5 Steps to Extend the Life of Your Fishing Rod

A quality fishing rod is a significant investment, and to protect that investment it is important to perform proper maintenance to keep it in top working order.

Fishing rods take a beating during the season. Dirt, grime, nicks and other factors can contribute to rod damage, which is why regular maintenance is important.

One of the best times for rod maintenance is the fall, when you are putting your gear away for the season. This way, it will be ready to go when spring arrives.


Fish slime, dirt and grease are among the nasty materials that build up on your rod during the course of the season. Giving your fishing rod a good cleaning at the end of the season is essential in keeping it in good condition.

The best cleaning solution is a mixture of warm water and vinegar, because it is mild, effective and removes the worry of harsh chemicals damaging your fishing rod.

Dampen a soft cloth in the solution and wipe down the entire rods. Use a toothbrush or other soft brush to remove any stubborn materials that collect in the reel seat or handle.

Check the Eyes

It is not uncommon for nicks to develop on the eyes of your fishing rod. Nicks can damage line and result in the loss of fish.

Check the eyes for damage by pushing a cotton ball through eye or rubbing a Q-tip along the surface of the eye. The soft material will snag on any nicks and allow you to discover nicks that are tough to see.

If a nick is found, use a piece of fine sandpaper to file it down. Repeat the cotton ball test and sanding, until the nick is gone.

Cork handles

During heavy use, rough patches or divots can develop on cork rod handles. Use a fine piece of sand paper to smooth any rough patches. Divots can be filled with wood glue or cork filings. When the glue is dry, gently sand it to create a smooth surface.


The rod connections can stick over time. To make your connections easy to take apart and put together, rub candle wax (paraffin) on the male end of the connection.

Loose Parts

It is also important to check your fishing rod for loose parts. It is not uncommon for the butt end of the rod to become loose over time. If it is loose, removed the cap, apply some glue and set it back in place.

Eyes seats can also become loose. Most commonly, the thread that holds them in pace can begin to unravel. If the damage is significant, it may be necessary to re-wrap the seat. If the thread is coming loose, but the eye is still firmly in place, a bit of glue can fix the problem.

Once you have performed the year-end maintenance on your fishing rod, it is important to properly store it for the winter. The preferred method of storage is to hang the rod in an upright position, to help it keep its shape.  Following these few maintenance tips will make your fishing rod last longer and have it in top working order for next season.