Reel Tips and Techniques

Many of today's anglers are indicating a much higher interest in their equipment, interest such as, servicing and tuning, changing out bearings, and jazzing up the gear ratios. They are constantly pushing their reels to the edge of design. Connie and Tommy Kilpatrick published most of these tips and tricks some time ago and are gracious enough to allow us to use them. I am adding some of my suggestions as well. I hope you will find the following information interesting and beneficial to you in your efforts regarding your equipment


This part stops handle from turning backwards. It is either one of two types. The older reels have a anti-reverse dog that is mounted on a frame post and it has 2 claws and it must straddle the drive shaft ratchet. The other type is called an Instant Anti-Reverse (IAR) and it is mounted in the cranking side plate on the drive shaft.

ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee)

Bearing manufacturers design and manufacture their bearings to meet this standard. The number following the ABEC the 1-3-5-7 indicates the tolerance of the bearing. The higher the number, the tighter the tolerance. Most reel manufacturers have Precision Miniature Bearings in their reels.

Bearing clip removal/installation

These are the retaining clips that hold bearings in place. Usually Octagon shaped. Removing a clip is fairly simple. Put your forefinger or a small piece of tape over the bearing clip, use a pair of tweezers and grab the clip, slide tweezer ends toward the clip end and pull end of clip in and lift out the clip. All the while, keeping forefinger over the clip. Be careful, they sometimes take on a life of their own. Using bright colored tape helps to locate the clip (when) it takes a life of its own and flies across the room. Installing is just as easy. Put your forefinger over bearing cavity, using tweezers install the back of the bearing clip and one side and then slide the tweezer up towards the free end of clip pull in and push down.

Bearing Removal

Unfold a paper clip, bend one end at a right angle about 1/8 inch from the end. Now, you have a bearing puller. Insert right angle inside the bearing and lift out. This may take a little effort if the bearing has not been removed in some time.At times a heaver gauge paper clip will make it easier because you can make into a "small" pry bar that is still not strong enough to damage the bearing.

Bearing Installation

Position bearing over bearing cavity. Its very important to "center" the bearing prior to pressing it into the cavity. Use your finger or thumb to apply even pressure to seat the bearing. Never hit or use heavy force to seat bearing. The tolerance between the outside of bearing and the inside of the bearing cavity is close and "whacking" them will damage the bearings.

Bearing Maintenance

It is critical that the bearing be clean. It may take more than one "washing" to completely wash the residue off if the bearing has not been cleaned in some time. Clean bearings in a small jar with Lighter fluid or Acetone. Swish bearings around until clean. Air dry on a towel. Spin on end of screwdriver to ensure they are spinning freely. Apply one drop of oil per bearing.A properly cleaned and oiled bearing will spin for a few seconds on the end of wooden peg or pencil.

Chemicals Harsh

Chemicals such as gasoline or de-greasers should never be used on fishing reels because damage to plastic parts will occur yet may not show up until later. Harsh chemicals can remove finishes and cause corrosion.. Use only bio-degradable cleaner and soft bristle brushes to clean reels and parts.

Copper Insulators

Usually there are only two places these copper insulators (or spacers) are used in bait casting reels. They are normally located on each end of the spool shaft and are used as a device to assist in preventing overruns and backlashes during the cast. They are located in the palming side plate of reel and inside the Cast Control Cap They may be round or rectangular in shape. From time to time, they will get dented due to the tightening of the Cast Control Cap causing the spool shaft ends to indent the insulator. Check them and turn them over so the smooth side will be in contact with spool shaft ends. Apply one small drop of oil to the insulator.

Curved washers

They are actually called Drag Spring Washers. These two washers should always be mounted one curved up and one curved down. This is necessary for compression when the star drag under the handle is tightened down

E Clips

These clips are shaped like a rounded E. Remove by positioning your forefinger over them. (A small piece of bright tape will help if placed over the clip.) Insert tip of open tweezer into back of the E, pull out until able to grab hold of the clip completely to remove it. Be sure to hold finger over the clip until you got a good bite on it with tweezers


How grease is applied is very important. Grease should be applied at the base of the gear teeth so when the teeth of the gears mesh together, the grease is being used as intended. Wiping the outside of gears with grease will cause the grease to splatter inside of the reel and all is lost. Grease with a good temperature rating is preferred.

