How to Oil a Fishing Reel

Fishing reels need regular maintenance for optimal functionality. This includes cleaning and oiling moving parts to protect them from the elements while ensuring smooth operation.

If you just got your first fishing reel, one of the questions you may have is how to oil one. First, it is essential to understand how a fishing reel is set up since you will need to disassemble it before oiling.

Below you will find a step-by-step guide on oiling a fishing reel, including what you need for the job. You will also find answers to some of the most common questions around oiling a fishing reel.

Key Takeaways

The best oils for your fishing reels are those labeled as reel-safe; they have thermal stability, are anti-corrosive and water-resistant.

You need a clean, well-lit surface to oil your fishing reel.

It is essential to clean all the parts before oiling. This will remove dirt, debris, and grime to pave the way for oil to penetrate.

Reel parts that require oiling are the bail, spool, bearings, handle, knobs, and gears.

Things You Need To Oil a Fishing Reel?

The first step to maintaining your reel is ensuring you have all the necessary supplies for the job. So, what can you use to oil your fishing reel? Anglers argue that any type of oil works fine, but you may be causing more harm than good using just about any oil [1].

The best oils for fishing reels are those that are labeled as reel-safe. These oils are quite an investment; however, they do the job right and protect your reel from the elements while ensuring maximum reel performance.

When looking for an appropriate oil, check for thermal stability, anti-corrosion properties, and water resistance. These qualities work together to protect your reel parts while enhancing performance in a single application.

What else do you need to oil your fishing reel?

  • A well-lit surface
  • Paper Towels
  • Q-tips
  • Screwdriver (some reels require disassembling some parts).

Where To Oil A Fishing Reel?

It is essential to understand where to oil your fishing reel. You want to ensure that the parts you oil are the right ones to avoid damage to those that do not need oiling. That said, here are the parts of a fishing reel that require oiling:

  • Main shaft
  • Knobs
  • Line roller
  • Handles
  • Bail arm springs
  • Anti-reverse bearing
  • Gears
  • Bearings.

Some of the parts are hard to reach and require disassembling for easy application. A good idea is to dismantle the reel and use stickers to label all the parts for easy assembly once you’re done.

How To Oil a Fishing Reel

Once you have all your supplies in place, including the disassembled reel, it is time to oil the parts. Below is a step-by-step process of how to oil a fishing reel [2].

Step 1: Preparing Your Workspace

Prepare your work area and ensure it is well-lit for easy visibility all through the process. Choose a flat surface and lay a clean cloth to protect the surface underneath. You can work on a table, the floor, or any other surface as long as it is clean.

Step 2: Start With The Bail

Start by opening the bail to clean it easily and have it ready for oiling. Use a cleaning solvent on the bail connection points and the line roller. Using a bristle brush, lightly scrub the bail and wipe dry to remove any dirt.

Once clean, use a few drops of reel oil and apply to the bail connection points. Make sure you open and close the bail several times to get the oil to the deepest points of the bail.

Step 3: Oil The Spool

Use a screwdriver to remove the drag knob, then pull out the spool from the reel body. Apply cleaning solvent to the drag knob, the interior of the spool, and the exposed areas. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the dirt or excess oil.

If the crevices have debris or grime, use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean. Apply a few drops of reel oil to the gears and the main shaft. Once the oil has been distributed well, put the spool back and reattach the drag knob.

Step 4: Oil The Bearings

Start by removing the screw cap on the body, then unscrew and remove the reel handle. Use a cotton swab to wipe clean the bearings removing dirt, debris, or excess oil. Apply a drop of reel oil to each bearing and joint on the handle. Reassemble the handle and the screw cap.

Step 5: Oil The Reel Body

After oiling all the moving parts of the reel, wipe down the entire reel using a few drops of oil and a clean cloth. This will add a layer of protection for water to bead off during use.


Can You Use Vegetable Oil On Fishing Reel?

It is not advisable to use vegetable oil or any other kind of grease used in the kitchen. Vegetable oils have entirely different properties than reel-safe oils. One of the most significant properties is viscosity, which increases in cold temperatures [3].

Therefore, if you use vegetable oil on your reel and take it outside where temperatures change drastically, that will affect the performance of your reel. Additionally, vegetable oil washes out quickly and will not offer protection to the reel for a long time.

Can You Use Gun Oil On Fishing Reels

Some anglers argue that gun oil is an excellent alternative to reel oils. Well, gun oil is, for the most part, ideal for use on a reel. But, It is not applicable to all reel parts. The oil will not cause any damage, but it can be too thick for components such as reel ball bearings.

You can use gun oil on your fishing reel, but consider getting a reel-safe oil for bearings specifically. You want to ensure the moving parts are well-lubricated and protected from the elements.

How Often Should You Oil A Fishing Reel?

There is no definite time to wait to oil your fishing reel. How regular oiling gets depends on how often you use your fishing reel. The idea is to check for signs of drying or oil depleting, in which case you should oil your fishing oil.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to oil your fishing reel is an integral part of using your fishing gear. Well-lubricated reels perform incredibly, and in the long run, you will save money on repairs or replacements.

Oiling your fishing reel ensures all the moving parts function optimally while staying protected from the elements. Additionally, oils help to reduce friction contributing to the longevity of your fishing reel.

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