Easy Reel Maintenance To Prolong The Life Of Your Reel

In this blog we will outline the proper way to care for your reels after your trips during the season. We receive several calls a week on the proper maintenance of reels after daily use. We will outline what we suggest that we have learned over the years. It does not take long to go through a maintenance check list on your reels after a full day or multi days use on the boat. These steps will help prolong the life of your reel, but like any mechanical device, annual check-ups are also recommended.

After a full day of fishing, reels will take a full saltwater bath, especially if they are in the gunnels or rod holders on a big boat. Saltwater will find its way all over the reels, and one of the first things we do is rinse the reels with freshwater. Many anglers often tell us they rinse their reels down with fresh water out of the hose, but that can be the beginning of internal problems within the reel, especially the bearings. A full blast of freshwater on the outside of the reels will push saltwater particles through the spool and frame opening into the internal working parts, leading to the beginning of corrosive decay especially on the side plate, spool bearings, and drag.

We have learned the best thing to do is to lightly rinse the reels at low pressure, or even use a spray bottle with freshwater then wipe the reels off. We have seen big boat deckhands take buckets of freshwater,  dip rags in them, ring them out, then wipe the reels down. (Submerging reels into freshwater buckets is not recommended since it will also drive the salt particles into the reel.) This gets all the saltwater off the reel without pushing corrosive materials into the reel. When you are rinsing or wiping reel make sure it is in gear this way you can have some protection on the drag surfaces as the friction plates are engaged.

We usually let the reel set for a day after the wipe down then put the lever drag at a lower setting and hold onto the spool while turning the handle. This clears away any possible contaminants on the drag as well as the bearings leaving it working perfectly for the next trip.(Breaking working parts loose from any contaminants) We store our reels just in drag at a lower setting so there is not a lot of pressure on the side plate bearings. When storing reels for a longer period of time we put them in freespool with the clicker on which takes all the pressure off the bearings.

Once we have completed the cleaning and break loose steps mentioned above we take the reel off the rod every couple trips to lubricate several working parts as well as areas of the reel that go unforgotten since a lot of anglers keep their combos connected, rod/reel together, putting them away in the rack or in the corner of the garage. These preventive steps take no time at all and will preserve the working integrity of  your reel for seasons to come.

Here are the main things we focus on when lubricating the reels:

You need these two lubricants which are available at tackle dealers or online here at Accurate.



Reel X
Cal’s Grease










Check out this page: Reel Lubricants

Reel X is a protecting lubricant for the moving parts as well as fixed parts in the reel. Cal’s Grease forms a barrier to prevent any corrosive intrusion. Both are sold online at above link.

Once the reel is off the rod one thing that is over looked is the screws holding on the reel foot. Take Reel X and in one motion lubricate the screw all the way around the head as shown.








Another key area to lubricate is the studs that hold your reel clamp on. If you do not pay attention to this area they will fuse together over time making it extremely difficult to remove.








It’s extremely important to lubricate the 2 – speed mechanism to keep your reel working efficiently. One drop where the plunger recesses into the handle and actuating the plunger several times will keep it in perfect working order.









Another really important place to lubricate is the bearing at the base of your handle arm as shown. This keeps you in top running condition ready to handle the next gamefish battle.








A drop of oil by your drag knurled knob setting is key so you can adjust your drop appropriately. Turn the knurled knob forward until you see the threads and put a couple drops on the threads. Put your reel in freespool and turn the knurled knob back and forth to spread the lubricant over the threads.








Another really important thing to do is, using Cal’s grease or a thicker viscosity grease, apply a coating to the torque heads on the screws to your side plate. This will prevent any future problems with corrosion and let you get the side plate off for your annual service.








Last thing to remember if you are using the reel clamp is to put a drop of Reel X in the nut and lubricate the threads on your studs. People will let a reel sit on a rod for the entire off-season and wonder why the nut is so hard to get off. By doing this the nuts will come right off if necessary.









The maintenance steps we have outlined for  you above have worked for Team Accurate throughout our fishing travels so we know them to be proven. Watch the lubricants you use on your reel as some of them have additives that will destroy different properties within your bearings, grease on your drags, and other working parts within the reel as it pertains to manufacture’s code. Use the lubricants suggested by the manufacture to stay within the warranty. Blue grease does not have the same properties as the Cal’s grease mentioned above and WD 40, which we see people use, will take its toll on the reel. You can also look at other products to reduce salt on reels like Getsome.

If you every have any questions on your reels you can contact your local reel repair guy or hit us up at service@accuratefishing.com.

Hope these Maintenance steps help you better understand how to take care of your prize possessions. For you to catch that fish of a lifetime your gear has to be in good working order. Take care of your reels, check the guides on your rod, and make sure you cinch your knots. Prior Planning will help land future fish.

Hope all your lines are tight ones.


Team Accurate


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