rinsing salt


New Member
In the past I have just used water to rinse reels, rods, etc. Since than I have had a reel rust and it is not just surface any more. What do you all use? Soap? I am going to purchase a reel, nope I cant afford a sealed reel, so I will be cleaning it. I just don't want this to be a contiunous cycle of buying new reels.
Thanks in advance!

Willie Bodger

Still, nothing clever to say...
For the reels I was told to take it apart and rinse it then soak it in mild soapy water for 30 minutes and then rinse again. Then let it dry completely before putting back together.

I know there are some less expensive anodized aluminum reels out there and if you can swing it you would save yourself some money by getting a good reel now rather than three lower quality reels over the long run. I also know many folks have used standard fly reels for years in the salt w/o problems with proper rinsing.

Good question! I've soaked my reel in water with a little baking soda. Now I don't know if this really works but to me it makes sense. I know baking soda is used to soften hard water (water with substantially higher levels of minerals). I believe this doesn't provide any corrosion protection (I could be wrong). So after rinsing the reel I've applied a drop or two of olive oil to the reel. This may have helped in providing corrosion protection but after a while it created a greasy film that I am not thrilled about. At the end I ended up cleaning the film with WD-40 and wiping it off as best as I could.

I would love to hear what other people do to protect their gear from salt water use.
Get yourself some old Pflueger Medalists for the salt and a little freshwater rinse is fine. In fact fish them in freshwater as well and never have to worry about your reel again.


Matt Burke

Active Member
I try not to use reels that I can't replace for 100 bucks. I try to use the rod and reel in the river within a day or two even it's just taking a few cast to really clean the line. Everything goes in the shower either way after being on the salt. Clean with WD 40 when I think about it and re-grease the spool. If I fished the salt more often then corrosion might be a problem for me too, but it hasn't been. None of my rods and reels or lines are rated for the salt.
I have yet to fish in the salt, mainly because I always believed corosion is a big deal, and have been waiting for the extra cash to purchase a good saltwater reel. I would love to start fishing for cuts in the salt, and after reeding what Matt and Randy said about fishing in freshwater for a good rinse, I'm rethinking my previous beliefs. Perhaps I'll have to purhase my saltwater license this weekend!


Banned or Parked
I've never done anything more than a thorough freshwater rinse. The key here is to be thorough, as in more than a quick 2-second blast with the hose. Rinse your rods and wipe them down too or else you risk the guides rusting out on you.

If you insist on soaking your reels, make sure you rinse them really well first or else the soaking will allow salt to get into parts of the reel where it can do harm. Personally, I don't think it's necessary. I have yet to meet a saltwater charter captain who soaks his equipment.

Keep the working parts lubed with a good synthetic lubricant. Natural oils like the olive oil mentioned above will break down quickly and leave a sticky mess. Save the olive oil for salad dressing.
I use cheap freshwater reels in the salt & haven't had a problem. As soon as I get home, I throw my rod and reel in a bathtub full of water and let it soak for a few hours, sometimes overnight if I'm feeling lazy after a hard-days fishing. I wouldn't soak your rod overnight though, especially if it's cheap. After a few overnighter's in the tub, the finish on my rod started showing some bubbles underneath. Nothing major, but enough for me to keep my rod soaking time to an hour or two. My reels show no sign of corrosion.

Now, if I could just remember to rinse my flies too!! I do have quite a few corroded flies.
I've never had a problem. Rinse every thing well, pull the reel apart, soak (with line on), change soaking water several times, dry and lube. Any flies that were used are kept separate (not back in the box) rinsed and soaked with the reel.

Thank you to everyone who has responded! I am sure I am not the only one with this problem, I hope not at least! I will try some of the solutions.
Thanks again!

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Thorough fresh water rinse under a running faucet for a few minutes. Then wipe dry and let stand a night, lube contact metals with "Superlube" grease, a high presure synthetic lubricant that most reel makers use, it's a good cork drag grease too.