reel lubeI’ve probably said this once or twice before, but everyone makes mistakes; that’s why there are erasers on pencils. Fishing is no exception to this truth and, sooner or later, we all commit our fair share of blunders on the water. One such blunder is dropping your rod and reel in the water. On open, deep water, this often means you’ll be shopping for a new combo the next day, but sometimes anglers are fortunate enough to retrieve their setup. This doesn’t mean they’re out of the water yet, though. What are your next steps when this happens? Today, we’ll take a look.

Fishing rods won’t really be damaged by falling in a lake. In fact, many deep water anglers plunge them straight down, tip first, when fishing deep crankbaits or plastics to get a little extra depth out of their lures. If you’re finding that you have trouble keeping a good grip on your rod handle, though, you might want to add grip tape. Reels, however, are a different story, and the basics of taking care of a reel that’s dropped in the lake begin with a simple clean water rinse. For a baitcast reel, remove the side plate to expose the inner workings. This will flush out any lake or saltwater.

Next, you want to make sure it dries completely. You can wipe hard to reach areas with a cotton swab, air dry, or even use WD-40 to displace any remaining water.

After the water has been removed and the reel has dried sufficiently, it’s time to oil and lube the reel’s parts. The water will have most likely rinsed away any lubricant present, so you’ll need to make sure to add a good amount of oil and grease to the gears and other parts.

Cleaning and lubricating your reel when it falls in the lake is a must, but it’s also smart to do this as a means of regular maintenance once or twice a year. You can usually pick up reel cleaning kits anywhere tackle is sold, which contain all the necessary tools and products needed to do the job. If you’re not a reel expert, though, you can take your reel to an outdoor retailer or tackle shop to have it cleaned professionally, or even send it away to have it done, as well. There are also dozens and dozens of how-to videos available online to guide you through the process, step-by-step.

Never simply throw out a reel just because you dropped it in the water. While they’re not meant to be submerged for lengths of time, reels are made of quality, durable components and are designed to take a licking. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something if it goes for an unexpected swim, though. Hopefully, today’s tips will help you remedy such a situation if it ever befalls you while you’re on the water.