How To Clean A Bait Cast Fishing Reel

Fishing reels need proper cleaning and maintenance to prolong their life. It can get dirty when exposed to too much salty water, sand, dirt, or debris. They do not require regular cleaning routines. But when they get dirty, it isn’t easy to cast with them. Cleaning prolongs their lifespan and gives you a smooth cast as an angler. In this post, we’ll look at different ways on how to clean a baitcasting fishing reel. So let’s get started!

Things You Will Need

Before cleaning this reel, you will need to have the right tools to assemble it to properly clean. These tools are readily available in the local hardware store.

      • Isopropyl alcohol
      • Screwdriver
      • Dry paper towels
      • Toothbrush
      • Lubricants
      • Cotton swabs

Choose Your Cleaners And Lubricants

When cleaning a baitcasting reel, what you choose to clean it with is very important. Isopropyl alcohol is what most people use for light cleaning. However, if it needs a thorough cleaning, it is best to use crystal simple green cleaner. Some cleaners are not the best option for WD-40 since they leave a residue when done cleaning. Ensure the cleaning solvent doesn’t leave any residue on the reel.

After each cleaning, most of these components require you to lubricate them except the gear teeth. Some of the lubricants you can choose from include WD-40 degreaser, Shimano, Ardent, among others.

How To Clean A Bait Cast Fishing Reel

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Remove Spool Assembly

Place the fishing on a clean working surface on top of paper towels to avoid losing the parts you will dismantle. Remember to master how you take them apart when removing them when you have to do the reverse of it when putting it together. The best way is to keep them in the order of removal; this way, you do not accidentally forget what goes in first and the last component to put back.


Remove The Reel And Clip The Lure

The first thing you want to do is remove the reel from the fishing rod if you’re going to ease the cleaning process. You will need to clip the lure in the fishing line and then use tape to keep it secure to the spool. It helps in keeping the line fit tightly on the spool.


Open The Latch

Check to see if the reel you have has a pin, tension rod, a knob, or even a latch. Do not forget to release the brake plate.


Open The Brake Plate

You get to remove the brake plate after you have unlocked it. After opening the brake plate, you can access the spool and remove it. You will notice most of the dirt gets collected in this area. Clean it with a toothbrush and some alcohol. Lubricate it bearing oil when done cleaning.

How To Clean A Bait Cast Fishing Reel

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Worm Gear

You will find this gear underneath the line; dirt and dust get concentrated too on this area. Clean the worm gear appropriately. It’s clean when it doesn’t feel gritty any more. After it gets clean, lubricate it with grease to make it smooth when reeling. Do not disassemble the warm gear but clean it with a toothbrush and a green solvent. Dry it and then grease it with oil. It is good to be extra careful to avoid damaging the teeth of the gears.


Pinion Gear And Brake Collars

Do not forget to clean the brake collars and the pinion gear. All the components need to get cleaned if you assembled the entire parts.


Clean Spool Assembly

The spool assembly will collect more dirt and store a lot of debris. It is located on the left-hand side of the lower reel on the rear side. You will see the dirty places and clean them with the toothbrush to clean the visible parts starting from the exterior. If you do not have a toothbrush, use cotton swabs with the alcohol. A properly cleaned wheel assembly won’t store any dirt or salt and won’t be prone to wear or tear.


Brake Case And Spool Bearing

This area needs to get cleaned, too, if you want a smooth and quiet operation on your reels. Do oil it to get a smooth performance when you cast it during the fishing time.

How To Clean A Bait Cast Fishing Reel


Level Wind System

Use the same method to clean the level wind system. After cleaning, ensure you grease it to prevent possible tear and wear.


The Body Of The Reel

Unscrew the reel from the body as you tightly hold the plate light. Remove all screws that hold the plate and the handle together. Place the side sideways, and the handle should be facing upwards. It is easier to lift the reel from the body when in this position. Be careful and do this gently to avoid losing the springs that are under the plate.

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Clean The Plate

Check the entire plate to see the places that need cleaning. Just like all the other parts, grease the area after doing the cleaning. A drop of bearing oil is enough to keep it lubricated.


Clean The Gear Teeth

Use the toothbrush also to clean out the big gear teeth. Unlike other components, this one does not need to be greased after it gets cleaned.   


Put Everything Back

When all the components are dirt-free, reassemble them back. Ensure you oil all the parts before putting them back. After all the pieces are well placed, test it by reeling the handle. Check also the brakes and adjust the handles. If it’s not working correctly, repeat the process once more until it feels perfect. In the end, the reel should be well cleaned, lubricated and all the components attached correctly.

Before cleaning a bait cast reel, place it where the components will be safe from accidentally getting lost when removing them apart. Instead of paper towels, you can use a piece of clothing and place the reel on it. Clean equipment appropriately and only lubricate the parts that can be lubricated. A toothbrush works best than a cotton swab when you want to scrub stubborn dirt on the components. Lastly, dry and apply the recommended lubrication needed.


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