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Rod And Reel Care Page 2

Article by:

Flats Lady Charters & Angler's Repair

Captain Thom Smith
Brandenton, Fl





Items needed for the job include a Phillips head or flat head screwdriver, small wrenches, and some of the spray lubes I mentioned earlier, which is only used for cleaning out the reel, super lube grease, “3 in one” oil, brushes and paper towels.  A box or tray is needed to keep your parts in order when you start to take the reel apart.  Take the handle and the spool off of the reel.  Different reels are disassembled in different ways.  Some you must first take the rotor off to get the side plate off.  The rotor is the part on the front of the reel that the bail wire is attached to.

Pull the spool ratchet and small washers off of the shaft, use your wrench to unscrew the nut and take the rotor off.  After the rotor is off, you should be able to see the anti-reverse mechanism, whether it be the dog type or the instant A/R unit that I talked about before.  If it is the “Dog” type, you can lube it, but if it’s the instant A/R unit, do NOT lube or oil it.  Some of the manufacturers will have a warning on the unit about NOT lubing them.  What the lube does is allow the sleeve to slip inside of the one way bearings, not letting the A/R to function properly.  You can clean the unit up with a paper towel and it will work fine.

To get to the “innards” of the reel, take the side plate off by removing three or four screws.  Some reels have a small cover on the lower rear and bottom of the reel, usually two small screws hold that on.  After the plate is off, remove the screws that hold the shaft in the reel, pull the shaft out of the front of the reel, while remembering to keep parts in order as you go.  Take the drive gear and oscillator gear out of the reel and use the lube to clean the old grease off of the gears and out of the reel.  Some reels may have a worm gear instead of an oscillator gear to allow the spool to move in and out to lay the line on the spool evenly.  If there are bearings in the reel, they will usually be on the top and bottom of the drive gear.  Remove them and if they are in good shape, a drop of oil should keep them working.  Another bearing can be found on the pinion gear, under the anti-reverse unit and can be removed and lubed while working on the anti-reverse.

Once the old grease has been removed, use your brush to apply some super lube or light grease to the gear teeth.  Don’t overdo it.  A little grease can go a long way.  Once you have greased the reel, reassemble the reel in the reverse way you took it apart.  After you get the rotor back on the reel, unscrew the bail where it connects to the bail arm to lube the line roller.  Apply some oil or grease to make sure the roller is moving freely.

Drags are very important to your success in catching fish.  Some are a dry drag and some are a lubricated system.  Make sure you know what type you have before you work on yours.  Usually drags are a combination of metal, fiber, metal, fiber type of set up.  Keep them in sequence and you’ll be alright.  For the lubricated type drag system, I like to use the super lube grease to keep the fiber washers from drying out.  No matter whether it be a Deep Sea, Spinning, Bait Caster or Fly reel, a little lube can keep your handles and moving parts moving freely.  On reels that have a level wind, some oil on the worm gear will help keep them from failing.

This information is based more on tackle used in a “salt water” environment, than in freshwater.  Although care is still needed to maintain your equipment in freshwater, use in Saltwater will have a far more corrosive and damaging effect on your equipment.


Good rod care can be as simple as just a visual inspection of the rod.  Rods have no moving or working parts, other than the hood on the reel seat and the roller on Offshore rods.  Problems start when the reels are left on the rods, especially after being used in saltwater.  Ideally, rods like reels should be washed after each fishing trip.  For good cleaning, remove the reel from the rod, scrub with a light brush, areas around the guides, guide feet and the reel seat.  To keep the reel seat working, screw the reel seat from one end to the other.  Scrub the threads and lightly oil before putting the reel back on the rod.

Cork and foam handles can be cleaned and brightened up easily.  To restore a cork handle to its original light color, sand with a fine sandpaper or extra fine grade paper.  Using a heavier paper will only roughen the finish or remove the cork.  Foam handles can be restored by using a medium or course paper.  To be safe, experiment on a small section of cork or foam to see which grade of sand paper will do the best job.


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