Do you want to know the best way to clean a fishing reel? Like any other tool or equipment, your fishing reel needs constant maintenance to continue to perform well and remain durable. If you tend to fish in freshwater, you should clean your reel at least once every five fishing trips, while saltwater anglers should clean their reels after each trip.
Never use gasoline, lighter fluid, or similar products to clean an old fishing reel, as these will melt most plastic parts. Soaking is also not the best way to clean a fishing reel, despite widespread advice on the internet. Excess moisture could enter the gear system and cause long-term damage.
Simple Green Marine Multi-Purpose Boat Cleaner is specially formulated to remove grease, grime, oil, gas, diesel fuel, fish blood, and more from washable surfaces in or near marine environments.
If you are not comfortable disassembling and cleaning your fishing reel due to all the small parts, opt to use a professional cleaning service. Follow the best way to clean a fishing reel in the bellow.
The best way to clean a fishing reel
Okay, now let’s move on to how to clean the reel.
As already mentioned, the cleaning process is very simple and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. You just need to follow 7 simple steps:
Step 1: Squeeze the brake
The first thing to do before you start cleaning is to squeeze the brake to prevent water, sand, and salt from entering the inside of the reel.
So before the first drop of water, be sure to turn the drag knob clockwise until you feel that the drag discs are tightly compressed together.
Step 2: Freshwater and soap
Soak a clean towel in a bucket filled with fresh, soapy water, and then wipe the reel with the damp towel. The soap will make the accumulations of salt, oils, and dirt on the reel much easier to remove once we rinse it with water.
If it is a spinning reel, it is also recommended to remove the reel to clean the inner area of the shaft. This is a hidden area that the water may not reach when we wash the reel. So be sure to take care of the bottom of the reel because salt and sand can get in there too.
Also, feel free to use any tool or brush that allows you to get into hard-to-reach places. I use old cotton swabs and toothbrushes to clean the narrow areas on my reels.
Step 3: Rinse the reel
Now is the time to rinse the reel and remove the soap.
The most important thing to remember here is never to put the reel directly under a hose. Also, never apply as much pressure when rinsing the reel. You don’t want to force salt and sand particles onto the internal components.
So keep it soft and gentle here. For an extra layer of security, use just a spray bottle … nothing more.
Make sure to remove the soap from all sides and cover the entire reel.
Step 4: Dry the reel
Now take another clean, dry towel and wipe the reel with it. Then let the reeling air dry for an hour or two.
Step 5: Use a lubricating oil
Lubrication is an important step when cleaning your reel after fishing in saltwater.
As a general rule of thumb, you should only use the oil that comes with the reel or the oils recommended by the manufacturer.
If you don’t have such information, speak to a professional for a recommendation on the oil.
After drying the reel, lubricate all its moving parts that can be accessed from the outside. This includes the handle, the line roller bearing, the clamping arm, and the anti-reverse switch.
Remember to remove any excess oil after you finish lubricating.
Step 6: Spray a protective layer
Spray some protective coating on a clean cloth and wipe off all metal parts of the reel. This includes the reel pin, gearbox, anti-reverse, grab arm, roller … etc.
The protective coating protects against moisture and prevents other corrosive factors from reaching your reel. Therefore, it is very important to use it between fishing sessions.
Personally, I use the WD-40 solution. It’s pocket-friendly, dries quickly, and lasts for a long time.
Another important thing to remember here is to avoid touching the line with the coating as it can cause deterioration in some types of lines.
Step 7: Loosen the drag
Finally, loosen the reel drag to release pressure on its washers until the next fishing trip. This is good practice to keep the drag system in good condition and improve its life.
Quick Tips for Cleaning Your Reel After Fishing
- If there are any, be sure to read the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions before cleaning the reel.
- Never immerse your reel in water. This can leave some water inside the reel and lead to corrosion later on.
- If you are fishing on the beach, pay special attention not to let the reel hit the sand.
- After fishing, it is recommended to cut the section of the line that had the most contact with the salt water.
- Try to bring fresh water when you go fishing. It is good practice to empty the reel from time to time when in the field.
- When spraying water, keep the reel upright. In other words, never flush the reel from the bottom so that water has little chance of getting into the interior components.
- You will need to completely disassemble your reel after every year or two of saltwater use. The goal is to investigate all the components and remove any salt or dirt that cannot be removed with the simple cleaning method. Now unless you are very familiar with this, I recommend that you never go it alone and always ask for the help of a reputable professional. The process involves disassembling all the components and cleaning them thoroughly. It also involves identifying faulty components and replacing them with new ones.
- You will also need to disassemble the reel if it is completely submerged in water or sand to clean and dry all components. So be careful where you put the reel to avoid it.
Reels are one of the most expensive fishing equipment. As a result, they are the ones that deserve most of our attention before, during, and after fishing.
This value is most important and critical when fishing in saltwater and freshwater.
Salt speeds up the oxidation process of metal components and can consequently reduce the performance and life of your reels. Finally, I hope you will follow the best way to clean a fishing reel for your reel.
Learn More: 9 The best fishing reel under 100$