How Often Should You Oil Your Fishing Reel?

Is taking care of your fishing reel a top priority? If it isn’t now, it should be. Today’s reels aren’t cheap, so you want to do a little preventive maintenance to maximize your good years with them. To help you out, we will go over some of the tools necessary for oiling and cleaning reels, as well as the main dos and don’ts of precautionary reel maintenance.

How Often Should Reel Oiling Take Place?

This would depend on how often you fish. If you fish once a week, you want to clean and oil your reels every other trip. If it is less frequent than that, doing maintenance once a month is usually enough to keep your reels running smoothly.

Nevertheless, whether reels you use reels frequently or keep them sitting in the garage most of the time, they will need regular oiling. That’s because when in use, spool bearings release oil with every cast. On the other hand, when you don’t use them, they can develop rust and start to corrode.

It is especially important to oil reels taken on trips several times a month. The constant exposure to sand, dust, and rain gives you all the more reason to oil or even clean out the plunge completely.

Does the Reel Oil Brand Matter?

The short answer? Yes, it does. Reel oils aren’t created equal, and how well reel maintenance goes depends highly on the oil brand you use. There are oils specially formulated for reel care. You can purchase them individually or as part of the reel maintenance kits you will find at most fishing gear stores.

Tools You Will Need

Before you dive into the actual steps, make sure you have gathered all the right tools. Here’s what you will need to do things correctly:

  • All-in-one cleaner, lubricant, and rust-prevention solution
  • Soft, clean rag
  • Philips head and flathead screwdrivers
  • A good brand of reel oil
  • Q-tips

Another important reminder before getting started is to make sure you are capable of putting the reel back together once you take it apart. If you aren’t confident you can do this, it might be best to leave the task to someone else. Many times, people find themselves unable to assemble their reels completely after disassembling them.

How To Clean and Oil Your Fishing Reel

steps to oil a fishing reel

Although you can have professionals clean and oil your reel for you, you could do just as good a job using the following steps:

Step 1: Once you get out of the water, spray your reel with fresh water.

There are two important reminders for this step. First, spray your reels lightly; don’t submerge them in freshwater. Next, using too much pressure can damage your reels. Both these actions can push salt further inside your reel, damaging its inner workings. Hence, you want to keep water running lightly when washing saltwater and sand off the reels.

Step 2: Remove the spool before you start.

Before you start oiling, make sure the spool is free of sand or any sort of debris. If you see some, wipe them off with a soft, clean rag. Another reason why the spool shouldn’t be attached to the reel for this step is that it could get some of the grease and chemicals on your line.

Step 3: Place a drop of reel oil on the part of the shaft where the spool is.

Once this is done, crank the handle several times to ensure the shaft is completely covered with oil. Take note that a “drop” or a “dab” of oil is enough, as it is never a good idea to go overboard with the oil amount.

Step 4: Oil the area where the handle rotates.

Again, a drop is enough. Wipe the excess off so that it doesn’t make its way to your hands.

Step 5: Put oil where the handle connects to the reel body.

This is a very important that step that most people sometimes forget. As a result, they soon end up with a handle that refuses to budge.

Step 6: Clean and lubricate the roller.

The roller on the bail is among the most crucial parts to maintain. That’s because, under immense tension, lack of mobility in this area could break the line that touches the reel.

Step 7: Tighten the screws on the reel.

Check if there are any loose screws on your reel so that you can tighten them up and prevent your reel from falling apart. The last thing you want is your reel parts breaking off with the first prize on the line.

Step 8: Wipe down the reel using the all-in-one solution.

Let the all-in-one solution do its magic on your reel. This product can reduce corrosion and extend your reels’ lifespan considerably.

Why Reel Care Matters

It doesn’t matter if you use your reels frequently or barely. Taking care of them guarantees they perform better and last longer. If you often fish, cleaning and lubricating your reels every other trip should keep them functioning the way you want on the water. If you only fish occasionally, once a month of maintenance should be good enough.