C-Tackle, Inc.


proper reel maintenance



The below common sense information is provided primarily for the first time new reel owner however it certanily applies to all fishing reels.

  1. 1.     With a small screwdriver check the torque of all accessible screws.  The use of a small screwdriver will prevent over tight screws that may strip threads.  The tendency on the new reel assembly line is to error on the side of leaving screws too loose as opposed to getting them too tight.  Did you notice that you never purchase a reel with stripped threads?  One lost screw may result in permanent damage to your reel or a lost part that may or may not be replaceable.  Unfortunately this usually occurs on one of your first few fishing trips with the new reel.  Most specialty tackle shops, including ours, will check the screws for proper torque at no extra charge at your request.
  2. 2.     Spray your fishing reel after each use with fresh water, (water hose, shower, etc.).  Wash the under side of the levelwind system on a conventional reel by turning the reel upside down to expose the worm.  Washing with fresh water is the most important maintenance step you can take.  It is necessary even for reels used in fresh water.  This simple step will add many years to the useful life of your fishing reel. 
  3. 3.     DO NOT SPRAY YOUR REEL WITH PENETRATING OIL, OR WD-40.  THINK!! Penetrating oil will do just that, it will penetrate the threads of your screws and thereby possibly cause them to become loose.  Penetrating oil can also cause fine grit and other foreign matter to enter places it does not belong causing premature wear.  It can also wash away  grease from places it should be and replace it with foreign matter.  It will also cause the surface of your reel to be sticky causing grit and foreign matter to adhere in such a manner that it is hard to remove by rinsing with plain water.  If you have used penetrating oil on your reel before reading this guide you may want to make a solution of warm water and dish detergent and brush with a bottlebrush before spraying with plain water.  When the reel is to be stored for an extended period of time we suggest paste wax or apply a small amount or medium weight oil with a small cloth and then polish to a smooth hard dry finish.
  4. 4.     Reels not demonstrating mechanical problems should only need to be lubricated at: the handle where the knob actually meets the handle;  spinning reels where the bail arm meets the frame;  conventional reels with spool shaft bushings at the bushing (conventional reels with ball bearings under normal circumstances should go for years without re-greasing and should only be re-greased as part of a professional reel cleaning process).  Do not remove the cover to the gearbox unless you are prepared to totally dissambly, clean, lubricate and reassemble all components.  Premature wear and/or reel failure can result from any foreign matter introduced to the inside of the gearbox.
  5. 5.     Lubrication beyond that mentioned above should properly be left to a professional and should only be required every five years or so. 
  6. 6.     The above recommendations are based on twenty years as the owner-operator of  a retail tackle shop specializing among other things in the sale maintenance and repair of fishing reels.