8 Ways to Prevent Your Fishing Tackle from Rusting

As anglers, a common challenge we all face is dealing with rusty fishing equipment and if we aren’t careful it can become an expensive problem. Understanding how to prevent rust can save you a lot of money and heart ache. As with many things, some small preventative measures upfront can save you lots of money, time and frustration later one.

Simply put, the best way to prevent rust is to prevent moisture and salt from sitting on your hooks and lures. I’ve put together the following tips that are the absolute best ways to prevent your hooks and tackle from rusting.

8 Simple Tips to Keep Your Tackle from Rusting

1. Let Your Tackle Dry

A simple thing that you can do that will go a long way in preventing your lures and hooks from rusting is letting them dry out after use. Far too often, anglers will immediately toss their used wet lures and hooks straight into their tackle box. Moisture ends up getting trapped and is a big reason why fishing tackle ends up rusting.

The easiest way to prevent a potential rusting issue like this is to set aside your lures & hooks after using them and giving them time to dry out before putting them back into your tackle box. If you’re looking for an easy way to accomplish this you can try using a lure drying rack like this one. I’ve found it to be a great way to hang my lures and hooks out after I’m done using them.

2. Use the Right Tackle Storage Boxes

Another effective way to prevent rust and corrosion from getting to your fishing tackle is to use tackle boxes that are made from plastics that already contain anti-rust material in it or allow your tackle to breath and dry out. There also tackle boxes that are waterproof which are really nice for keeping your tackle dry especially on those bad weather days.

Here are the tackle boxes I like to use to keep my gear dry and rust free.

3. Utilize Rust Blocker Strips

Another great way to prevent your tackle from rusting is to add rust blocker strips to your tackle storage. These VCI (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor) strips are designed to absorb moisture and protect metal stored in enclosed areas like tackle boxes. Making them an excellent addition to your tackle box and a great way to prevent your lures and hooks from rusting. You can easily add, remove and replace these strips as time goes on. You can find these on Amazon by clicking this link.

4. ADD WD 40

Spraying your lures and hooks with a little bit of WD 40 every few trips is another simple and effective way to prevent them from rusting. WD 40 is a popular product to use to prevent rust and corrosion on items like tools but it also works great for fishing tackle. Some anglers even believe that WD 40 is even a fish attractant as well. If this fits your style, spray away and remember a little spray can go a long way. You can find WD 40 at your local hardware store or on Amazon by clicking this link.

5. Use Silica Packs

Another simple tip that can help you prevent rust from getting into your tackle boxes is to use silica packs. In fact, you probably have some lying around in a recent package you ordered online. These packs are commonly used by many companies to prevent their products from moisture. However, they also work really well at absorbing moisture and preventing rust in your tackle box as well.

Instead of throwing them away, keep them and add them to your tackle boxes. If you don’t have any lying around or you need some more you can also find a big pack of them on Amazon by clicking here.

6. Remove Salt (If Applicable)

If you are fishing saltwater it’s extremely important that you get rid of any salt that may be sitting on your tackle after use. This can be achieved simply by rinsing your lures in freshwater after every fishing trip. Some saltwater anglers even carry a wash bar with them on the boat where they can rinse their lures after using them to help stop any corrosion from happening. If you are fishing freshwater you don’t need to worry about this tip.

7. Use Other Desiccant Items

A desiccant is a substance that absorbs water. They are commonly used to remove humidity and help prevent moisture build up. If you don’t want to use any of the tips I’ve already mentioned there are probably a handful of items you can use at home to help your tackle from rusting. You can use things like rice, toothpicks and other items that suck up moisture.

Here is a list of some household items that you could use to help keep your tackle dry:

  • Rice
  • Toothpicks
  • Silica packs left over from an online order
  • Rock salt
  • Baking soda
  • Charcoal
  • WD 40

8. Treat & Replace Rusty Tackle ASAP

Despite all of your effort there may be times when you do run into a situation where your lures or hooks begin to rust. If you do see any signs of rust, it’s best to remove or replace the rusty hooks or tackle right away. If not, the rust will end up spreading to the rest of your stuff and you’ll eventually have to replace everything. Inspect your tackle often and get any rust taken care of as soon as you can. 

Why Hooks and Lures Rust

Rust forms on your hooks and tackle after extended exposure to moisture. If you add salt to the mix you have a recipe for a potential rusting disaster. If you do see signs of rusting it’s best to act right away to prevent spread and potential loss of your tackle and hooks. If this goes untreated it will result in ruining your tackle and costing you a lot of money.

How to Remove Rust from Fishing Hooks & Tackle

At some point or another you’ll probably find one of your lures or hooks with rust on it. Or maybe you got lucky and found a nice old rusty lure you want to restore. Believe it or not, restoring your rusty lures is easier than you might think.

Here is how you can save your rusty tackle, hooks and lures from rust:

  1. Get a can of WD 40, a container to put your lures in, a power towel and old toothbrush/small wire brush.
  2. Grab your rust lures and throw them in the container.
  3. Spray a good amount of WD 40 on each side of yours lure and let them soak for an hour
  4. Come back to your lures, re-apply the WD 40 and grab your brush.
  5. Use a toothbrush or small wire brush and start scrubbing the affected areas
  6. Reapply WD 40 for those tough areas and keep scrubbing
  7. Finish off by scrubbing the lure with a paper towel.
  8. Rinse your lure with water and then let it dry
  9. You now have a brand-new looking lure and start fishing with it again.

Can You Still Use a Rust Fishing Hook?

Fishing with a rusty hook or lure probably won’t effect if you can get a fish to bite or not. I’ve seen anglers catch fish with rust on there hooks. If rusty hooks is all you have got you’ll probably be just fine using them. However, I wouldn’t recommend using any hook or tackle that has some rust. Rust will alter the appearance and strength of you hooks and tackle.

Can you imagine finally hooking into a fish of a lifetime only to have come off because of a bad rusty hook? I wouldn’t chance it. Not to mention if you accidentally hook your self you may need a tetanus shot depending on how dirty and rusty the hooks are. I’d recommend either first cleaning/restoring or replacing your tackle. You’ll be much safer and happier with the performance.

Rusty Fish Hook Tetanus

According to the Health Information Library at Peacehealth.com if a hooks does penetrate your skin you may need a tetanus shot depending on how dirty the wound is and how long it’s been since you received your last shot. If you do get hooked with any hook it’s important to clean and protect the wound right away.

Final Thoughts

Rust can be a big pain for anglers especially those fishing in saltwater. As we all know, fishing tackle can be expensive. Rust can destroy hooks, lures and other fishing equipment which can end up costing you a lot of money if you’re not careful. If you use the tips we have shared with you in this article you’ll be able to keep your tackle and equipment rust free and can focus on fishing instead of dealing with rusty gear.

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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