No matter what kind of fishing rod you have, you need to keep it clean in order for it to function its best, and to make sure it lasts for years of good fishing. Many of the fishermen/women I’ve known don’t really follow a good regimen, which is surprising.
It is especially important to take good care of a telescoping fishing rod. Not only is it important in general, but for the telescoping action to continue working properly and smoothly, in order for the components to provide an enjoyable (meaning easy) fishing experience for years, it is especially important to maintain your telescoping fishing rod properly.
As with any fishing rod, maintaining your telescoping rod is a regular task. After use, whether in salt water or fresh water, it needs a good rinsing off. Don’t just run the hose over it. Use warm, soapy water (we recommend Sierra Dawn Biodegradable Campsuds or in a pinch some Dawn) and a cloth or sponge to remove all residue, including salt, algae, and small plants and even fish scales that stick on during a day of fishing.
This cleaning is especially important for telescoping rods because dirt and plant life tend to get stuck down in the crevices between the sections. NEVER leave your telescoping rod sitting on the ground. This is just asking for trouble. Instead, keep it in your backpack, or in its case if you have one. A nice rod holder is the best of all.
It’s also important to focus on cleaning the guides, since they get the most use and abuse of any part of your rod. If you don’t clean them regularly, dirt and grime will quickly build up in them and damage your line. Take a Q-tip with the Dawn dish soap, and scrub the inside, outside, and connections for each guide after every day of use.
Then take a loose cotton ball and push it through each of the guides. If there are any damaging burrs on the insides, they will grab and keep some of the cotton. Then you need to replace that guide, because it will break your line. Probably when you have the record-breaking fish almost, but not quite, in the boat.
Also inspect the guides for looseness. While this may not be as dangerous to your successful catch each day as the possibility of snags, it is still good to keep them firmly connected. Replace any compromised or loose guides as soon as possible.
What if My Telescoping Rod is Stuck and Won’t Collapse?
Of course, the best thing in this case is to prevent this from happening. As mentioned, keep the rod off the ground. Wipe it clean with a cloth after every use so dirt doesn’t get jammed down into the joints. And protect the joints of your telescoping rod with WD-40 or Tackle Guard. Just don’t use too much, or you will have the opposite problem of getting the joints stuck – they won’t stay clicked in place when you want to fish.
But we get busy, and it’s likely at some point your rod might get a little neglected, and a little stuck. Here are the things to try to get it unstuck.
First, pour hot water on the large side of the joint to rapidly expand it. Then try twisting and pushing the smaller joint down into it. If this doesn’t work, try the same thing again, only this time in addition to heating the larger side, put ice on the smaller joint to contract it. This should work almost every time.
If this doesn’t work, leave the joint to soak in WD-40 or Tackle Guard for an hour or two, and then gently attempt to push it down.
As a last resort, for the lower, thicker joints only, you can try standing the rod on the butt end, holding the smaller part of the stuck joint, and gently tapping the rod until the joint goes in.
If you’ve tried all these things and your telescoping fishing rod is still stuck, you are pretty much out of options. You now have a traditional rod, and can choose to keep it as such, or give it to your or a friend’s kid for practice or casual use.
Keep It Looking Good
It may not be your number one consideration for a working rod and reel set, but you might as well take pride in how they look. To this end, a couple of times a year, wipe down the entire extended rod with Pledge wipes. Clean the cork handle with a plastic scouring pad and Dawn dish soap, and use a brush to clean the threads of the reel seat at the same time. Clean the reel mounting hardware and all connections with rubbing alcohol. This will keep each part of the rod shining (well, not the cork handle) and looking good. When you’re already impressing people with your fishing ability (or maybe especially if you are NOT), impressing them with the shiny look of your equipment can only benefit your image.
Storing Your Rod Properly
In this area, a telescoping rod is actually easier than a traditional rod. Because it telescopes into itself, the pieces are protected from the bending or being stepped on that threaten traditional rods. Just close it up (after the thorough cleaning) and store in your backpack, in the case it came in or you have procured for it, or even in your glove compartment or under your car seat.
One note about this – if the weather is going to be very hot and/or humid, in the car is probably NOT the best place to store the rod. A cool garage would keep it from expanding and contracting, which can lead to cracks.
Proper care and maintenance of your telescoping fishing rod takes a little bit more work than of a traditional rod, but we believe the benefits make up for the extra bit of time and attention it takes.