Conventional & Baitcasting Reel Repair & Maintenanceby Capt. Terry Rand
Conventional and baitcasting reel repairs and maintenance are generally best left to the professionals. An assortment of necessary tools, oil, reel grease and some mechanical know-how are required to be successful in completing the needed maintenance. But, there may be times when you just can’t wait for someone else to fix your reel. You may find yourself in a far away location (like on a Fly-in Canadian fishing trip) and you just have to get that reel working again right away. The following information will give you some guidance and some confidence in cracking open that pesky reel and getting her back into fish catching condition. This information will also aid the beginner in learning the ins and outs of spinning reel repair. Most conventional reels work on the same basic gear drive design. There may be some parts variations on some reel models that are not mentioned in these procedures. But, they mostly all work in the same general fashion.
Important Note: When performing reel maintenance it is very important to have the reel’s parts schematic by your side for reference during the procedure. Also, it is extremely beneficial to use a digital camera to take close up pictures of the reel parts BEFORE you start removing parts. These pictures will aid you in putting the reel back together properly. Also, remove parts very slowly and carefully as many spinning reels will contain very small parts including springs that may easily be dropped on the floor, never to be found again. Provide yourself with a large, clean work surface.
- Reel grease
- Reel oil
- Assortment of Philips head and flat head screwdrivers
- Ratchet and assorted heads
- Clean rags
- Small brush (a small toothbrush works well)
1) Remove the reel handle by unscrewing the nut that holds it in place. Next, unscrew the star drag by turning it counter clockwise. Set these parts aside.
2) Remove the screws from the reel’s side plate (right side). It is usually held on with four screws. Carefully remove the side plate. The main gear assembly will detach with the side plate. Set these parts aside. Also, remove the spool from the reel case.
3) You will now be left holding the empty reel case. Use a clean rag to remove any old grease, dirt and sand from the inside of the reel casing. Apply a small smear of grease to the clicker mechanism on the inside of the left side plate.
4) If the reel has a level wind mechanism you can apply grease to the worm gear that drives the level wind. Spread the grease by engaging the level wind manually by turning the small level wind drive gear located on the inside of the left side plate. Then, apply a small amount of grease to all of the teeth of the level wind drive gear.
5) Inspect the spool and remove any old grease, dirt and sand and then apply a drop of oil to the spools end pins. Replace the spool inside the reel case.