Fishing can be tough on gear. Water, dirt, sand, fish, and time can wear down even the most durable fishing gear. Some fishing gear like hip waders lasts longer than others, so you probably won’t have to replace everything at once. We’ll break down the essential gear and how to know when it’s time to invest in a new piece of equipment.
Fishing rods can last a lifetime, if they’re well-made and taken care of. Rod wear and tear will depend on use. Fishing rods can break if you use the wrong rod for the type of fishing or the fish you’re targeting. Used correctly, however, a quality fishing rod shouldn’t break just like that.
Often rods become damaged, but it is usually possible to fix them. Anglers often have to replace pieces like rod guides or reel seats, but a small piece breaking does not necessarily mean you need to replace the whole fishing rod.
Reels are typically more easily broken than rods. They depend on tiny ball bearings to work, so rust or debris can significantly damage a fishing reel. If your fishing reel is rusting, having trouble reeling, or isn’t working for some reason, it may be time to replace it. Take it to a shop to be fixed first. Good reels are expensive, and if yours can be easily fixed it could save the reel.
There is no set time frame for how long reels should last, so it really depends on how well you treat them. Experienced fishermen take their reels apart for regular maintenance and oiling, so if you know how the reel works this can help it last longer.
Unlike rods and reels, fishing line does have to be replaced regularly. Frayed, worn out line can snap right when you’re about to make a great catch, so be sure to stay vigilant. Check for nicked, pinched, or fraying line.
Even if it hasn’t been through the effort of catching, fighting, or reeling in a fish, line can be damaged by UV rays. For that reason, monofilament should be replaced yearly, even if there wasn’t much wear and tear. Braided line tends to last longer, but we recommend replacing it every year to be safe, or at least every two years. Fluorocarbon should be replaced annually as well.
Artificial bait and lures tend to have a faster turnover time. This is largely due to the fact that tackle can be lost to snags or fish. There is a wide range of bait and lures out there, so most anglers have a variety in their tackle box. If you want to try out a new bass jig for example, there is no harm in adding to your tackle box.
Keep an eye on hooks: dull hooks will cost you fish. Dull hooks can be sharpened so this problem can be easily fixed. Invest in new hooks when necessary, or sharpen them when they become dull.
Other pieces of tackle like swivels, weights, or bobbers can last as long as the materials aren’t broken or rusted. Take care of your tackle, dry it before storing it, and it won’t need to be updated.
Other essential gear, like needle nose pliers, knives, or multi-tools can last a lifetime if they are taken care of and kept safe from the elements. Tools can rust, but with basic care they should last. Other items like coolers tend to last years as well, especially if they are cared for.
High quality, well crafted fishing gear can last a lifetime if it is well taken care of. Invest in high quality gear and take the time to clean it and store it safely, and you won’t have to buy too much new gear.
On the other hand, if you want to update your fishing gear, go right ahead! Each year there is new technology and exciting new products to try out. If you’re passionate about fishing and want to try out some new gear, don’t let loyalty to your old gear hold you back.