The pros swear that fishing with clean lures makes a big difference over using those salt-encrusted, rusty drone spoons or diamond jigs. The beginning of fall can be “between seasons” in the Pacific Northwest, perfect time to take an inventory of your tackle box and decide what could use a makeover. Here are a few easy tips on how to get the most out of your tackle by cleaning and maintaining your old fishing lures.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Fishing Lures

Autumn is here and the salmon have moved out of the saltwater and into the rivers. Our lakes haven’t quite turned over yet, and seasonal rain and strong winds lead to plenty of downtime between kayak fishing trips. Looking over all my tackle—various spoons, spinners and Rapalas—I find that most lures have taken a beating throughout the year. Time for a makeover!

a man looks down into a tackle box full of fishing lures to clean and maintain
Get the most out of your tackle by cleaning and maintaining your old fishing lures. | Feature photo: Ben Duchesney

When I change out lures on the water I try to set aside the used ones to soak in dish soap at the end of the day. It’s a nice idea, but in the rush to pack up I sometimes forget and end up tossing them back into the tackle box. Then, moisture sits until the next trip and takes its toll on the rest of my tackle.

Best Soap to Clean Fishing Lures

A good soaking in Lemon Scented Joy dish soap and water works to remove artificial fish scents, but salt and grime sometimes need a little more than just soap.

Under my sink is a bottle of CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover that has worked wonders to remove the most stubborn of stains in my bathroom. It works equally well on my tackle box and lures. Just dab a bit of undiluted CLR onto a paper towel and rub over the surface of each lure. Miraculously, the lures get a new lease on life as the rust and grime release from their surfaces.

For the final soak I toss each lure into a soapy water mixture before rinsing and drying it off. Let the lures dry before putting them back into your clean tackle box. Spoons that have tarnished with age easily shine up with a dab of silver/metal polish to bring more “bling.”

This is also a good time to replace dull and damaged hooks. I snip off the old one and affix a Gamakatsu Open Eye Siwash Hook in its place. With little effort and time you’ll extend the life of those lures instead of paying to replace them.

Use Silica to Keep Your Tackle Dry

Here’s another tip: Save those silica packs that you get in pill containers and food packages. They help keep food fresh and moisture to a minimum inside packaging. Toss a couple in each of your tackle trays to keep moisture out. Yeah, lures will get wet again—but you were likely going to toss those silica packs after the first use anyway. Reuse them.

Get the most out of your tackle by cleaning and maintaining your old fishing lures. | Feature photo: Ben Duchesney

 

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