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Whether you’re done fishing until ice out or just biding time until you can get on the water to pre-fish your first tournament of the year, now is the time to service your reels. They’ve been banging around in your rod lockers and your truck. They have certainly been wet and been exposed to dirt, sand, mud, and vegetation of all types. You probably lubed them during the year and now that oil/grease has gotten gummy. Let’s face it reel maintenance is a must. First thing’s first, give the reel a good cleaning. Put together a cleaning “kit”: 1) A clean rag or two that you won't mind getting dirty; 2) at least a dozen Q-tips; 3) warm water; 4) a bottle of reel performance oil; and 5) a set of small screw drivers, especially the phillips head. Lay out your cleaning materials on a clean work surface. Wet your rag with the warm water and wipe down the entire reel removing all the accumulated dirt. Once you’ve given your reel a basic cleaning, it’s time for some basic maintenance.

Take off the reel’s side plate uncovering your reel's braking system. Some reels have quick release buttons or pins, others require a screwdriver to remove a single screw. No matter the make or model, your side plate should be easy to remove. Take the Q-tips and remove all clearly visible dirt. When finished, take your reel oil and drop one or two drops on the end of a clean Q-tip. Take the clean end of your Q-tip and gently remove any dirt particles that you can see inside the spool control mechanism. Carefully clean the spool control mechanism and the internal

bearing. This may require more than one Q-tip depending on how dirty your reel is. Then, take your oiled Q-tip and rub both the inside and outside of the spool control mechanism bearing. If preferred you can lightly oil the backside of the side plate. This will help to keep the spool control mechanism lubricated and clean. Set aside your freshly cleaned spool control mechanism, and move on to your braking system. The brakes are an extremely important part of your reel, so keeping them clean of debris is vital.=. It won't hurt to make a couple of swipes around the brakes with a touch of oil.

Now that your braking system and spool control mechanism are cleaned and oiled, you're ready to move on to the worm drive, spool spindle, and reel handle. While slowly turning the reel handle with your opposite hand, you can clean the entire worm drive with only a couple of turns of the handle. Grease holds dirt and can wear out a worm gear in one season. By wiping the entire worm gear and adding a couple of drops of reel oil onto it, you can keep the gear running smoothly and effectively. Lubricant on all moving parts is very important and should never be skipped when cleaning. Once you are finished with the worm drive, drop a couple of drops of oil down inside the reel handle where the drag star and handle meet. This part of your reel can sometimes hide dirt or debris (especially if you bank fish) and can jam up if gone unattended. Adding a couple of drops of oil will keep the handle running smoothly and efficiently. Now, reattach the side plate. Your reel is now ready to take on that PB!


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