How to repair and oil your baitcasting reel
Baitcasting reels are great when it comes to chasing both freshwater and saltwater species of fish. Lightning-fast and powerful, this type of fishing reels is manufactured by a number of companies like Shimano, Abu Garcia, Penn, and Daiwa. Depending on your reel model’s specifics and price level, it may remain sturdy and faultless for months; however, even the best baitcasting reels will require maintenance or repair occasionally as their spool slows down and wears due to common use.
Disassembling the baitcaster
Carefully go through the following stages:
- Wipe the spool’s outsides with a linen cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Use a small amount of soapy water if necessary to dissolve and remove stubborn stains. Various debris like pond scum and algae get inside the reel as they are brought in by the fishing line. The overall performance of the reel decreases with excessive dirt buildup.
- Access the spool of your baitcaster by opening or releasing the slide or side panel. This will disengage the spool fixing mechanism and allow you to remove it. Examine the part for damage, such as nicks, cracks, and extreme wear. Use manufacturer’s parts to replace it.
- Examine the gears and all the accessible moving parts related to the spool’s operation. Get rid of any visible debris with a soft brush, and apply a small amount of oil to the undamaged parts (look below for oiling instructions).
- Take off the handle(s) for inspection and cleaning. As a rule, the handle(s) unscrews in reverse from the usual direction of rotation. Clean and lubricate the handle slot. Bear in mind that some reels have a very tight assembly to prevent water and moisture from entering the reel body.
- You can access the insides by removing the small screws that hold the access plates in place. A small blade or screwdriver will usually do. Remove the old oil or grease from the internal gears with a cotton swab and inspect the parts for damage. Apply a few drops of oil and reassemble the reel.
Oiling the baitcaster
Simply put, the parts that require regular oiling are:
- The bearings that help the spool rotate (you might use 3-in-1 oil for these);
- The spool’s axis, in the place where it rotates inside the drive pinion;
- The metal disc of the friction brake (marine grease is great for this and the above one);
- The level wind (if you have one), non-spool bearings and sliding parts (these might do with 80-140 gear oil).
A baitcasting reel’s bearings and axes undergo a great deal of strain when the reel reaches its highest speed, and that is tens of thousands of revolutions per minute. Moreover, this comes in bursts after a period of a relatively relaxed performance. At these conditions, the least amount of friction becomes a handicap in terms of performance and subjects your reel’s mechanism to the risk of accelerated wear. Hence the need to lubricate.
However, you don’t want to over-lubricate, too; this would create a tension in the bearings, affecting their performance most negatively. What’s even worse, the excess oil will spread within the reel as the centrifugal force drives it out of the bearings. The correct approach, therefore, is to add less oil but do this more often, at least where it comes to the fast-rotating parts – the others can do with fewer maintenance sessions.