I’m sure everyone gets the tackle out and sorts thru this and that and maybe gives the reels a bath before spooling new line in the spring waiting for fishing to take off but how many take time to do any rod maintenance?
I’ve already done my rod check ups and cleaning and thankfully found nothing but one loose tip top. That’s been refastened and after doing that I stripped the reels from all of my rodas and mixed up some fairly strong dawn/warm water and using a terry cloth rag washed the handles and the rods. I used q-tips in and on the rings of the guides and rod tips to get them shiny clean again. Just cleaning the rings got the water gungy. Its amazing how much crap can stick to a guide given the amount of water that passes thru them each season but the crap accumulates fast and the stuff seems impervious to the constant wet from retrieving. It just keeps getting built up.
My newer rods are designed for panfish and have the micro sized guides starting about midway thru the rod. These things get filthy in a hurry and can really slow down the line velocity on a cast if they’re all crudded up and shorten casts. I try to clean the guides every month or so when they’re being used a lot. Using a q-tip will also let you know if a ceramic insert has cracked or had a piece busted out. Bad ceramics can shorten casts too. My newest rod has polished steel rings and these seem to attract and hold dirt moreso than the ceramics so I clean them about every two trips and these tiny steel guides get noisy when they’re dirty.
If you’re starting to see your casts coming up shorter than you think they should be or maybe thinking the casts are noisy or you’re feeling a tick in the line when casting, take time to clean the rings. You’ll get better distance from casts with lighter lures when the guides are clean but you may find a cracked insert that needs to have the guide replaced before the crack cuts your line when you have the big one on.