Lure Maintenance Tips To Keep Gear Ready For Next Season

By on January 12, 2016
Fishing lure patent drawing from 1949. (Credit: Patents Wall Art via Creative Commons 2.0)

It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere and that means it’s cold in some places. There’s not a lot of fishing going on these days. Still, a few might be able to get a few casts off in waterways not impacted by the temperatures and there is sometimes the option to go ice fishing. So if you’re not out on the water making casts, you’re not alone. But listen up: It’s time for maintenance.

Yeah, we know that’s not the most welcomed activity for some anglers, but taking care of your tackle now will help it to take care of you next season. We’re going to take a look specifically at some things you can do to keep your lures in tip-top shape during the offseason. To start, maintenance needs often boil down to the type of water you regularly fish in.

If you’re throwing in saltwater, things can get nasty pretty quick. That’s why a lot of fishermen just don’t fool with taking care of saltwater lures. Oftentimes, they get lost or used up so quickly that it’s just not worth the attention. But if you have a few you’d like to make last, a good tip is to dunk the lures in freshwater every so often and then dry before throwing them back into the ocean. After you pack up for the day, store the saltwater lures together to avoid contaminating other lures in your tackle box. It doesn’t take much saltwater to ruin a bait. From there, clean each lure gently with soap, water and a toothbrush and then dry them completely before storing them.

For lures used in freshwater applications, there’s no need to rinse them with freshwater while you’re fishing. But the steps here are pretty similar. If you’re going to store them wet on the trip home, keep them in a container separate from your other lures during transport. Clean with soapy water and a soft toothbrush and then dry thoroughly before storing them with the rest of your tackle.

Regardless of the water type that you fish in, there are some maintenance moves you can make to extend the life of both kinds of lures. These include replacing rusty or bent hooks, or sharpening hook points when necessary. If a hook is only slightly bent, you may be able to straighten it but your best bet is to replace the hook entirely. It is important to use the same weight and size of the hook you’re replacing so that the action of the bait isn’t affected.

Another tip is to touch up damaged baits using a bit of sandpaper to smooth out any dings and then covering them with an enamel or lacquer. This is a similar process for scratched paint jobs — you can easily touch these up with a tiny brush.

If the paint job is too damaged to redeem, a good tip is to paint the lure in a two-tone outfit, with one color on top and another on bottom, using spray paint. This is a nice way to keep catching fish on an old lure. And if you want to go a step further for some realism, why not add some glue-on fish eyes. These can be easily found in bait and tackle shops.

If one of your lures has a feather on it, keep it in an airtight container so that insects like moths can’t easily get to it and degrade its quality. This lure maintenance tip also applies to new lures — keep them in the packaging until you want to use them.

In general, keep your lures clean and store them dry. And when one is on its last leg, it’s time to replace it. There are countless ways out there to take care of fishing lures and you’ll find it easy to get some more tips from any of your favorite forums out there.

Have some special ways that you care for your lures? What are your recommendations for lure maintenance? Please consider leaving a comment to share your thoughts!

Top image: Fishing lure patent drawing from 1949. (Credit: Patents Wall Art via Creative Commons 2.0)

About Daniel Kelly


  1. Alex Trodder

    March 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I’ve only been fishing in salt water once, and it was with rented tackle. I can imagine that the corrosive nature of saltwater can do a number on hooks, lures, lines, and poles. I like your tip about trying to rinse your tackle in fresh water. A lot of times people will just use a lake or river to do this to make sure that there’s no bait left on their stuff. This might take a little bit of extra thought in saltwater environments. Thanks for your tips.

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    December 18, 2016 at 5:40 am

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