Fishing can be one messy hobby!  Between the blood, guts, and fish oils the mess can get quite intense.  All of the mess that goes along with fishing gets all over everything from your fishing gear (rods, lures, reels, boat) to you!  If left, all of that slimy stuff will turn rotten and create quite a stink and potentially corrode or ruin your expensive fishing gear.  So it is absolutely imperative to thoroughly clean your fishing gear each time you use it before you put it away.

Unfortunately, there’s no one cleaning method that you can use to clean everything.  Don’t worry though, you can attack it one piece at a time.  Below are some suggestions to de-stink and clean your fishing gear.

Cleaning Fishing Gear: Supplies Needed

  • How to Clean Fishing GearLemon Scented Furniture Polish
  • Soft Bristled Brush
  • Scrub Brush
  • Lemon Scented Soap
  • Bucket
  • Water (no chlorine)
  • Clean Cloth
  • Dry Towel
  • WD-40
  • Powder Green Cleaner (like OxiClean Versatile Powder)

Fishing Gear: Lures

Many fish, such as Salmon, are very sensitive to scent and that’s why fishermen add it to baits and lures.  However, those smells that attract fish will also repel them if left on your lures so, as soon as you’re finished using the lure make sure you wash it.

Lures are pretty simple to clean.  First, throw them in a bucket of soapy water and let the grime loosen up.  Secondly, after soaking throughout the day, gently scrub off any remaining residue on your fishing gear with a light brush.  Third, rinse with river water and pat them down.  Finally allow your lures to dry completely before putting them away.  The fish definitely won’t like the rust that builds up if you forget!

Since those fish have such powerful noses, don’t use just any soap to clean your fishing gear. Lemon dish soap is the way to go.  Fish really seem to like the smell of lemon for some odd reason.  Avoid using tap water as it often contains chlorine.

Fishing Gear: Rods & Reels

Fishing gear really takes a beating during fishing season, especially salt water fishing.  Rods and reels end up with a liberal coating of slime at the end of each day. If you forget to wipe everything down this slime will eventually dry, harden, and turn into a thick crust. That nasty crust is very tough to clean.  It is best if you wipe everything down and never let it form.  Sometimes you forget, and luckily there is a little trick to remove it.

Furniture polish (such as lemon pledge) works like magic.  It is hard to believe that a furnish polish would clean crusty fishing gear, but it works on that caked on goo.  Spray the furniture polish all over the dried crust and let it foam and soak in for at least five minutes.  Wipe off with a dry towel and like magic, your rods and reels are like new again.

Besides that, if you want to go the extra mile for your reels, spray a little WD-40 on a clean cloth and wipe them down.  They will turn out nice and sparkly!

How-to-Clean-Fishing-Gear-1Cleaning the Boat

After a long day out on the water, your boat is going to be thoroughly disgusting.  The deck is probably coated in fish guts, blood, and an unknown assortment of other fishy things.

Therefore, you definitely need to clean the boat! There are a variety of products available for cleaning boat interiors, but using a green cleaner, like OxyClean Versatile Powder, is a good choice.  A green cleaner won’t leave your boat smelling of strong chemicals which could transfer to the bait or lure.  The fish will certainly appreciate the green cleaner as they are all natural and safe.

Just pour one scoop into a bucket with warm water.  Scrub all of the floors and seats with a plastic brush.  Let it sit for a while and then come back in with a hose for a quick rinse.

What about You?

Now that you’ve gotten all of your fishing gear cleaned up, there’s one thing that probably still stinks and that’s You! The smell of fish guts is hard to get off your hands and clothes—especially on warm days.  Make sure you clean all of that fish smell off of your hands and skin by scrubbing with a gentle cleaner.  Get your clothing straight into the washing machine too.  This is probably the only way you’ll be allowed back in the house!