You should read our full review on one of the most popular baitcast reels after you’ve finished this guide. Go ahead and check it out.
Regardless of the type of reel you use, always remember to keep your fishing gear clean. You must clean and lubricate brand-new reels, particularly. Now that we know how to properly clean a baitcaster reel, let’s learn how to keep it in great condition for many years.
You rarely have to take it apart
Others fear cleaning a baitcaster reel because they believe it requires disassembly. It may be difficult to put back together, but it shouldn’t be feared and it shouldn’t be done very often. There are technicians who specialize in cleaning your reel, so if you don’t want to clean it yourself, you can ask them to clean it for you.
You should thoroughly clean the item before giving it to someone else to clean. Most importantly, wipe the outside cover with a dry, clean towel. This way you’ll get the dirt, debris, and other items out of the reel itself before continuing.
Next, remove the side plate to reveal the spool within. There may be debris underneath, so tap it gently to remove it. After the spool is removed, use special care when cleaning the reel. Q-tips work wonders for this, so you should use them. Use something like rubbing alcohol to get the dirt that is stuck on.
Make sure to explore all locations where dirt is most likely to be found. If you’re lucky, you will be able to access the inner rubber ring and rubber guards, so once you get there, make sure to clean everything thoroughly. You must disassemble the reel in order to do more than this.
The soft cleaning
When it comes to reels, the process is easy; you just need to have hot water, a small brush (like a toothbrush), and dish soap nearby. These parts are clean and simple. Since anything that works in your house and helps your dishes should be fine, some people advocate for certain kinds of dishwashing soap.
Using any harsh chemicals is unnecessary. Carb cleaner, acetone, brake cleaner, or something like that is sometimes suggested, but there’s no real need for substances like that. Instead of purchasing expensive hand soap, you can use warm water, a toothbrush, and dish soap to clean your dishes.
There are harsh chemicals you can use on the metal parts of the reel, but not on the exposed ABS parts. Just a heads-up: Don’t risk using potentially dangerous chemicals on anything made of plastic or similar materials, as you don’t know what could happen to the plastic part and it could melt. Make sure you watch out for the toxic fumes created by strong chemicals. Even if you feel that you need to wear safety equipment like gloves, a mask, and goggles, stay safe at all times.
With water, a toothbrush, and soap, you can clean bearings. However, bear in mind that the bearings need to be immersed in a solvent to do the trick, so mix the soap with the water, let the bearings sit for a while, and then wash off the excess. Cleaning the bearings is a trial-and-error process, and it depends on how dirty they are.
Going in with the harsh chemicals
You will have to use a harsher solvent occasionally to get the residue off the bearings, so bear that in mind. Some type of fuel/lighter fluid can be used in order to make use of a brake cleaner, carb cleaner, or acetone. Every one of them does a similar job, getting the dirt off.
The information is readily available; it is a commonly known fact that this solvent, one of these, outperforms the others and leaves nothing behind. Although you may be correct, there are no known studies about this, so you may try all of these things and see which one works best for you.
You can also use some of these but none are suitable for day-to-day use, so be careful when using them. Additionally, don’t let the solution settle in one of your primary rooms; the fumes will spread throughout the house.
You can use an ultrasonic cleaner to make cleaning the bearings go faster. While this is the modern alternative, it’s not the only option. There are good deals to be found if you are looking for bargains. Although it’s similar to a dishwasher in that it cleans the machine’s bearings, you have to wash your machine by hand if you want to get rid of every last speck of dust.
Let’s keep in mind that these types of machines are typically used by professional cleaning services that are responsible for cleaning hundreds of reels every year. Just out of curiosity, you know if you hate cleaning your fishing gear, right? There are services like this that will do it for you.
Keeping things simple
It is best to keep things simple when you are cleaning the baitcaster reel for the first time. Instead of using large glasses that you wouldn’t ordinarily use, put the bearings in two or more small glasses. Until the bearings are completely covered, use enough solvent to fill each glass. Caulk around them with a spray sealant like Plátano to keep the fumes inside.
It is important to take care of the spool bearings, so keep them away from the others. Shielded bearings also exist. Keep those away from each other. The solvent will be better able to reach the dirty parts, so it is good to do this.
There isn’t a specific amount of time when you are using acetone, lighter fluid, or something like that when submerging the bearings in cleaning fluid. Each case is different, and you need to decide for yourself. Additionally, the fluid must be exchanged from time to time if it becomes too dirty and you notice that it isn’t working as it should.
It depends on how clean you want your reel to be, but how many times you change it depends on you. The shielded bearings are one of the more difficult-to-clean parts. In general, those bearings that have a heavier lube will also require more time to come free of their lube and will also need to be cleaned and refilled more frequently.
Once you know which bearings are clean, use special bearing-removal tools to safely and quickly remove them from the fluid. Then leave them to dry. Instead of keeping them in an environment that may cause excessive air flow, it is better to keep them in an environment where good airflow can be maintained. Use your hair dryer to speed up the drying process.
The hardest parts to clean will be the bearings, so once you finish with them, the rest of the machine will be clean, dry, and ready for lubrication and assembly.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.