If you fly fish in the salt water, like in the tropics, you should always clean your rods and service the ferrules when you get back from your trip. It's really easy to keep rods and cork handles clean after use in fresh or salt water.
Heres what you will need:
- clean terry cloth towel
- old toothbrush that isn't soiled
- cleaner **best material for cleaning rods is AC Delco Foaming Glass Cleaner. You can get it from any GM dealership's parts department. It cleans the cork best and removes salt or grime deposits on the rod and doesn't damage the finish.
- ferrule wax (paraffin)
Step #1 - Rinse all pieces of the rod with warm water. Best way to do it is hold them under the shower head in your shower with warm water for about two minutes.
Step #2 - Set the rod pieces on a counter top and spray completely with the foaming glass cleaner.
Step #3 - Starting with the butt section and moving through the rod pieces, completely scrub the rod with the toothbrush. Pay a lot of attention to the handle cork, reel seat pieces, and around all the guides. Scrub the cork completely. Do not use too much force on the cork. If you scrub too hard on the cork you can scrub out the filler on lesser quality handles, leaving little pits in the handle.
Step #4- Using the terry cloth towel, buff the cork to dry. Scrub the cork hard with the terry cloth towel, this will clean the cork up to almost like new. Continue and dry the rest of the rod with the towel. Make sure you get under any hardware on reel seats and under and inside
If you perform this maintenance with wax a couple times a season you will find your ferrules stay together better and they will have less tendency to stick (they'll pull apart easier when you're taking it down).
Step #6 - Last step! Set the rod with the three (on a 4 piece rod) female ferrules down and the rod butt up in a window for about 6-8 hours. (Ferrule positioning just like in photo) This will make sure that rod is dry but most important, the cork will be completely dry before you store your rod away. You're done and your rod looks awesome!