Just like anything you own, your fishing equipment and gear need proper care and maintenance if you want them to last for a long time. Whether you are a beginner or have been an angler for quite a while already, you need to a lot of time to clean your gears and commit to establishing proper care routines for them. When you do that, you can make your best fishing reels and other equipment last longer.
Proper cleaning and maintenance may not be very easy, especially for parts that are delicate and complex such as reels. However, cleaning may not be easy, but it is definitely doable. You basically just need to wipe them and dry down after every use. Occasionally, you may also need to open your reels to put some lubrication and to check for any fragments that may have gotten inside.
If you take a modern fishing reel apart, you will be able to see the complexity even more. There are a lot of tiny parts that only the experts can distinguish and identify. It is a good thing that you do not really need to know and memorize all the parts. You just have to know how to take care of them.
There may be different types of reels for different methods of fishing, but even though they are different, the basics of proper cleaning maintenance are the same. Below are some tips to help you care for your reel properly.
- Before you begin the maintenance process, assemble the tools that you will be needing. You will probably need two small screwdrivers (a slot head and a Phillips), a pair of tweezers, and an old toothbrush. When you bought the reel, it also came with a wrench and the list of the parts. Take it out as well as it can come in handy during the process.
- Prepare the cleaning supplies as well. The cleaning supplies and the specific brand that you will use can be your personal preference, but it is recommended that you have a pan with hot water, a cleaning compound, a lighter fluid, a hi-speed reel oil, and a lube grease.
- Carefully take your reel apart and lay out the parts on a mat or a cloth. You can put a label by using a strip of masking tape under the line of parts. You can put a corresponding number on each of the parts as you remove it from the reel. By doing that, you will be able to put everything back together easily, without leaving any part behind.
- Make sure that you hold your reel properly taking the parts out and putting them back together. Use your left hand to hold the reel and your right to do what you are supposed to do with it. Doing so can keep everything oriented and make the assembly easier.
- When working on your reel, never put metal against metal. All metal parts are designed to go with fiber and not metal to metal.
- When handling springs and wire clips, use tweezers to keep them from flying all over the place. Using a tweezer also lessens the risk of losing these small parts.
- Before you remove the spool, secure or remove your fishing line first. You can do it by either stripping all the line off the spool or securing it with a masking tape. It is essential for you to do this because if you don’t, there is a big tendency that the fishing line can get caught between the spool and the frame. When that happens, removal can be very difficult.
- Use a cleaning compound to clean the parts of your reel. Do not use gasoline or similar products to remove dirt and grease because they will not be able to clean, but rather, they can damage parts of your reel because gasoline can melt plastic. So, you should use a biodegradable cleaning compound and an old toothbrush which will not damage the reel parts that are made of plastic or fiber.
- Apply grease to the gears of your reel. However, make sure that you grease the bottom of the teeth and not the top. If you apply grease to the top, it will only result to the gears throwing grease everywhere and that would be messy. So, make sure that you only apply to the bottom. Also, you only need a light coating so you do not have to slosh grease all over. You can apply grease using a toothpick or a small brush.
- Clean the bearings using a lighter fluid as it is a great way to remove dirt and grunge from them. After cleaning the bearings, check if they spin because that is an indication that they are already clean. If they do not spin, then they probably need more cleaning. Just put one drop of oil per bearing using a toothpick.
After you are done with all these steps, you need to put your reel back together carefully and properly. This can be the tricky part, but the labelling that you did earlier can help a lot, while also consulting the list of parts that came with your reel.
Once your reel is assembled, check and make sure that everything is working the way it is supposed to. You also need to back the drag off and apply a little protection to the exterior to protect the finish and the fishing line.
For first timers, cleaning a reel can be a little intimidating, especially with all the small and seemingly complex parts making up the reel. But, you can make it easier by remembering the basics.
All throughout the maintenance process, you need to remember four things: you should stay organized and prepared, you should clean properly and meticulously, you should grease your gears, and do not forget to oil your bearings. Just make sure that you remember these things plus add a little time and patience and your reel will always be in its tiptop shape.