How To Clean And Maintain Fishing Reels – Step-by-step Guide

How to clean and maintain fishing reels

Many fishermen sometimes even have no idea how to care for their fishing reel properly. Therefore, it is essential to consider the issue of maintenance of the fishing reels.

How often should you clean the fishing reel?

You should clean your fishing reel at least once a year. This will maintain its operational and technical resources at the required level. If you often use the reel is in an unfavorable environment for its mechanism (sand, dust, salt water, mud, etc.) or you dropped the reel into the water, then you need to clean and lubricate it several times during the season. It will be great if you can completely replace the lubricants in the entire mechanism of the reel, rather than simply applying a new lubricant over the old one.

Procedure for cleaning and lubricating the spinning reel

The most popular fishing reel is the spinning reel. So we will consider how to disassemble, lubricate and clean it.

Fishermen with experience when disassembling the spinning reel advise to arrange all the parts on a sheet of paper in the order of their folding. Disassembling and assembling the spinning reel is not an easy process. But this guide will give you some useful tips how to facilitate the procedure for cleaning the spinning reel.

What will you need for cleaning and lubricating the spinning reel?

Tools for cleaning and lubricating fishing reels

First of all, you need tools that will help you clean and lubricate the fishing reel. Here is the list of the things you may need:

  • Screwdrivers;
  • Tweezers;
  • Wrench;
  • Napkin or rag;
  • Cotton swabs;
  • Medical syringe;
  • Spray cleaner;
  • Oil or grease;
  • Container for cleaning the parts.

Step-by-step guide for lubricating the spinning reel

Disassembling the spinning reel

  • First of all, you need to remove the dust from the surface of the reel with a cloth. It is very important since when you open the reel, the dust can get into the mechanism. If there is a thick layer of dust, it is necessary to wipe the reel with a cloth or a cotton swab, which is soaked in gasoline for lighters or ether.
  • Then it is necessary to remove the dust under the rotor. To do this, you need to remove the spool and rotate the reel handle so that the axis of the spool is in the forward position.
  • Remove the locking ring with the gear from the axis of the spool.
  • Afterwards, you need to remove the screw that fixes the nut holding the rotor and remove the lock ring (if you have it your spinning reel). Then unscrew the nut. If you cannot unscrew it, don’t press tightly since some fishing reels have nuts with reverse thread. Just twist in the other direction.

Unscrew the nut

  • When you unscrew the nut, mark the position of the rotor with respect to the hub on which it is located. For this, it is good to use a water resistant marker to put points on the hub and on the rotor. This is necessary to put the rotor in its previous position when assembling. If you neglect this advice, then during rotation the rotor can begin to clang. After this, you need to move the rotor forward.
  • In order to remove the dust that is located on the inside of the rotor and from the reel body, you should use a cotton swab. For your comfort, put it in the tweezers. Lubricate the axles of the rollers of the overrunning clutch with a liquid lubricant. Take into consideration that you shouldn’t pour a lot of oil in the overrunning clutch because it will slip. This is especially important if you are going to use the reel in the winter. After the overrunning clutch has been lubricated, the rotor should be put into place taking into account the marks. You should also slightly stir the rotor so that it accepts its primary position. Then tighten the nut, put the lock the ring into place and screw the locking screw.

Remove the handle and the cover

  • After this, remove the handle and the cover that closes the reel mechanism. Some fishing reels need to remove the friction brake or disassemble other components.
  • Before you remove the drive gear, you should mark the relative position of the gears. You can do it using a water resistant marker. Marks are necessary so that when assembling, it is possible to provide a mutual initial position of the gears, as the gear teeth have an individual fit. If you break their proper position, the reel will rotate with difficulty and will produce a sound. Nowadays, there are reels that use a special technology that does not require a procedure for combining the teeth at all.
  • After you have made the marks, it is necessary to take out the driving gear. If the driving gear, at least on one side rotates on the hubs, it is necessary to grease the rubbing surfaces of the hubs with grease.

Lubricating the fishing reel

  • Inside the reel body, you should also grease other friction components with thick grease. But don’t grease too much because when the reel is heated in the sun, the grease will flow from the slots. After this, fix the driving gear into place taking into account the marks and close the body of the reel mechanism. Put the handle and the spool into place. With thick grease, lubricate the axis of rotation of the bail arm and the bail spring.
  • When lubricating the bail spring, you should be careful since there are various small parts that can jump out if you stir the bail arm when the protective cover is off. In this case, after removing the protective cover, it is necessary to get loose parts, and then lubricate.

Cleaning the parts of the spinning reel

Cleaning the fishing reel

If you have the RAS (Recirculating aquaculture system), you can wash the parts of the spinning reel there. Or you can do it manually using brushes and an aerosol cleaner (this option is better, especially if you don’t have experience with cleaning the reel).

It is better not to wash the frame of the reel in the RAS. Rinse it manually and clean the remains of the old grease from all corners and grooves with a brush.

Do the same with the side panels. Don’t forget that the RAS is a good thing, but it can also do much harm. It will be enough to wipe the frictional parts, line guide and decorative lining (especially chrome-plated) with a lintless rag. But such details as gears, hubs, bearings, springs, shafts can be washed in RAS (if you have it) or in a container with a cleaner until the dirt and old grease are completely removed.

If the beatings are collapsible, you need to disassemble and clean them. If they are not collapsible, then rinse them under pressure. You can use either a spray cleaner or a medical syringe with a thin needle. Wash the spool bearings until you completely remove the old grease and a smooth rustling sound appears when rotating. You also need to rinse the roller bearing in a container with a cleaner, either using a syringe or spray cleaner.

After washing, you need to dry all the parts. Just put them on a napkin or rags for 10-15 minutes. If you start immediately to collect and lubricate, the remnants of the washing liquid will inevitably fall on a new lubricant and nothing useful will remain of it.


If you clean and lubricate your fishing reel for the first time, this procedure will seem rather cumbersome and complicated. This is so, but only for the first time. With each subsequent time, disassembling, cleaning and lubrication of the fishing reel will be easier.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *