cork handleWhen you walk down an aisle of fishing rods at your local outdoor retailer, you’ll undoubtedly notice one of two types of rod handles: cork or foam. Both types possess exceptional qualities, which we’ve explored in the past. Today, though, we’re going to take a look at how to care and protect your rod grips over time, starting with cork models.

Over time, cork can break down from all the sweat and dirt from your hands, which will eventually leave it looking pretty bad. This is why keeping your cork handle in good shape starts the moment you purchase the rod. It’s smart to immediately seal the cork with a sealant, such as U-40 Cork Seal ($5 through Jann’s Netcraft). You can find Cork Seal online and in some stores, and it doesn’t cost a lot at all.

Apply the sealant sparingly with a brush until the cork starts to soak it up. Once it stops getting soaked up, wipe off the excess with a rag and either let it air dry or use a hair dryer. It won’t take too long for it to dry completely and afterward, the natural color comes back.

Not only will applying Cork Seal to a new rod handle will protect it from use right off the bat, but it can also help out a handle that’s seen some miles. It may not help a really beat up rod, though; sometimes you just have to face the music and replace your rod, especially if you’ve had it for a while.

While cork handles are great additions to fishing rods, due to their shock absorption and sensitivity, they’re still susceptible to wear and tear and need a little TLC now and then. Take measures to add some years to the life of your cork handles by using cork sealant and you’ll be surprised at how long they’ll last. Be sure to come back for a look at how to protect your foam rod handles!

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