Reel Tips
for your Rods & Reels

Below images are thumbnails

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Greasing the pawl

The first tip is concerns lubricating the worm gear.  If the part does not receive adequate grease, the pawl will fail, rendering your level wind mechanism useless.  When the pawl gets worn, it looses contact with the worm gear and your line tends to bunch up and jam the reel.

If the pawl fails when you have a fish on, quickly unscrew the retaining cap and pull the pawl quickly.  Now, the line guide will free float.  You'll have to guide the line manually, but in an emergency this will get the fish in the boat. 

I've added shims of paper under the pawl to bring it back into contact with the worm gear and get the level wind working until a new replacement pawl could be installed.  The thickness of your reel's pawl is very thin and wear out sooner, or later.  Having spare reel pawls on-hand is a good idea and will keep your reel in service. 

During storage always back off the star drag until it loose, especially during periods longer then a day or two.

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Re-dressing rod wrappings

Extending the life of your fishing rods is today's deal.  Over time the clear coat on the windings that attaches the line guides to the rod can wear off. Especially, if the rods are stored in a rocket launcher all season like mine used to be.  Clear nail polish applied over the wrap can coax a extra season, or two and save you some dough.

Be sure to inspect every line guide and I mean closely.  The glass-like material that comes in contact with the line can chip with have a razor sharp edge.  The problem with the chipped guide will only show itself when the rod is bent in a strain from a good fish and the angle of the bend in the rod exposes the sharp edge.  Q-Tips passed back & forth will expose bad rod guides with the cotton fibers sticking in bad areas.

While not frequent, I seen this happen and it's caused from the way we store our rods, or from hanging lures on the line guides which should never be done.

Hanging your lures on the top bar of the reel, not in the line guides and you' be far better off.  Simple thing like this mean several years of usage from your fishing rods.

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Filling the reel spool correctly

In the process of readying tackle to go fishing, I had to re-spool reels with fresh line.  The above featured photo shows a correctly filled to the top of the spool reel.  Countless times I've seen many of my fellow Salmon fishermen, fill reels to only what I consider a partially filled reel.  A full to the brim reel will gather more line per revolution of the reel's handle.
I look at a filled spool as an insurance policy, so when we have a trophy fish, being "spooled" in not in my vocabulary.  Just make sure there's a 1/8 inch of clearance between the line and the level wind guide. 

Reason for about 1/8" clearance is when monofilament gets wet, it will absorb water and swell.  Too little clearance means the line will jam against the line guide.  Use a bloodknot to join the line together, as about half of the old line can be left on the reel, serving as backing. 
Click to learn a knots that join line together

Line_Diameters.jpg (328476 bytes)

Not up on the many types of line used for Great Lakes fishing?  No problem, copper and lead core are a breeze to fish.  Just make sure to apply enough tension when you're letting out this self weighted line.

Regular mono is popular for downriggers.  Mono on your divers for spring often will out-produce the highly touted braid, or wire.

Line is your direct connection to the fish and change it at the first sign wear.  Be sure to store your rods and reels out of the sun, cuz UV is hard on the line.

Lines used in the above photo 45# test copper, 27# lead core, 30# seven strand stainless steel for wire divers. 50# mono for my diver leaders, 35# Spectron for braid divers.  30# mono for rigger reels and 20# mono that don't see much action aboard my boat.

Replacing Worn, or Broken Rod Tips
Click for full size image

Extending the life of your fishing tackle makes cents.  Cents that add up into dollars over time.  With 5 to 10 minutes of your time and a few backs you can fix a worn, or broken rod tip.  Most quality tackle shops carry a wide assortment of sizes to replace rod tips.  Just purchase some ferule cement that's used with a heat source and you're all set.  The above image explains the rest.  Scrap off the old cement, smear some heated glue and install the new tip.

Beware of alignment issues, if the tip is a little crooked and not straight and true the line-up
of the rod guides, apply light heat and turn as need. You can make the ferule cement cure quicker with cold water if need.  Peel off excess ferule cement while the glue is still warm with a paper towel and be careful not to burn yourself.