How to clean & maintain baitcasting fishing reels [Detailed Guide]

How to clean & maintain baitcasting fishing reels [Detailed Guide]

After continuous use, baitcasting fishing reels can become fairly dirty. Keep your reels clean if you want to get the maximum use out of your gear. Your fishing reels will accumulate dirt and grime on the bearings and other internal components, therefore you must understand how to correctly disassemble and clean your baitcasting fishing reel. This guide will walk you through the complete process of cleaning and maintaining your baitcasting fishing reels.

Guide to clean and maintain baitcasting fishing reels

To begin, I’m going to spread out my microfiber towel. This will provide me a place to put my reel so it doesn’t get scratched, as well as a place to put all of my components so they don’t get misplaced. You are free to use this towel for whatever you like, but this is what I prefer to do.

To clean the reel start with disassembling the baitcasting fishing reel components

To clean the reel start with disassembling the baitcasting fishing reel components

Now we’ll take our baitcaster and disassemble it. We’ll start by removing the side panel.

Every baitcaster is different, so it will depend on which one you have, however you’ll usually find a tab on the rear that you must undo to loosen this panel. You’ll probably have to loosen a bar that runs over your spool.

In my instance, a flathead screwdriver is required, so I’ll use the one included in our kit to remove the side panel. I’ll simply remove the bolt.

After I’ve unscrewed it, I’ll remove the side panel and pull the spool out. Now I’m going to go to the opposite side of my reel and remove my tension knob. This knob helps in spool loosening.

I’m going to back this knob all the way off until it falls loose. Please be aware that some of these reels contain components, which we will carefully remove and set aside. Now our reel is nearly empty.

Cleaning your reel using a cleaning spray

Cleaning your reel using a cleaning spray

To clean the baitcasting reels the first thing we’ll do is tear off a piece of paper towel and take our reel cleaning spray. This spray bottle will assist you in removing all of the gunk and grime from your reel. So you’ll take a tiny bit of this spray on that paper towel and wipe off your reel.

I’m going to wipe down any areas that have dust and grime on them. Try not to spray this spray directly on your reel because it sprays a lot and you don’t want it all over the interior of the reel.

So a small amount on a napkin will be enough. I’m going to clean it up and polish it up. As our reel is currently exposed, we don’t want any of that dirt to go into our bearings or anything.

Now that we’ve done that, we’ll go ahead and replace the cap on our spray, leave it away, and take our reel oil bottle.

Let’s take a look at the side panel first. Inside that side panel, we now have a bearing. I’m going to use my dropper to apply a small amount of oil to that bearing.

We’re not going to put it within the bearing; instead, we’ll place it around it, and the oil will make its way in. Just a couple of small circles on there, a little oil, and you’re ready to go; set that aside.



Next, I’ll apply a dab of oil to the spool’s inner bearing. So we’re going to quickly put down our spool reel and grab our grease and brush.

Take your brush, rub a little grease on it, and take your spool. We’re going to lubricate the bar that comes out of the spool. This rod serves as your spindle, similar to how the spool spins. So we’re gonna just put a nice little coating on there and we’re good to go.

Pick up your reel again, and this time we’re going to look right at the top at the gears that drive the line guide. When you turn your reel, this gear mechanism allows your line guide to travel from left to right.

So we’ll take our brush and dab a little more grease on these gears, then reel the reel a couple of times, shift the line guide over, and dab a little more grease on the opposite side.

Finally, we’ll go over to the reel and put a dab of oil inside that tension knobby; if you have a bearing in there, just put the oil around the outside, not within the hole. Because the oil will just fall through this section of the reel, attempt to get it to the outer side.

Okay, we’re good to go. If your reel grips aren’t moving, they’re probably stiff. You can also add some oil inside. Personally, I don’t believe the reel requires it, but if you insist on doing so, that’s ok as well.

So now that we’ve completed all of that, we’re almost ready to go.



We’re going to replace the spool. I always start with the spool because you have to do everything in this sequence, a lot of the time for everything to place back in the right place.

So move that line out of the way. This might sometimes cause issues when it comes to turning everything back on. Especially if your line is extremely coiled.

Then we’ll attach the side panel. Make sure it’s nice and tight; you don’t want that panel to break off while you’re on the water, otherwise, your spool will just yield out of there. Then we’ll go on to our tension knobby. The reason I adjust the tension knob last is that on some reels if you have that knobby too tight, the spool will not fully retract.

So I usually do the knobby last, but we’re going to put that back on there and then reel. That thing feels excellent, nice, and smooth, and, to be honest, it feels a lot better than it did before.

The reel we used was full of dust; I know it sounds a little strange, but that’s just the floral carbon banging about in there, but the reel is ready to go.

Also, read How to catch carp in a river [4 steps to catching river carp].

So there you have it, that’s how you clean and do some simple maintenance on baitcasting reels. If you keep up with this, it will maintain your wheels in good shape, add durability to your reels, and allow you to spend more time on the lake. I hope this was useful to you, and I hope to see you again soon.


How often should I clean my baitcasting reels?

You should clean your reel at least once every five outings if you fish in freshwater. You must clean your reel after each trip if you fish in saltwater. You should clean your reel with a light cleaner after your excursion.

How often should I oil my baitcaster reel?

That largely depends on where and how much you fish. According to Wright, a dedicated bass competition angler should lubricate the gears and oil the reel bearings at least twice a year, especially if they frequently fish in or near the grass. Reels used in seawater require more frequent maintenance.

Should you rinse your reel?

Immersing the reel in water or washing it under high pressure might cause damage to the gearing and drag systems. Gently rinse the reel with fresh water and dry with a clean cloth. Wiping the line clean is also a good idea.

Is Vaseline good for cleaning and maintaining baitcasting fishing reels?

If you don’t have any fishing reel oil on hand, Vaseline will suffice. Vaseline is mostly used as grease. As a result, it will not reach the smallest section of the reel. However, you can lubricate the portions that are accessible.

Can I use gun oil on baitcaster?

The quick answer is yes! Gun oil can be used to lubricate fishing reels, making it an excellent choice for people who want their gear to run smoothly.

Can you put too much line on a baitcaster?

When you cast, you’ll hear an odd sound if you put too much line on them. The top of the spinning reels should be completely filled. The line will bounce off the spool in coils if you put too much on them. By properly setting your reels, you can avoid backlashes when using baitcasters.

Fenil Kalal is a talented web content writer that specialises in health and fitness, fishing, travel, cryptography, and gardening. His skills and expertise in the field are the result of years of research and study. His passion in science, along with a bachelor's degree in information technology, gives him an edge and adds value to his work. Because he is fascinated by science and technology, writing high-quality content has become a virtue for him.

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