Fishing Reel Maintenance

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Fishing Reel Maintenance

Instead of purchasing a new spinning reel sometimes opting for a good cleaning makes the old one look and feel like new.

Serious anglers use their equipment often which means it frequently takes a beating, especially around saltwater. And you can be assured sooner or later its getting dunked. With the increasing price of fishing tackle particularly rods and reels people tend to take exceptional care of their equipment by washing and properly storing it after each trip. But regardless of how careful it’s treated for some reason and at exactly the wrong time the reel handle begins sticking and the gears sound like they are full of sand. Right away you’re thinking about a shinny new reel but the thought of convincing the wife why you need a new one makes you shudder.

A good cleaning and some maintenance is a solution that usually takes care of those dirty fishing reel blues, which by the way sounds like an old jazz song. And a cold winter day is a great time to do it.

If you lack the basic mechanical abilities or are not the “Do it yourself” type there are plenty of reputable repair facilities willing to do it for you. However, if you prefer doing it yourself, read on.

Here’s a quick tip I often give… Practically everyone today, has a digital camera so why not take advantage of it. If you’re not sure you’ll remember how things go back together, take a few close-up digital photographs before and during disassembly, print them and use during reassembly.

Over the years, fishing reel lubricants have evolved from barely refined motor oils to technologically advanced lubricants containing superior adhesion and bonding properties. This new generation of oils and greases greatly reduces friction and dispels water. Although cost is appreciably higher these added performance lubricants are worth the investment, so keep some on hand and in the tackle box.

Alright let’s get started, it’s going to take about an hour or two depending on how many reels you’re cleaning. Find a clean hard surface preferably in the garage with good lighting. Next gather a few old rags, an old white hand towel, and a chair. Get a couple of small straight blade and Phillips head screwdrivers, a small pair of needle nose pliers, an old toothbrush or thick artist brush and some alcohol or mineral sprits. You’ll also need a couple of small containers for securing small parts removed from the reel. This is important and I suggest working over a small white hand towel because those miniature washers and screws are virtually impossible to find if dropped on the floor.

Begin by removing the spool and reel handle, clean them and set aside. Remove the rotor nut retaining screw, nut and remove the rotor. On the rotor, loosen the line roller assembly located on the bail, lubricate bearing and roller and retighten. Also oil the opposite end of the bail where it connects to the rotor housing and set aside.

From this point and using the small brushes and cleaning solutions you’re going to remove and clean parts and housings as necessary.

Next remove the side plate taking care not to loose the small, usually plastic washers located on the screws. When possible, remove and clean the main gear and its two bearings, clean each one and set aside. Now remove and clean only the remaining readily accessible parts and gear case. You’re ready to put it back together.

Start by air drying the parts or using very low air pressure. With the newest lubricants apply a light coating of reel grease to the main and worm gear teeth. Oil the main gear, anti reverse and main shaft bearings and reassemble into the gear case. Remember, grease gets sticky so use oil whenever possible. Install the gear case cover and oil the main shaft before installing rotor. If necessary, re-spool with new line and reset the drag tension. Finally, test everything making certain its operating correctly.

Now all that’s left is getting out on the water for that next great fishing adventure; with a reel that probably feels and looks like new.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com