Spinning Reel Care And Maintenance Guide


The spinning reel is a personal favorite for most anglers. When compared to the spin-cast design, its open-faced design allows its users more accuracy. Unlike most of the baitcasting reels, the spinning reel is much easier to use.

To make sure that your spinning reel serves you for a long time, spinning reel maintenance is necessary. If you like going on regular night fishing trips, you probably already know this. To make the spinning reel maintenance easier for you, we will show you how to clean a spinning reel.

When Should You Perform the Spinning Reel Maintenance

Most fishermen who are familiar with how to clean a spinning reel perform the spinning reel maintenance during the winter season. However, this does not mean there is a specific season to conduct the spinning reel maintenance. You should focus on the maintenance when your reel starts making things harder when you wear your fishing shirt.

If you have gone for a couple of fishing trips in the past without cleaning your reel, chances are, it could be filling up with sand. If you go after the smallmouth bass or the trout or if you like the float-tube ponds, your reel could be taking a lot of abuse. Deeping the spinning reel in freshwater generally removes the valuable grease and oil and then replaces it with crud.

If you use your spinning reel when going after saltwater game fish, the salt can cause serious damage when ignored. The salt corrodes the metal parts of the spinning reel.

Over time, the handle could start sticking in a particular spot during the retrieve. This could end up making the rhythmic presentation tougher.  When the salt is involved, you may start noticing the damage caused by the salt on the spinning reel metal parts.

If you start noticing the above issues, it might be time to sit down with an old toothbrush, some grease, quality reel oil, and rubbing alcohol. An hour of cleaning can make your spinning reel feel new the next time you use it to reel in a catch.

How to Clean A Spinning Reel

The Outside

During spinning reel maintenance, caution is necessary. Having to search for parts of the spinning reel after cleaning it can be extremely frustrating. To avoid this, grab a used egg carton or another empty packet and keep it close to where you will be working on cleaning the spinning reel. Keep the ultra-thin washers you extract from the spinning reel in the carton.

You must have a mat where you can lay the bigger parts. When it comes to putting the spinning reel together, you will be able to do this without having leftover parts.

When cleaning the outside of the spinning reel, the first thing you will need to do is take the spool off. After cleaning the spool shaft, add a couple of drops of the reel oil. Be sure to use the reel oil or molecular oil. Avoid household oil.

When compared to reel oil or molecular oil, household oil tends to harden much quicker. It could end up forming layers of crud on your saltwater spinning reel parts. If crud ends up forming on the reel soon after cleaning it, it will make your saltwater fishing a lot harder. Make sure that the nut present at the bottom of the reel shaft is tight enough.

Squeeze a couple of oil drops on the roller guide that wraps the fishing line around your reel spool. Make sure that you oil the area where the reel spool housing and the bail spring meet. Remove the handle and proceed to apply a couple of oil drops on the handle shaft and the shaft which ends up inside the reel.

The Inside

To understand how to clean a spinning reel on the inside, you have to know how to access the inside of the reel. To have full access to the inside of the spinning reel, you will have to take its side plates off. Make sure that the small screws you remove go into the egg carton.

In the middle, you should be able to see the main bearing. This has to be removed. Lift the bearing of the main gear. If possible, remove the gear too.

Have rubbing alcohol, kerosene, or a degreaser nearby. Drop your main bearing in one of these. This will dissolve the sludgy oil and old grease. Grab an old toothbrush and a degreaser or soapy water. Use these to clean the main gear teeth.

After the cleaning, you will need to allow the parts to air dry. After drying, apply oil to the bearings. Also, apply a small amount of grease to each main gear tooth.

Check the inside part of the reel to see if it has fibers, dirt, sand, crud, or any other type of gunk. If you find gunk, you should avoid using gasoline or spraying the inside with any harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals could end up damaging the plastic parts present on the inside. It could also push the crud into the reel’s inner recesses.

Make sure you grease the spiral worm gear available at the bottom of the reel. Also, the gears present in front of the worm gear should be greased. When greasing these parts, make sure you use a light oil coating.

Any parts which slide along another part have to be greased too. It is important that use the grease sparingly, keeping in mind that it tends to attract both sand and dirt. Both the sand and the dirt will end up impacting the reel’s performance negatively.

Additionally, using too much grease could make the reel feel as if it is full of mud. Instead of making your day a success after you wear your fishing sunglasses, too much grease could make things harder for you over time.

Assembling the Spinning Reel

After following the instructions above on how to clean a spinning reel, you will need to put the reel back together. Before you put your reel back together, you should inspect the components.

If you determine that a particular part may not have the ability to handle fishing until the next spinning reel maintenance session, you will need to replace it. Parts subject to normal wear and tear should be checked for stress cracks.

Putting the spinning reel parts back together shouldn’t be too hard for you if you already observed where each part goes when taking the reel apart. After putting the spinning reel back together, grab your WD-40 and spray it on the outside. Next, wipe it down. After checking to make sure that everything is working as it should, you can start planning your next yellowtail fishing trip.

Globo Surf Overview

Without proper spinning reel maintenance, you could find yourself visiting the market now and then to purchase a new spinning reel. This article shows you how to clean a spinning reel, both on the inside and the outside.

If you follow the instructions we have outlined in this article, you should be able to make even your old spinning reel feel as if you just purchased it. While grease and oil are important, too much can be bad as not enough. Make sure you apply both grease and oil sparingly.

More Fishing Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!