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It's best to clean your reels annually
for best results

By Bob Neice
The worst enemies of fishing reels are dirt, grime and pollutants from the water you are fishing in. Fishing reels should be cleaned and lubed no less than once a year, or more often if you are a tournament angler. If you prefer take your rod and reels to a tackle repair service. The fall of the year is best for this type of service. If you missed cleaning your reels last fall, then now is the time, but be prepared for a delay of a week or two to get your reels serviced.

If you clean and lube your reels yourself, be careful and deliberate when you disassemble a reel. Lay the parts out in order and reassemble in reverse order. Mineral spirits, or denatured alcohol is good for cleaning gears and mechanisms. Use the alcohol to clean painted parts such as frames, side cover and plastic parts. Gears are the priority parts for grease, oil for most everything else and don't over do it on grease or oil. A little dab will do it.

Use your manual for oil points. I highly recommend using only grease and oil made by reel manufacturers. Vaseline and WD-40 are very poor substitutes. If you fish weekly you should oil bearings and line guide worm shafts. Check your manual.

A word of warning - Some of the newer reels of the last two or three years are very complicated, high tech machines. Some use special lubricants and will not work without them. I strongly suggest you let a tackle sevice company do the work.

One tip I give my customers is to back off the drag after every fishing trip. Leaving the drag on constantly will rapidly decrease the life of a drag system.

Now is also a good time to clean and repair those rods. If the guides are loose or need to be replaced taken them to a tackle repair service. If the rod only needs cleaning use denatured alcohol and use a toothbrush to clean around the guides. Soap and water works well on cork handles, or alcohol for stubborn stains. Wipe the rod down with Armor All to help protect the finish. Remember, good regular maintenance of rods and reels will prolong their life and keep down repair costs.

Another important tip is when spooling on braided line do not tie direct to the spool. Wrap a few yards of monofiliment line on first, then tie the braided line to the mono. The reason for this that if braided line is tied direct to the spool it will slip. Numerous complaints of drags not working turned out to be braided line slipping on the spool. Also, on the subject of braided line, you should check your line guides on reels and the tips and line guides on rods for grooving. If they are grooved have them replaced. The grooves will fray or cut your line.

Good Fishing!

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