Servicing: Spin Reels

Without maintaining your reel, you can get caught out on the day with your handle not turning, your line roller seized, or your reel sounding like a coffee grinder. These issues can, and do, lead to lost fish, or worse: a reel that is beyond repair. Regardless of whether your gear is worth $100 or $1000, if it is serviced and maintained it will live a long and happy fishing life.

Over the last six years I have been training as a reel technician. I enjoy keeping up with the latest technology and adapting it as an improvement over the status quo. One of the key parts of this is reel grease and oil.

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Alternating monthly over the next eight issues, I will teach you how to maintain different types of reels using the Deuthlon Starter Kit. This will help your reel stay in top condition, in between annual servicing, and will reduce costly replacement parts. In this issue, I will touch upon the core maintenance areas of light spinning reels.

Light spinning reels are great for soft-baiting, light jigging, and my personal favorite: light line stray lining (don’t knock it till you try it). They are renowned for their smooth, light-handed turn. When servicing this type of reel, we use a light grease and tend to lean towards a light oil applied in key areas, to keep the handle rotation smooth and with little resistance.

While a full service involves opening up your reel and should be done annually by a professional, some external care at home can go a long way to keeping it in good condition and prevent part replacement.

For spin gear, the Deuthlon Cast Lube – a ceramic and high-speed bearing oil – can be used to maintain the following parts:

•    Handle
•    Line roller (one of the most commonly replaced parts due to easy saltwater ingress)
•    Anti-reverse switch
•    Main body bearings (left & right)
•    Rotor and bail wire

Doing these simple steps can often be the difference between a simple service, or a costly repair bill in the future. The Deuthlon Starter Kit is a small price to pay to increase the longevity of your hard-earned fishing gear.

Step 1: Apply a couple of drops in between the handle knob and handle shaft, turn the handle knob to get the oil seeping into the bottom bearing. If your handle knob has an oil port, or a cover attached with screws, simply undo and place a couple drops onto the top bearing. Spin handle knob to spread oil into bearing.


Step 2: Apply a couple of drops of oil down the sides of your line roller, a handy tip is to get a short length of line, loop it back over itself over the line roller, and pull side to side to spin. This will allow the oil to penetrate the bearing under rotation. If you are competent with a screwdriver and can remember part location, you can undo the screw and apply oil directly to the bearing. Proceed with caution, as lost parts are just as bad as seized parts. Doesn’t function properly.

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Step 3: If your reel has an anti-reverse switch, apply a drop to the top and to the bottom of the switch post and flick back and forth, allowing the oil to penetrate into the surrounding area. This will prevent the switch seizing and breaking.


Step 4: If your spin reel has a bait feeder mechanism, apply oil to the two posts on either side of the body, and flick the switch back and forth allowing oil to penetrate the posts. I’ve seen many bait feeders which have never been oiled and have seized solid! This prevents that from happening.

Step 5: Undo the side cap on the body of your reel and drop two drops directly onto the bearing. Take off the handle on the opposite side and repeat. Wind handle back on and spin the reel to allow the oil to seep into bearing under rotation.


Step 6: Apply a drop of oil on either side of your bail arm and rotor. Open and close bail wire to move oil between these parts. Salt buildup can happen quickly in this area and cause the bail wire not to open or shut properly. By applying oil in this area, it prevents saltwater ingress and corrosion.

For more on servicing overhead reels:

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By James Gibbons.

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