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Rod and Reel maintenance tips from Ray

Ray working on some reels

My passion for fishing borders on obsession, or at least that’s what my wife says.  The crazy thing is I know guys who are even more passionate about it, or more obsessed with it, depending how you look at it.

This passion, as I will call it, leads me to meet all kinds of people.  One person that I have met is Ray Fincke, owner of The Fishing Hole.  A friend told me about Ray and about Ray’s connection to the history of bass fishing in the Midwest.  He also told me that I should go and say hello because Ray was a real nice guy and he knew a lot about fishing.

Before the big box outdoor stores, Ray owned one of the largest and most popular tackle shops in Kansas City.  It was a place that fisherman gathered to tell their fishing stories.

Chuck Wood a legendary finesse fisherman visited the tackle shop often. Drew Reese who placed 7th at the 1st Bassmaster Classic and Dwight Keefer who won the World Series of Sport Fishing and participated in the 3rd Bassmaster Classic, both worked at Ray’s shop.

Today Ray owns a custom rod building and fly tying shop in the back of a strip mall in Overland Park, KS.  If you didn’t know where it was, you would never see it.  Looking at the shop and the shop’s location you would wonder how he stays in business.  Then after you talk with him, you understand how he stays in business.  Ray knows fishing.

His business comes from word of mouth referrals.  Many of his clients have been using Ray and his repair shop for years.  Bass Pro Shops hired him to repair all the old rods they put on display in their stores.  Even 10-time Bassmaster classic qualifier Brent Chapman has Ray clean and maintain his rods and reels.

So to say Ray knows a little about bass fishing is an understatement.  The great thing about Ray is he is always willing to share his information.

Recently I dropped off some reels to get cleaned and lubricated.  While there, I asked Ray if he had any advice that I could put up on my website to help anglers keep their equipment in good shape.

Here is what he said:

  1. Always loosen your drag.  Never store you reels with the drag tightened.  The drag on a reel is a cupped metal spring called a Belleville washer.  If kept tightened too long it can actually flatten the washer and reduce the drag when you need it.  Then don’t forget to retighten the drag when you go fishing.
  2. Careful if you lubricate your own reels because too much lube can cause problems.  If you are not sure where to apply the lube and how much to apply take it to a professional.
  3. Check your guides regularly.  Take a Q-tip and run it around the inside edges of the guide.  If there is a crack in the ceramic guide, the Q-tip will hang up.  If there is a crack, take it to the shop to get it replaced.  If you don’t, your line can rub on this crack and break, which always seems to happen on the big fish.
  4. If you keep your fishing rods and reels in the garage for storage, Ray says it’s a good idea to wrap a plastic grocery sack around the reels and get a twisty tie to tie it off.  This will keep dust and dirt out of them.

You can find Ray’s shop online at www.finckefishinghole.com

About Travis Perret