Line Spooling

I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to dumping my fishing gear in the shop or basement at the end of the season, then letting it fester until spring. So, the following will hopefully serve to motivate me, as well as you, to tackle those important end-of-season chores.

1 Removing Old Fishing Line:

Fall is the time to strip the old line off your fishing reels. The salt that accumulates in the line over the season can corrode the reel spool, so it’s best to get rid of it, clean the spool and coat it with a metal protectant such as Rupp Alumaguard or Corrosion Block. If the spool is badly corroded, or rough around the lip, replace it.

By the way, we recommend changing your line at least twice during the season, more if you do a lot of fishing or after several fights with big fish, which can stretch and weaken the line. To make this chore faster and easier, consider buying an electric line-spooling station, like those made by Triangle Manufacturing.

The portable Cyclone winder ($275) will handle most sizes of spinning reels and smaller baitcasting reels, while the larger pro-grade Osprey ($800) and HD140 ($2,000) will handle large reels up to big-game 130s.


  • Berkley also makes a couple of portable line-spooling machines, including an inexpensive manual Portable Spooling Station ($29).
  • For info on the Cyclone line-winding station and other products from Triangle Manufacturing, contact: (201-825-1212)
  • For our article and video on Line Spooling CLICK HERE.


2 Rod Inspection:

At the end of the season, inspect your rods for damage, especially the guides. Cracked ceramic guides can spell disaster by cutting or chafing the line (believe me, I know from experience). Check the guides by passing a cotton ball through each one. The cotton will snag on any cracks or rough spots, revealing a problem. While you’re at it, check to make sure the tiptop is securely seated. If it’s loose, glue it.

Cleaning Roller Guides:

In the following video, Capt. Terry Nugent shows how to clean and inspect the roller guides on big-game rods. This should be done at least once a season, to make sure all the rollers are functioning properly and to prevent corrosion.

While cleaning the rollers can be a bit time-consuming, it’s not complicated. All you need is a small screwdriver, a pipe cleaner, some degreaser, some light oil and a few paper towels. Once you get the hang of it, it should take 15 to 20 minutes to clean reinstall all of the rollers on a typical stand-up rod. That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind on the trolling grounds.

3 Reel Cleaning:

If you’re a handy person, you may be able to clean and lubricate your reels at home. However, in my opinion, it’s money well spent to send them out for professional cleaning. Do it now, however, or you’re likely to forget about it until the spring, when many reel-repair shops are busiest and may take longer to return your reels. And you don’t want to be waiting for your reels to arrive when word of a hot spring bite reaches your ears.

4 Lure & Hook Inspection:

Might as well replace all those rusty or corroded hooks now rather than wait until spring. Get yourself a good set of split-ring pliers, some boxes of nice new hooks and have at it! Here’s a short video on replacing—and upgrading—plug hooks, with Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters:

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