Taking excellent care of your tackle & gear will not be easy, it’s kind of like trying to keep a brand new pair of white sneakers clean for several weeks, just ain’t going to happen !
This does not mean stop caring about your stuff, hell no this means except that shit will happen but take some steps to prevent regular occurrences.
Here are a few things I like to follow:
1) never leave rods on the bottom of a boat, on a floor at home or on the ground at the cottage while people are around, you are just “asking” for someone to step on something and snap it in half.
2) always take the time to let recently used baits fully dry off before placing them into your storage trays, dry baits leads to less rust build up and avoiding the extra moisture build up from a wet bait will also result in other baits in that same tray not rusting.
3) invest a few bucks into some water tight storage bags, sure some can be costly but ziplock makes some over-sized water tight bags that are great for storing large items like extra tackle trays, rain suits, boat safety items, tool kit, extra reels, you name it these bags are pretty durable and come in various sizes. Totally great if you fish in the rain like I do, your boat compartment may get wet(figure that bass boats were not made with water tight compartments!), but as long as your stuff is sealed in a bag you are good to go.
4) pick up some rust preventative plastic tabs, not costly at all and they help eliminate moisture buildup inside your trays. Leave a few in each tray and you are fine for a while.
5) get into the habit of wrapping rods up with rod sleeves and cover reels with foam reel covers, sure it’s a few extra minutes to unwrap everything before you start fishing but you will prevent lots of scratches and potential cracks while transporting them.
6) make sure all rods are securely strapped in a boat or vehicle, not insane tight where you are forcing thing together just tight enough to prevent them from banging together.