How To Clean A Fishing Reel? Essential Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Reel In Top Shape

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If you’re an avid fisherman or woman, you know how important it is to keep your fishing equipment in top shape. One of the most vital pieces of equipment that needs regular maintenance is your fishing reel. A clean and well-maintained fishing reel not only improves its performance but also increases its lifespan.

Cleaning a fishing reel can be a daunting task if you’re new to the game. You might wonder what tools and materials you need, which parts require special attention, and how often should you perform this task.

Fret not, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll provide you with essential tips and tricks on how to keep your fishing reel sparkling clean and functioning at its best. From the things you need to prepare beforehand to step-by-step instructions on how to clean each part of your reel, we’ve got all the information you need.

“A clean fishing reel is a happy fishing reel.”

So, whether you’re getting ready for the season or just want to make sure your gear lasts longer, read on to discover our expert guide on ‘How To Clean a Fishing Reel? Essential Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Reel In Top Shape’.

Gather Your Supplies Before Starting

Before you start cleaning your fishing reel, it’s important to gather all of the necessary equipment and supplies. Here are a few things that you will need:

  • Fishing reel cleaning solution
  • Clean water
  • Toothbrush or cleaning brush
  • Microfiber towel
  • Screwdriver (if necessary)

Make sure that all of these items are within reach before you begin cleaning your reel. Misplacing an item can cause unnecessary delays and make the cleaning process more difficult than necessary.

Choose the Right Cleaning Equipment

The key to properly cleaning your reel is using the right cleaning equipment. For starters, it’s important to use a cleaning solution specifically designed for fishing reels. Using other types of solutions, such as dish soap or detergent, may cause damage to the components of the reel.

When selecting a cleaning brush, choose one with soft bristles to avoid damaging any fragile parts of the reel. A toothbrush can also be effective in removing dirt and grime from hard-to-reach areas. Microfiber towels are gentle enough to clean sensitive parts without scratching them.

If your reel requires disassembly, be sure to use a screwdriver that fits the screws exactly to avoid stripping them.

Prepare a Clean Workspace

Cleaning your fishing reel in a tidy and organized workspace ensures that all pieces are accounted for and assembled correctly after cleaning. A cluttered area can lead to lost parts, confusion, and added time spent completing the task.

Find a flat surface on which to work, free from debris and dust. Cover the area with paper or cloth towels to prevent the loss of small parts and debris. Make sure that you have enough room for all of your supplies, as well as the reel itself.

Get the Necessary Replacement Parts

If any components need replacing on the fishing reel after cleaning, then it’s best to get them beforehand. Having the necessary replacement parts decreases delays in finishing with ease; it ensures that everything can be completed efficiently while it is being worked on. Also, not having these parts could potentially cause damaging effects by using a damaged part once reassembled.

“Having extra reels or spare parts accessible gives the angler confidence in knowing they won’t lose precious fishing time fixing or running out to buy needed parts.” Angela Pham (Fishing Angler Advocate)

Disassemble Your Fishing Reel

If you want to clean your fishing reel and extend its lifespan, disassembling it is the first step. Here’s how you can do it:

Remove the Spool and Handle

The spool in a spinning or Baitcasting reel contains the line, and often collects dirt, dust, and debris over use. To remove the spool:

  • Unscrew any locking mechanism on the handle.
  • Gently pull on the spool until it comes off of the shaft.
  • Look for a small screw located on the body of the reel that holds the handle onto the reel’s gear assembly.
  • Loosen the screw with a small screwdriver so the handle will come off when pulled carefully.

Detach the Gear Housing Cover

This section will require more attention to detail to avoid losing tiny parts. To detach the gear housing cover from a spinning or baitcasting reel:

  • Locate the screws holding down the plate covering the gears.
  • Use a suitable screwdriver to unscrew the screws.
  • Lift up the plate gently from the two ends closest to the center, taking care not to lift too high that some small pieces fall out.

Take Apart the Drag System

The drag system ensures smooth fishing while reeling in the big catch, That makes it integral to maintain this part of the fishing reel. To take apart the drag system:

  • Squeeze the main body of the drag system to release the knurled nut keeping it tightly together.
  • Remove the nut and washers beneath it before remembering how everything fits together for reassembling.
  • Lift the spool from the reel body to check if there is anything remaining inside of it.
“Take care not to use your fishing reel until all parts are completely dry after cleaning!” – Fishing Pioneers

You’ve now cleaned out your fishing reel! Now that you have taken apart each piece, make sure to clean them individually so that they can be put back together correctly without dirt or grime getting in the way. We hope this article has been helpful in teaching you How To Clean A Fishing Reel!

Clean the Exterior of Your Reel

Use a Soft Bristle Brush to Remove Debris

The first step in cleaning your fishing reel is to remove any debris or dirt that may have accumulated on the exterior. This can be done using a soft-bristled brush, which will help to gently dislodge any particles without scratching or damaging the surface of your reel.

Before you begin brushing, it’s important to ensure that your reel is completely dry and free from moisture as this could cause damage to the inner workings of the reel. Once you’re satisfied that your reel is dry, take your brush and gently sweep it over the surface of the reel, paying particular attention to areas where dirt and grime tend to accumulate such as around the spool or handle.

