Keeping your fishing reel in perfect shape doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. With the right tools and the right amount of time and patience, maintaining the reel for as long as possible can be performed by anyone. What you need to know is that you should never rush into cleaning your reel if you don’t have the proper instructions at hand or a good set of tools.

Some say that every type of fishing reel should be taken care of differently. Others claim that the universal way is better. Whatever the case, if you want to do the best job of cleaning your reel, you might want to check out the following instructions.


Fishing reel


How to clean a conventional reel:

Start by removing the screws on the left side plate with the help of a flathead screwdriver. Continue by removing the spool assembly. Lubricate the drive shaft bearing, and then clean the exterior of the reel with some alcohol and cotton swabs. You will require cotton swabs all throughout the operation, so you should keep them around.

Next, clean the spool assembly and remove the line if you haven’t done so for over a year, and then continue by oiling both the brake collars and the spool bearing. If possible, try to avoid greasing the spool shaft. After analyzing the left side plate spool for traces of rust, continue by oiling the bearing and idle gear. Finally, put the spool and side plate back together.



How to clean a baitcasting reel:

The principles of caring for a baitcasting reel are virtually the same ones as with conventional reels. Therefore, you’re required to access and remove the spool assembly, and then eliminate all visible debris with the help of some cotton swabs, dipped in isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

The same method should be applied for cleaning the inside of the pinion gear. Continue by cleaning the brake collars and the spool shaft, and oil the spool bearing or bushing if there is any. Both the brake case and the spool bearing should be cleaned and oiled. Lastly, the drive shaft bearing should be lubricated as well, as should the level wind system.



How to clean a round baitcasting reel:

The care technique applied in this case is not very different from the ones mentioned above. After accessing the spool assembly, use cotton swabs and isopropyl rubbing alcohol to clean the exterior of the reel, and continue by cleaning the level wind system using oil. After checking for traces of rust on the shaft bearing or bushing, oil it, and continue by doing the same with the brake collars. Oil the spool bearing and reinstall the reel correctly.


Oil the spool bearing 1


How to clean a spinning reel:

Spinning reels are somewhat different compared to their counterparts, which is why they require a unique kind of care. After removing the spool assembly, inspect it and clean the exterior using the same cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol mentioned earlier on. Analyze and then clean and oil the line roller assembly, and continue by lubricating the drive gear bearings. The bail arm assembly should also be oiled in order to ensure the smoothness of the bail operation.



How to clean a trolling reel:

Disassembling a trolling reel is somewhat more complicated compared to the typical process. After removing everything, the frame must be cleaned using isopropyl rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs or a toothbrush. After separating the cooling shield, oil the drag washer and the spool bearings. Grease the pinion gears and proceed to cleaning and oiling the drive gear and drive shaft. Pay attention when you reassemble the unit, and make sure there are no extra parts.



General tips:

Even if you have little to no experience when it comes to cleaning your fishing reel, there are several tips that you can use to take care of it in the long run. If possible, avoid dipping your reel in water in general and in saltwater in particular. Be gentle with it and try not to drop it on sand, rocks or hard floors.

The reels that are used on moving boats are usually exposed to spray, so you should go to extreme lengths to ensure that you rinse the reel in low-pressure tap right after using it. Don’t soak the reel for a lot of time, because it won’t get the saltwater out of it and it will only make your reel more prone to rust. If you have been on a fishing trip for a week, where access to fresh water is limited, be sure to clean the unit in depth once you get back home.