Rik, here is an extract from an old article I did for Tas Fishing and Boating mag. I hope you find it helpful. Here goes;
Correct fishing reel maintenance and servicing procedures are something that is of prime importance to all anglers regardless of the type of reel used or the reelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s application. A well maintained reel performs at its optimum level and assists the angler by operating without a fault whilst fishing, having a smooth drag with a light initial let off to respond to a sudden run from a hooked fish.
These qualities will also greatly increase an anglerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enjoyment while fishing as we go fishing to fight the fish, not our equipment. A well maintained reel also outlasts a poorly maintained reel which is another excellent reason to perform these simple basic steps. In this article I will discuss the maintenance procedures which apply to the threadline or eggbeater type of reel which is by far the most popular type of reel used in Australia.
Daily maintenance procedures
Several simple steps should be observed and completed at the end of each days fishing. Firstly if the reel has been used in a saltwater environment and there was either a sea breeze or the reel was placed in a rod holder or rocket launcher while travelling from spot to spot in the boat it will have had salt spray collected on the outside of the reel housing. This salt spray firstly needs to be removed.
The thing not to do here is to throw the reel into a bucket of water or to lay the rod and reel down on the grass and blast it with the hose. The reason you do not simply throw the reel into a bucket of water is because by doing this the inside of the reel will fill up with freshwater which will begin to break down the reels internal lubrication.
The reason for not laying a reel down on the ground and just blasting it with the hose is because by lying the reel down on its side and then hosing the reel will result in the salt being absorbed by the water. This water will be forced into the inside of the reel through the gap between the rotor and the top of the housing where it will firstly break down the reelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s internal lubrication and then when the water evaporates, leave the salt inside the reel where it is now in with the unprotected bearings and gearing which have become unprotected when the reelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s internal lubrication has broken down.
Now that we know how not to remove this salt, what is the right way to remove it? Firstly leave the reel on the rod, and either hold the rod in your hand with the tip facing the 12 oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock position or place the rod in a flush mount rod holder. The reason for this is simple. A threadline reel is designed to be used with the spool facing upwards. This results in the water running down the reel rather than into the reel if a fine spray is used. Using a dustpan brush, and some warm soapy water, thoroughly scrub the outside of the reel, starting at the top of the spool and the line and working your way downwards paying special attention to around the screw heads, bail arm and other places where salt can become trapped and build up.
The next procedure is to tighten up the drag to prevent water from getting into the drag. Adjust your hose so that it is spraying out a light mist just sufficient to wash off the soap. Either dry the reel or leave the reel outside to dry. Do not store the reel while still wet and when storing reels, store them in neoprene or cloth bags that breathe and allow the moisture to evaporate. Fully loosen off your drag as this will prevent your drag washers from compressing and contribute to a smooth drag.
Next oil the handle knob, preferably using a Teflon based lubricant such as Triflow for example with a lightweight sewing machine oil being acceptable. Also oil the line roller by particularly or fully unscrewing the line roller screw and using one of the oils mentioned previously. This is of particular importance with reels featuring ball bearing line rollers.
Annual maintenance procedures
Your reel will require a full service every 6-12 months depending on usage. This is achieved by fully dissembling the reel, removing all of the old lubricants as well as any salt or foreign matter before relubricating and reassembling the reel. This is easier than it sounds because threadline reels are simple to disassemble and reassemble if care is taken and the parts are laid out systematically in the same order ands the same side up as which they were removed from the reel.
Firstly remove the spool by undoing the drag knob all of the way or by pushing the spool release button on reels offering this feature. Remove the drag washers and noting their sequence in which they were removed from the reel. Next remove the handle and oil the handle knob.
Remove the side plate screws and loosen the rotor nut which will be visible with the spool removed and feature the shaft running up through it. With the rotor nut loosened off, the side plate should be able to be removed. This will expose the gearing and the oscillation system of the reel. Spin the rotor until the main shaft is at the bottom of the stroke. This will expose the screw which retains the main shaft.
Remove the main shaft and the main gear. Remove the rotor. Once the rotor is removed, the bail system can be disassembled and cleaned as can the line roller and its bush or bearing. Higher end reels these days utilise a two speed or worm drive oscillation. This looks like and operates in the same manner as a level wind on an overhead reel.
When disassembling a worm drive oscillation reel, be careful that when it comes time to reassemble the oscillating system that the pawl and worm is lightly oiled and the pawl is tracking along the length of the level wind worm before tightening the pawl cover. Remove the screws retaining the ball bearing or one way roller bearing cover and remove the bearing(s) and the pinion gear.
The reel is now fully disassembled. To service the reel, remove all old lubrication and foreign materials, cleaning the parts just before they are installed back into the reel. To clean your bearings, the old lubricants can be removed by soaking in acetone and once the acetone is evaporated using compressed air to blow out any grit or sand. Do not use ait from an air compressor as this has moisture in the lines, use compressed ait that comes in an aerosol can from computer shops and which is used to clean peripheral devices.
Oil the bearings using a light oil such as Triflow or Lanaguard although again a light sewing machine oil will suffice at a pinch if this is all that is available. Lightly grease all gearing and moving metal parts using a lightweight reel grease, preferably one containing Teflon. Apply all lubricants sparingly, just a light coverage on all surfaces where necessary. Oil the oscillating system paying particular attention to the bushes or bearings as well as the worm and pawl on reels featuring two speed oscillating systems.
Reassembly is the reverse procedure to disassembling with the addition of cleaning and lubricating the various components as the reel is assembled. By laying the parts out in the right order and facing the same direction as which they were removed from the reel you can not get into any trouble. When I used to perform this service for customers, as I was always overwhelmed with work I used to say to them, give it a go if you get stuck bring it into me disassembled making sure not to loose any parts. It was rare to get a customer who needed to bring one in when they laid the parts systematically in front of them as they removed them as they could always work out where those parts went.
There is one exception where you should throw your reel into a bucket of freshwater. This is when the reel has been fully submerged in saltwater and it should be thrown into a bucket of freshwater and left there until the reel is serviced as it will not start to rust or corrode until removed from the freshwater.
Using the correct maintenance procedures will add years to the life of your favourite reel and ensure that it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let you down when you have hooked that trophy fish. You will gain far more enjoyment from your fishing when not struggling with a reel that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t performing at its optimum level. When your tackle is performing at its optimum level, fishing is far more enjoyable and stress free. These simple doÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ts detailed below will keep your tackle performing at its optimum level.
Simple doÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ts
Do always keep your reel clean and dry
Do regularly oil your handle knob and line roller
Do ensure your reel is fully serviced once or twice a year.
Do back your drag off after each fishing trip
Do remove saltwater spray from the exterior of the fishing reel using the methods previously mentioned.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw the reel in a bucket of water
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hose your reel using high pressure sprays or when the reel is laying on the ground.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t use WD/CRC types of sprays as these are actually penetrating solvents and will begin to break down the reelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s internal lubrication.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t store your reel in plastic or non breathable bags particularly when wet.
Catch ya Scott