Taking the extra time to keep your fishing reel well-maintained is a great way to extend its bearing life and boost performance. Unfortunately, many people make the common mistake of not properly taking care of their fishing reel, which can eventually lead to a wide range of problems. Practicing a few simple maintenance tips will ensure your fishing reel is always working in top condition, whether you plan to fish at a local pond or if you are going on a deep-sea fishing excursion.
Here are a few tips to remember to maximize the lifespan of your fishing reel's bearing life and ensure it remains in excellent condition.
Basic Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
Using freshwater to rinse your fishing reel is always crucial after you complete a day of fishing. However, it's important to avoid using a spray nozzle, as high-pressure water can force dirt, sand, or salt into the reel and cause numerous problems with the bearings. Using a light pressure of water from a garden hose is the best way to avoid any damages.
Choosing to tighten down the drags before rinsing is also important, especially for the spinning reels. You can hold the spinning reels upside down while keeping the drag toward the ground during rinsing to ensure less water has an opportunity to get within the reel and cause issues with the bearings.
Once the reel is dry, you can lightly lubricate the moving parts. Doing this procedure is especially important if you were fishing in saltwater or muddy conditions. Waiting until the reel is fully clean is also essential, as any sand or dirt can result in damages.
Loosen Drag While in Storage
Storing each reel while the drag is loosened is always a good idea between your fishing trips. A tightened drag compresses the drag washers, which can eventually cause a jerky drag while trying to fish. Minimizing the amount of pressure from the drag washers will extend their lifespan and avoid future problems.
Using Proper Lubrication
Performing proper reel maintenance will save you a lot of trouble and will cause your fishing reel to last a long time. Lubricating all of the moving parts will keep everything working at an optimal level, including the bearings, gears, and spool spindles. However, it's important to lubricate lightly and avoid using heavy grease or oil during this process. Using grease and oil often leaves a residue that limits movement of the bearings, which can create additional problems. A few of the most popular lubricants include Boca Bearings’ High Speed Oil or Rem Oil. Many manufacturers recommend re-lubricating your feel each month or more often if you use it regularly.
How to Degrease Stiff Reels
Sometimes you may notice that a new fishing reel feels stiff while casting. You can avoid this problem by taking it apart to remove some of the excess grease on the gears. Using a solvent can help you loosen the grease, such as isopropyl rubbing alcohol or Ardent Reel Kleen. You can use a soft cloth or a Q-tip while applying a solvent.
Replacing an old line with a new line is important in maximizing the performance of your fishing reel, especially if you notice it beginning to fade or fray over time. It's also a good idea to replace your line after an extended fishing trip with many rocks and debris that can result in small abrasions. Replacing it with a high-quality line will give you peace of mind, as you won't have to worry about it breaking while you are reeling in your next big fish.
How to Optimize Line Performance
Filling the spool to around 90 percent capacity is often recommended while using a baitcasting reel. On the other hand, too much line will increase the chance of backlash, and not having enough line will limit your casting distance. Filling the spool up to 1/8 inch of space from the line to the end of the spool lip is a good idea for spinning reels. Doing this allows you to use the most line capacity without worrying about the line coming off the spool and causing tangles. Following the 1/8-inch rule is also important for maintaining spin-cast reels. However, you will have to remove the front cover of the reel to verify the amount of line left on the spool.
Reduce Backlashes With Proper Brake Adjustment
Fewer backlashes will enable you to make more accurate casts. Adjusting the mechanical brake on the baitcasting reel to the weight of your lure is a great way to optimize performance. The brake adjustment knob is often located beneath the handle on the side plate. Properly adjusting the brake knob will allow you to slowly descend the lure and stop it without causing spool overrun. If the lure falls too slow or quick, you can make additional adjustments to the brake knob until you are satisfied with the results.
Understanding how to properly take care of your fishing reel is essential to extending its lifespan and maximizing performance. Spending the extra time on maintenance will allow your reel to operate more efficiently, and it can save you money in the future. Now is a great time to follow these simple maintenance tips to increase your fishing reel's bearing life while also improving performance.