Repeat the process until all visible debris has been removed. Remember not to apply too much pressure when brushing as this could result in scratches or other surface damage.

Clean the Reel Body with Soap and Water

Once you’ve removed all visible debris, it’s time to clean the body of your reel using soap and water. Begin by filling a bowl with warm, soapy water and dipping a soft cloth or sponge into the solution. Gently wipe down the entire body of your reel, taking care to avoid getting any water inside the reel.

If there are any particularly dirty or greasy areas, you may need to use some additional elbow grease to get them clean. In these cases, try using an old toothbrush to work the soap into the area before wiping it away with your damp cloth or sponge.

After you’ve finished washing your reel, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue. Again, it’s important to ensure that no water gets inside the reel as this could cause damage to the internal components.

Polish the Reel with a Microfiber Cloth

To give your fishing reel that extra shine and protect it from future wear and tear, you’ll want to polish it using a microfiber cloth. These cloths are perfect for cleaning delicate surfaces as they’re gentle and won’t leave any scratches behind.

To begin polishing your reel, grab a clean microfiber cloth and gently rub it over the entire surface of the reel. Take care not to apply too much pressure or move the cloth too quickly as this could lead to superficial scratching.

If there are any areas where dirt or grime is particularly stubborn, try adding a small amount of rubbing alcohol to your cloth before continuing to polish. This will help to break down any remaining debris and leave your reel looking like new.

Apply Corrosion Inhibitor to Protect the Reel

Once you’ve finished cleaning and polishing your fishing reel, it’s important to take steps to protect it from future corrosion and wear. One easy way to do this is by applying a corrosion inhibitor spray to all exposed metal parts on your reel.

These sprays work by creating a thin, protective barrier around the metal which helps to repel water and other corrosive substances. To use, simply hold the canister about 6 inches away from your reel and spray a light mist over all exposed metal parts. Be sure to avoid spraying any moving parts such as the bail or handle as this could affect their performance.

After applying the corrosion inhibitor, allow your reel to dry completely before storing it away until your next fishing trip.

“Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.” -P.J. O’Rourke

Clean the Interior of Your Reel

A clean fishing reel is necessary for it to perform at its optimum level. Cleaning your old or new fishing reel helps in ensuring that it lasts longer, and this saves you money as well. With proper cleaning and maintenance, a fishing reel can last for years.

Here’s how to clean a fishing reel:

Soak the Parts in a Degreaser Solution

The first step in cleaning a rod and reel combo involves taking apart the parts which may include the spool, handle arm, and side plates. After taking each part off of the reel, it’s time to soak them in a degreaser solution so that dirt, grime, and oil stick to the product leaving no residue behind after rinsing your gear with freshwater.

“When you get a fish on the line, fishing’s just fun. It’s everything else around it – all the rigamarole – that makes it stressful.” -Hank Hill

While setting up firearms yearly service agreements, most gun shops recommend using Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber for dissolving grease and carbon deposits from guns. This solvent can be used for cleaning reels as well. You should use a container that will fit all the parts precisely. Choose one made from plastic or rubber materials—metalized containers might cause some corrosion over time. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes to let the degreaser work on any gritty buildup.

Scrub the Parts with a Soft Bristle Brush

The next step includes scrubbing down the reel components with a soft-bristled brush. A toothbrush comprises soft bristles perfectly suitable for getting into small cracks and difficult spaces where bigger brushes cannot reach. If there are still grimy patches on the spool or casting knob, grab a fingernail brush – this will do the job and not harm any metal surfaces. Make sure to get into every area of each piece and remove all dirt and grime from the internal components before moving on to rinsing.

“One guy in a garage can do something that nobody else has ever done before.”- Steve Wozniak

Rinse the Parts Thoroughly with Water

The third step is to rinse everything well with clean water. Rinse off all the remaining solvent running them under warm water for about 1 to 2 minutes. Tap water could be used but purified water is the best as it prevents any impurities present in tap water interacting with the reel parts you just cleaned. Be careful not to shake the parts so hard that they fall out of your hand! Lay each component down on a clean dry towel once they are free of soap residue, so they expose nooks where moisture might accumulate.

Dry the Parts with a Clean Towel

You’re almost done; drying may take up to an hour depending on room temperature and humidity measured by its dew point. A quick-drying method would be using compressed air cans only intended for cleaning small electronic devices. Let your fishing gears air dry until completely moisture-free. Another alternative is by using a soft-bristled foam brush to absorb excess water then allowing them to air-dry outside laid over a towel or rag. Remove all traces of moisture and degreaser when reassembling the rod and reel combo back into one unit.

Fishing reels need maintenance and taking good care of them helps prolong their life. When clean, they perform better, respond more efficiently, and have fewer issues caused by dirty and clogged-up internals.

Reassemble Your Fishing Reel Carefully

Apply Lubricant to the Gear and Bearings

After cleaning the reel, it is important to apply lubricant to the gear and bearings. This will help to ensure that your fishing reel works smoothly and properly when you are out on the water.

