OUTDOOR CORNER: It is never too early to think about the upkeep of fishing rods and reels

Lyle Johnson
Montana Dupuy, 14, of Galvez, displays her first ever deer taken on youth hunt in Woodville, Miss. Nov 14 with her dad. The buck shot with a .243 calibar had nine points and weighed 212 pounds.

It’s just about the peak of hunting season and other than a week of delayed opportunities because of the high water, things have improved over time. The second split of duck season has vastly improved over the previous split. Very cold weather up the Mississippi Flyway pushed big flocks of ducks our way and hunters have experienced much higher numbers of ducks taken during their hunts.

The cold weather we’ve experienced has enhanced the rut, mating time, of deer herds so numbers taken are way up. It’s sad to say, but the drive for “you know what” makes those big bucks forget all they’ve learned to avoid becoming a wall mount and live another year get tossed out the window, exposing them to the keen eye of the hunters scopes and high powered rifles. The advantage goes to the hunter.

Fishing has suffered a little from the rains and high water but the sort of mild weather we have in our winters allow for fishing to take place year round. Lots of anglers hang the fishing gear up for the winter and participate in hunting. The time for the hunting seasons to end is not as far away as we think, so it’s time to think about upkeep on your fishing tackle.

Reels that have taken a back seat to a gun have been sitting around and probably need some attention. Keeping a reel clean and lubricated properly has always been a good investment in time or money. If you have the mechanical know how to it yourself, the investment of your time is well worth it. If not, there are some reputable places to get your reels well tuned. We’ll address that later.

Just a few years ago the average price of a decent baitcaster was $35 to $45 but man, things have changed. A reel might have had five or six bearings for a high end reel but today it’s not uncommon for a reel to have 10 or 12 bearings and cost $250 or more. Bearings are the most expensive part to replace and can cost $10 and up, so care is very important.

Regular use allows for dust and stuff to get inside of the reels, so taking the reel apart to give it a thorough cleaning needs to be done every year or so. This also allows for the moving parts to be inspected and be replaced before it causes you grief out on the water while fishing.

Salt water is another ball game altogether. After every trip in that corrosive atmosphere, a washing of rods and reels with some fresh water can do a world of good. Even tap water can corrode the bearings, so make sure you rinse them with a soft flow from the hose. If a hard spray is used it can force water inside the reel and eventually wreak havoc on the parts inside.

Normally through the fishing season your rods suffer some wear and tear as well. Guides can fall off while fishing and in the back of your mind the thought is, “I’ll fix it later.” Broken tips aren’t out of the question and that’s easily taken care of during this time as well. What you don’t want to happen is to start removing rods and reels to use and some of the equipment is broken and you didn’t take it to be repaired.

So just what might make me an expert? I owned and operated Lyle’s Reel Repair and became intimately acquainted with some of your reels. They were brought in all forms of disrepair and condition. It’s much easier on your pocket book and the repairman’s sanity to keep them serviced on a regular basis.

I’d like to recommend a couple of guys that have been in this business for a while. Steve Peltier, located at 12476 Camelia Road in St Amant, off Gold Place Roadd operates a reel repair service with plenty of parts on hand and the ability to get what you need in a reasonable amount of time. His phone number is 644-7919.

Ralph Bourgeois, located on Hwy 431 in St Amant, is the man to handle your rod repairs. He’s been doing this for many years and turns out a great job for a real reasonable price. 644-4413 is how you could get in touch with him.

Enjoy the rest of the hunting season but take a little time to get the fishing tackle out of where you store it and check it out before you have problems on the water. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.