroughly dried off with an hair dryer for a few minutes, Other than my Tibor reels which should never be taken apart, before putting back the spool on my other reels, I give the spindle a small drop of quality reel oil, today I use The Mill Pin Oil, though in the past its been 3 in 1 oil, if it was good enough for my Mums sewing machine, its good enough for my reels. Twice a season I put on new line, though when I use lines between 2 and 4lb breaking strain, the line is changed after about 10 sessions. At the end of the season all the line is taken off the reels both fixed spool and centre pins then replaced with new line just before the season starts again.

Rods also need Special Care I have 15 cane rods, some I’ve had for many years, others are more recently required, but all are highly prized, sadly many years ago I lost a tremendous amount of rods, reels, books, guns etc in a house fire, I wasn’t around at the time but losing so much valuable equipment was a big shock to the system, thankfully I did have some gear at a girlfriends house so wasn’t without some gear, one of my most prized possessions is my cane roach pole which thankfully was at my girl friends house.Mr SheenFor some years I would wipe my rods down with linseed oil, today to its Mr Sheen silicon polish, though I have just been told its possible to buy Mr Sheen cleaning cloths, after every trip I wipe my rods down , if it’s been a wet day, the rod bags are dried out, often I will give the bags a wash in warm soapy water, then thoroughly rinsed in cold water making sure they don’t shrink. As the seasons ends all rods are checked for nicks in the varnish, all the guides are cleaned using an ear bud and tooth brush. Cork handles are washed and scrubbed using a small nail brush and washing up liquid. Rods should be stood upright in a rack with thicker end of rods at the bottom, if stored in cloth bags again thicker ends of rods should be at the top of bag with thin ends at bottom of the bag, then as you hang the bag up by its small loop everything will be in place, should you store your rods in plastic tubes make sure you drill a hole in both caps to allow air to circulate to stop condensation, again make sure thick end of joints are at the bottom.Floats and Accessories. All floats should be checked for damage, floats caps should be removed otherwise then can damage the float and paintwork, floats can often be given a new lease of life with a coat of clear varnish, small tackle boxes need to be cleaned bait boxes scrubbed out and thoroughly cleaned then stored until the new season, rod rests and bank sticks also need cleaning, my landing nets are taken off the frames and given a good wash in hot soapy water then hung out to dry. No doubt I have forgotten something, I hope what I have written jogs your memory in doing these simple but important jobs.

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Martin James Fishing
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