You can use a small amount of oil or grease for this step. Apply the lubricant carefully, making sure to cover all parts thoroughly. Be careful not to use too much, as this can lead to buildup and clog your reel over time.

“Good maintenance practices include regular lubrication and maintaining proper fluid levels.” -Car Talk

Reattach the Drag System and Gear Housing Cover

The drag system and gear housing cover are important parts of your fishing reel. After cleaning and lubricating them, reattaching them correctly is essential for proper function.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when reattaching these parts. Make sure everything is properly aligned and secured in place before moving on to the next steps.

“One of the keys to successful fishing is preparation.” -David Sueiro

Put the Spool and Handle Back Onto the Reel

The final step in reassembling your fishing reel is putting the spool and handle back onto the reel. These parts must be put back together carefully to ensure proper functioning.

Insert the spool into the reel body, making sure it is seated properly. Then, attach the handle to its respective connection point, ensuring that it turns smoothly. Finally, tighten the retaining screw on the handle to secure it in place.

“A good fisherman knows how important it is to have the right tool for the job.” -Kevin vanDam

After completing these steps, your fishing reel should be properly cleaned and reassembled. Following these steps will help to ensure that your fishing equipment lasts longer and performs better in the water.

Store Your Fishing Reel Appropriately

Cover the Reel with a Protective Case

After cleaning your fishing reel, it’s important to store it properly to keep it in good working condition. One of the best ways to protect your fishing reel is by covering it with a protective case.

A protective case will prevent dust, dirt and moisture from getting into the inner workings of the reel, which can cause damage over time. It also protects the exterior from scratches or other physical damage that can occur during transport or storage.

You can purchase a protective case specifically designed for your brand and model of fishing reel. These cases are available at most tackle shops or online retailers. Alternatively, you can use a soft cloth or old sock to cover the reel if a specific case is not available.

Store the Reel in a Dry and Cool Place

In addition to using a protective case, it’s essential to store your fishing reel in a dry and cool place. Exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity can cause corrosion on metal parts, leading to rust and potential damage to the reel’s operation.

The ideal location for storing your fishing reel is a temperature-controlled environment such as a closet inside your home or garage. If you choose to store the reel in an outdoor shed or garage, ensure it’s elevated off the ground to prevent exposure to moisture and pests.

For long-term storage, remove the line from the reel entirely and clean the reel thoroughly before placing it in its protective case. This helps to avoid any damage caused by stagnant water or debris left behind in the inner workings of the fishing reel.

“Storing your fishing gear in a controlled, dry environment is critical to keeping them functional for years to come.” -Adam Graham, Outdoor Journalist

By following these tips, you can rest assured that your fishing reel is protected and ready for its next use. Remember to always clean and dry it before storing and keep in a designated spot to prevent any accidental damage or loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials do I need to clean a fishing reel?

To clean a fishing reel, you will need a soft cloth, a toothbrush, a screwdriver, a bowl of warm water, mild soap, and reel oil or grease. The soft cloth is for wiping down the exterior of the reel, the toothbrush is for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas, and the screwdriver is for disassembling the reel. The warm water and mild soap will be used to clean the parts of the reel, and the reel oil or grease will be used to lubricate the parts after cleaning.

What are the steps to properly disassemble a fishing reel?

The steps to properly disassemble a fishing reel vary depending on the type of reel, but in general, you’ll need to remove the spool, handle, and side plates. Once the side plates are removed, you can access the gears, bearings, and other internal parts of the reel. It’s important to keep track of the order in which the parts are removed so you can reassemble the reel correctly. Use a screwdriver to remove any screws, and be gentle when handling the parts to avoid damaging them.

How do I clean the various parts of a fishing reel?

To clean the various parts of a fishing reel, you’ll need to use a soft cloth and a toothbrush to scrub away any dirt or debris. Use a bowl of warm water and mild soap to soak the parts before scrubbing them, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly afterwards. For hard-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush or a cotton swab. Be gentle when cleaning the parts to avoid damaging them, and avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch the surface of the reel.

What lubricants should I use on my fishing reel after cleaning?

After cleaning your fishing reel, it’s important to use the right lubricants to keep the parts moving smoothly. Reel oil and grease are the most common lubricants used on fishing reels. Reel oil is used on small moving parts like bearings and gears, while reel grease is used on larger parts like the main gear and drag system. When applying lubricants, use only a small amount and be sure to wipe away any excess so it doesn’t attract dirt or debris.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when cleaning a fishing reel?

When cleaning a fishing reel, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. First, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the surface of the reel. Second, be gentle when handling the parts to avoid damaging them. Third, be sure to keep track of the order in which the parts are removed so you can reassemble the reel correctly. Finally, avoid using too much lubricant, as this can attract dirt and debris and cause the reel to malfunction.

How often should I clean my fishing reel?

The frequency with which you should clean your fishing reel depends on how often you use it and the conditions in which you fish. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean your reel after each use, especially if you fish in saltwater or dirty conditions. If you fish less frequently, you may only need to clean your reel every few months. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help prolong the life of your reel and ensure that it performs at its best.

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