How to maintain a spinning reel

Steps to ensure that big fish doesn’t break off

I’ve had a lifelong distaste for spinning tackle. I have never learned to use it for any accurate casting, and the infernal loops that form in the reel spool drive me nuts.

But there’s no arguing spinning reels have their places. Need to throw a cork for trout or reds? Spinning tackle is the best option — especially on windy days.

Need to skip a finesse lure under a dock to reach hidden bass? Spinning reels are the way to go.

But spinning reels also are magnets for grime that can tear apart these tools.

So it’s important to clean them up from time to time. Here are the steps to ensuring your spinning reels will handle that line-stripping redfish or wily largemouths.

1) Don’t just hose it down

Use a lightly moistened rag to wipe down the reel.
Use a lightly moistened rag to wipe down the reel.

It’s not uncommon for anglers to come off the water, grab the nearest hose and spray off their reels.

However, this simply forces the grit these anglers are trying to remove into the gears.

The alternative is to use a lightly moistened rag to wipe down the reel.

2) Drive-gear bearings

Step 2 - Drive-gear bearings
Step 2 – Drive-gear bearings

Remove the reel handle to access the bearings on either side of the reel frame. Put a couple of drops of oil, and then replace the handle.

Do not remove the bearings or try to degrease them. Just lightly oil them and that’s it.

3) Drive shaft

Step 3 - Drive shaft
Step 3 – Drive shaft

Remove the drag knob on the front of the reel, and pull the spool off of the drive shaft. Then just wipe off the shaft to remove any dirt before adding a bead of oil along both sides of the shaft.

Work the rotor to pull lubrication into the reel. This will help lubricate the clutch and pinion bearings.

4) Line roller/bail hinges

Step 4 - Line roller/bail hinges
Step 4 – Line roller/bail hinges

Add a drop of oil on the line roller and both hinges to ensure the bail performs well.

5) Drag

Step 5 - Drag
Step 5 – Drag

This is what stands between you and broken line, so it’s important to ensure a reel’s drag works flawlessly.

A spinning reel’s drag system is found on front of the spool assembly, and it is composed of several layers.

The drag disks must be reinstalled in the same order in which they came from the factory, so be sure and make note of their order.

Use a small screwdriver to remove the disk or clip in front of the drag stack, and then the washers will drop off the spool shaft. Adding a small dab of drag grease on each washer will ensure they perform as designed.

Wipe out the drag seat and the front of the spool to remove any grit, and then replace the drag washers in the proper order.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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