Line Guide

It is the piece at front of reel with an eyelet that line is threaded from the reel spool to the rod. The line guide travels from back and forth on the worm gear. It holds the line guide pawl. You can check for wear with a Q-Tip or some nylon pantyhose material. If it has sharp points that catches on the material it may need replacing. The worm gear also need a drop of oil now and then.

Line Guide Pawl

This small piece is mounted in the cavity on the line guide and held in place by a cap. The pawl travels between the flattened teeth of the worm gear. If pawl is hanging up or stopping on one side of the reel, remove and inspect it. Examine the sides looking for scratches and nicks. The tips will be worn and not sharply pointed. The worm gear may have burrs or scratches on the flattened teeth. Be extra careful when removing or installing a "pawl". There may be a "spacer' inside the cap and the cap should never be tightened too tight because the threads are easily stripped and the pawl will wear out faster if over tightened.

Line Slipping

Line slipping is a common problem with braided line. It will appear that your "Star Drag" is not working because you cant seem to reel in any line no matter how tight the drag is. The solution to this problem is to spool at least 10-15 yards of mono-filament line next to spool arbor, then tie the braided line to the mono-filament.


Rocket Fuel oil is available in three viscosity. The Tournament grade is very thin and used mostly by anglers in Casting Contests and must be applied quite frequently. Next , is the Yellow grade and is of medium viscosity and is used by most of us anglers. It doesn't have to be applied as often, probably twice in a season , depending on how much reel is used. The third grade is the Red and is the thickest and used by anglers wanting to slow down their reel. Rocket Fuel will not evaporate, so the reel bearings will not film over, or have the oil turn to sludge. The oil will not mix with water, has a wide temperature range. It is not affected by any normal temperature differences and due to its slightly adhesive qualities, it will not easily be thrown off by high speed spinning of the spool.


This product is made by the Corrosion Technologies folks. It is a new, high-tech, extreme pressure lubricant that stops and prevents wear, corrosion and rust. It contains no wax, tar, silicone, or other solids, so it can't gum up. It outperforms all other lubricants, displaces moisture and won't harm mono filament line

Quantum Hot Sauce (This RTee's Favorite Reel Oil)

Quantum, working with lubrication specialists, developed their own lubrication called Quantum Hot Sauce. It has some very unique properties not found in ordinary reel oils. Its low viscosity allows for an extremely free rotation of the crank handle and a lightning-fast Free Spool that will surprise you. Special additives cause the lubricant to bond on a molecular level with the base metal providing superior corrosion protection and a lubrication bond that remains---permanently.


If the reel handle is turned before the cast is completed (the bait/lure is at the end of the cast) damage may occur to the "pinion". When the handle is turned (after casting), the pinion sets down on the spool shaft and the spool beging to take up line. If the handle is turned prior to lure landing, the pinion doesn't get a chance to seat properly on the spool shaft. If this is done often, after a period of time, there will be a clatter and that is the pinion trying to seat on the spool shaft. At that point you may need a new spool shaft or pinion or both.

Reel cleaning

Cleaning a reel isn't as difficult or scary as one might think. Use a bio-degradable cleaner and lay out strips of tape (masking tape will do) on table and write numbers on tape every 2 inches or so. As you remove a part, lay it by the number. For instance, the first thing removed should be the nut cap screw on handle nut cap. Lay the screw on number one, lay the nut cap on number 2, lay the handle nut on 3. Continue until all parts are removed. To re-install parts, start with the highest number and do so until the last part mounted which is the nut cap screw laying on the number one. It is very important to jot down on piece of paper the orientation of part if you don't have a schematic.

If you had rather "eat" these instructions then tear down a reel. Send it to TackleRight and let the experts do it for you at a reasonable cost.