How to Clean a Fishing Reel

Your fishing reel can go unnoticed, yet it is one of the essential fishing items. You may overlook how regularly your fishing reel needs to be cleaned, which may cost you more in the long run.

On one hand, it could be a typical case of assuming your fishing reel does not need regular cleaning. On the other hand, you may want to clean it regularly but do not know how to, maybe because you are not as handy when it comes to fishing gear.

In this article, you will learn how to clean your fishing reel, including what you need to use to ensure effective cleaning.

Key Takeaways

Cleaning your fishing reel is as essential as oiling it to ensure it functions at its best all through.

You should avoid harsh cleaning solvents and tools to preserve the protective coating on your reel’s parts

After cleaning, you should ensure all the parts are dry and oiled before reassembling and storing the reel away.

What You Need To Clean a Fishing Reel

You need to put your cleaning supplies together before you start cleaning. Here is what you need:

  • A set of screwdrivers
  • Small brush or toothbrush for scrubbing
  • Toothpicks to reach crevices
  • Tweezer to pick debris from the parts
  • A wrench
  • Cotton swabs or Q-tips
  • A high-quality cleaning solution
  • A small container to hold all the supplies
  • A clean and dry cloth or rag
  • Reel oil to use after cleaning.

These are the essential items you need to clean your fishing reel well. When choosing a cleaning solution, consider a boat cleaner. Boat cleaners are formulated to handle grease, dirt, grime, oil, and fish blood, therefore effectively remove the toughest stains on your reel.

Avoid harsh solvents to clean your fishing reel. You want to avoid anything like gasoline or similar lighter fluids as they will remove the protective coating and destroy the plastic parts of your reel.

How To Clean a Fishing Reel

Cleaning a fishing reel is simple and straightforward; however, there are a few things you should avoid. One, you should not soak your fishing reel before cleaning. Some people recommend soaking to get the dirt off, but this does more harm than good to your reel.

As much as your fishing reel needs a deep clean, soaking it will increase the chances of water entering the gear system, affecting its functionality. Even if your fishing reel is high quality, it may not adapt to the excess moisture when soaked.

Another thing you should avoid is over scrubbing your reel during cleaning. Most parts come with a protective layer that shields the internal metals from water damage. When you scrub this layer off, you expose the metal to moisture which can deteriorate its quality over time.

Here are steps to follow when cleaning a fishing reel [1].

Step 1: Prep

Get a clean flat surface to use as your workspace when cleaning the reel. A flat, stable table or a clean floor can work great. Also, have a notebook handy where you can write down the parts as you take them apart. That way, it will be easy to assemble them after cleaning.

A good option is having stickers and using them to label the parts. This will help you organize what part goes after the other and make the assembly process more manageable.

Set out all your supplies on the worktop and have everything at arms reach for easy use during cleaning.

Step 2: Taking The Reel Apart

The best way to clean your fishing reel is by taking the components apart; to reach every corner of it. Start by removing the line from the spool. Alternatively, you can secure the line with masking tape to prevent it from tangling.

Next, use the wrench to remove the reel cover and take off the spinner head and spool. Remove the center shaft, then take out the crank handle, clutch ring, washers, and crank bearing. You will need tweezers to remove these as they are pretty delicate.

Set the parts aside in a safe place in the order in which you remove them. This will help you put them back together once it is time to assemble the reel.

Step 3: Cleaning The Reel

After taking everything apart, use a clean toothbrush and the cleaning solution to clean the parts lightly. Start with the exterior of your reel and gradually move to the inside, paying attention to any soiled parts.

The best way to do this is to clean the more significant parts first then move to the small delicate parts. After removing all the grease and dirt, use a clean cloth to wipe down all the parts. You may need to hold the fragile parts with a tweezer to make sure they are clean all-around.

After cleaning and drying all the parts, ensure you use reel oil to lubricate before assembly. Start with the crank and the shaft, then oil the arms, washers, center shaft, and bushings.

Also, oil the handle knobs, the ball bearings, and the kick lever. Do not forget the clutch ring and the spool before putting everything back together [2].

Step 4: Assembling the Reel

After oiling the reel components, assemble them back, paying attention to what goes before the other. If you had marked the parts or organized them in the order, you took them out, follow that sequence to put everything back together.

Keeping Your Fishing Reel Clean

Cleaning your reel in detail may not be practical, especially if you need to use it regularly. But, you can do a few things to keep it clean and cut the number of times you need to set it apart to clean.

One of the things you need to do is rinsing your line and spool after each fishing trip. This is because saltwater can easily damage the reel if left to dry on the surface. Run the reel under clean fresh water to remove any sediments and traces of saltwater.

Another thing you can do is ensure your fishing reel dries entirely before storage. This will ensure all the moisture evaporates, minimizing the chances of rusting.

Also Read: How to Oil a Fishing Reel

The Bottom Line

Cleaning your fishing reel will contribute to its longevity, of course, fresh water, considering how you use it and how often you clean. The simple process above can come in handy to clean your fishing reel and keep it functioning condition all through.

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