Ron's Catch - Reel Cleaning

The fishing reel is the catalyst that handles most of the workload during a day of fishing, so taking good care of it is very important. Fisherman can be very hard on their equipment and after a few fishing trips with that new fishing reel, it tends to get neglected. No matter your level of experience, the components of a fishing reel such as gears, brakes, and bearings will naturally suffer from wear and tear over time depending on use and care.Ron Johnson, Professional Angler

Some of the largest contributors that will speed up or destroy these vital components of your fishing reel are dirt and dust. Most reels have oil and grease to ensure smooth operation, but those same lubricants that keep your reel working flawlessly also attract the dirt and dust that can destroy those vital parts as well. One way to extend the life of your fishing reel is to prevent dirt from getting inside of these critical moving parts. You can do this by cleaning your fishing reels on a regular basis. Fishing reels today can be pricey, so keeping them clean will save you money and the heartbreak of losing your catch on that next fishing trip.

These are some items you can use to extend the life of your fishing reel:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Towel or soft pad

Rubbing alcohol is perfect for removing grime, but also evaporates quickly so as not to attract any Reel cleaning toolsfurther dust to your reel. The swabs are good cleaning applicators that get into those small fragile
areas where dirt or dust build up. On a spinning reel, I try to clean the areas around the spool, exterior of gear housing, bail arm, power roller, and all areas of the reel handle/crank. If you can remove the reel spool on a spinning reel, you can also get at the spindle for cleaning if needed.

On a baitcasting reel, I recommend cleaning the line guide, level wind, reel crank/handle, and areas around the drag or tension knobs. With regular cleaning, you will get the dirt on the outside before it works its way into the reel housing itself. If dirt does make its way inside the reel housing, you have a bigger job on your hands and may need to send the reel in to the manufacturer or to a specialist for a professional cleaning.

Lastly, putting your rods/reels away inside your boat’s rod compartment before or after a fishing trip fishing reelwill prevent the exposure of road grime from quickly getting all over your equipment. If that is not an option, try to slide them somewhere inside your vehicle. Leaving your rods out for the ride home after a long day of fishing may be convenient, but it’s the quickest way to cover your reels in unwanted dirt
or dust. If the time in between fishing trips is long, I recommend taking your reels off the rods and storing them indoors rather than in a garage or somewhere exposed to the elements of the outdoors.

Following these simple cleaning tips will keep your fishing reels working for a long time, save you money, and most importantly, you’ll never have to worry about losing your catch due to equipment failure again.


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