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How to Oil Fishing Reels: A Step-by-Step Guide with Handy Tips

how to oil fishing reels
Written by Immanuel Baranov
Last Update: March 8, 2022

The common challenge most people who consider fishing as a hobby encounter is the challenge involved in maintaining the fishing reel to ensure that it keeps running smoothly. It is important to consistently oil the fishing reel due to its metallic nature.

Some predictive maintenance steps you could adhere to can cut out stress and the expenses of buying a new fishing reel and will increase the durability of your reel for as long as you want.

Oiling the fishing reel (both baitcast and spincast ones) is a cost-effective way of maintaining and preventing the reel from rusting. In a short while, we will share some simple steps you could adopt to oil your fishing reel and maintain its performance.

How to Oil Fishing Reels: Step-by-Step

Oil Fishing Reels

You will need the following tools:

  • Flathead screwdriver (small)


  • Metal cleaning oil – 1


  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothbrush
  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol


Remove the Spool from the Reel

The first step toward this is to take away the spool by dragging the knob. To get it easier, it is advisable to drag the knob in a clockwise direction. If the reel has a rear drag, then you can press the release button; this will help the spool to release.

Now check out for potential damages that are likely to occur on the spool after the removal. It is advisable to do this in an open space or a well-lighted room. Give more attention to the spool lips as damage on the lips can lead to a hard time while fishing.

Now, you can move on to the next phase cleaning, if you had no damage from your previous attempt.

  1. First, it is recommended to take away the spool from that is attached to the reel by turning the knob. This will be easier if it’s done in a clockwise direction. Once that is done, press the button; this will help relieve the back drag and help to open the inner part of the reel.
  2. Now check out for damages on the spool. This should be carried out in an environment that is lit enough. This will make it possible for you to inspect all form of damage that is likely to be around the lip of the spool. A damaged spool lip will lead to difficulty in fishing.
  3. The next phase is to clean the cotton swabs and the entire exterior part using rubbing alcohol. This will clean all the oil stains and debris. Hiring the effort of a professional may sometime appear expensive, so its best to carry this out yourself.
  4. Use the cotton swab to clean off the assembly line. Press it inward on the position where it is cleaned internally. Use more alcohol on the cotton swab if it appears to have more rust.
  5. Oil the part of the roller, which is responsible for the movement of the reel. It’s best to do this on a regular basis to allow a natural, smooth movement within the reel. Oiling the parts will keep debris and rust off from the reel.
  6. Introduce more oil on the gear bearing that assists the movement of the handle. Although there are a variety of reel so if yours appears to have more than a gear bearing –then we recommend oiling the entire bearing.
  7. Add a few drops of oil on the reel; this will support the reel to remain rolling and greasy. This will help eliminate rust and tears.
  8. Avoid grease stain, clean off and oil the arm that is attached to the reel; this will support it to operate smoothly.
  9. Once all is set and done, keep the fishing reel aside for about 30 – 45 minutes to ensure that the entire part absorbs the right portion of oil you introduce to it.


Set aside 10 -15 minutes to clean up your fishing equipment before going fishing can be a better idea, as this will help serve a lot and help you accomplish more within a given period. You’ll get an optimal fishing experience if you maintain your reel regularly and associate it with the right kinds of rods.

When you will know how to oil fishing reels, this will be a cost-effective way to ensure their high performance and durability. This will save you the stress of buying another fishing reel. So set out 20 – 30 minutes of your time for predictive maintenance; this will help correct futuristic defects that are likely to occur. Performing this task with a sense of responsibility can be very rewarding.

When you have a well-oiled reel, be it a baitcasting, spincast, or spinning reel, you stand a chance to have a smooth running fishing mechanism that will carry out its function effectively without interruption. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pick up your reel, oil it and get back to work.

About the author

Immanuel Baranov

My life is pretty much defined by my avid outdoor activities. I’m generally obsessed with fishing, skiing and occasional hunting and whitewater paddling. I’ve been active since my early years. I inherited my passion for fishing from my father who made frequent family trips to the banks of Sacramento River. Growing up, I did a lot of fishing in the vicinity. Now that I have two sons, our weekends are full of fishing activities. I would say, you need good spots where you can go out a lot for the thing you love. I had the privilege to grow up near numerous water bodies and I’m proud to say that I made good use of them. It’s also great to do something with kids that helps them learn patience, endurance and preciseness.

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