How to Repair a Saltwater Fishing Reel Damaged by Saltwater

What You'll Need
Clean Cloth
Philips Screwdriver
Small Brush
Reel Lubricant

A saltwater fishing reel is built to withstand a great amount of wear and tear that is brought on by use and the salt in the ocean. A saltwater fisherman would do well to keep his or her reel clean and well maintained. Even with a well maintained saltwater fishing reel, they can still be damaged from the saltwater. Here are some steps to help you repair the reel yourself without having to take it in to a repair shop.

Step 1: Remove Reel from Rod

It is necessary to remove the reel from the rod so you can take it to a work area where you can perform the maintenance easier. Unscrew the bottom retaining nut until it frees up the reel from the rod. Slide the rod out of the top groove and remove it.

Step 2: Clean Reel of any Dirt and Saltwater

Before getting into the internal components of your saltwater fishing reel you should first clean off the outside of any debris and saltwater. Use a clean rag and wipe off the exterior. A mild solution of water and detergent will also help to remove some tougher grease and grime.

Step 3: Remove Spindle on the Reel

Depending on the type of reel you have, the actual operation is going to be different. Consult your manual on how you should remove your spindle. However, most of the spindles can be removed by unlocking the spindle and removing one retaining screw. Once that has been done the spindle will slide out.

Step 4: Clean Gears Inside Reel

Once the spindle is removed you will be able to access the gearing inside the reel. These gears are delicate and may require changing if they are bent. Most of the time the reel malfunctions because the gears have an accumulation of dirt and salt on them. Clean these gears with a small brush and make sure to remove all salt particles and dirt. Once they are clean then coat the gears with some reel lubricant. This will protect the gears from the corrosion of the salt water.

Step 5: Clean Spindle

The spindle can accumulate a lot of different things from the ocean as you reel in the line. Wipe it down and use some reel lubricant to make sure that it stays free of any saltwater.

Step 6: Replace Handle

If the saltwater fishing reel has been used for several seasons it may need to have a new handle. Usually, and especially after fighting large fish, the handle will be loose in the housing. A small screw holds the handle to the side of the reel. Use a Philips head screwdriver to remove it. Replace the handle with a new one and tighten the screw.

Step 7: Clean All Parts

Since most of the damage to a saltwater fishing reel is done through saltwater and other debris you should clean the entire surface of the reel inside and out. Use some degreaser for the harder dirt stains. Once it is clean, coat the surfaces with reel lubricant and put it back together. Use the reel without any line on it to make sure it functions smoothly.