How To Oil A Fishing Reel

How To Oil A Fishing Reel- An Essential Step To Fishing

There are so many people who just love fishing.

The one downfall to fishing is just how dirty the reel can get afterward.

Residues, bait, soil, water, and sand can all cause problems.

If you are fishing in saltwater, this can do some real damage to the rod and reel if you don’t clean the salt off and carry out maintenance often.

Maintenance is essential to keep your equipment in good working order, so it doesn’t fail you right when you have a big catch on the end of your line.

Freshwater fishing reels are not going to suffer as much wear and tear as saltwater ones are.

This is due to the residues of saline that are left on the mechanisms.

If you often fish in saltwater, consider getting a not-so-complex rod that way, it isn’t a hassle to take out and clean.

How To Oil A Fishing Reel?

You can oil your fishing reel with WD-40 or normal fishing reel oil if you prefer. Both do the job well.  If you don’t have either of those, you can use Vaseline. It doesn’t work as well, but it does the job until you can get your hands on one of the above. You should oil the reel bearings every few months and oil the gears twice per year.

Why Is Oiling Your Reel Important?

Your reel is made from many moving parts.

It is important that you oil your reels to lower the temperature and the friction levels.

Oiling will also help to protect the reel from corrosion.

You can get specially formulated reel oil for saltwater that contains anti-corrosion properties. 

Make sure everything is cleaned well before oiling it.

Carrying Out Regular Cleaning Of Your Reel

To clean the coil area, you need to first take the wire coil off the reel by unscrewing the main screw.

Remove any foreign elements using a little brush.

If there are bits that are hard to get off with the brush, then you can immerse it into fresh distilled water and let it soak for a couple of hours.

Now you can rinse the coil and dry it with a microfiber cloth.

Ensure you get into all the parts, so they are all dry. It is important that you don’t lubricate the friction unit.

First, clean the outside of the reel and the rod while you are there.

Next, you can disassemble your reel and, with a soft, clean cloth, wipe over the parts.

Ensure you use a proper reel cleaning solution to avoid damaging the parts.

Get your reel oil and add grease to the gears and then oil the bearings and be sure to wipe off any excess.

Oil all the moving parts one by one, including the knob and the shaft.

Reassemble them again and wipe off any lingering oil.

Now you need to oil the bail connections. It is important to flick them over to allow the oil to penetrate deep into the connections.

Give the reel and rod a final wipe over when everything is back together and your right to go.

Opening The Reel Mechanism

If you don’t know how to open a reel, it is best to try and read up on it first, as it is a complex operation.

Some reels that are more sophisticated will actually have an opening that is designed for lubricant.

Some rods will have a spool holder, and others will have a screw cap that can be found on the outside of the body.

You can apply your choice of lubricant to these areas, which will help the mechanisms move freely and avoid any friction. You don’t need to overdo the lubrication as the mechanisms already have grease in them.

You are just topping it up.

Now it is very important that you reposition everything back exactly the same way as it was.

Otherwise, the rod will not work correctly.

You can take pictures as you take each part off to help remind you where everything goes.

This is a good thing for those who haven’t done it before and may have trouble remembering where everything went.

Finishing Up

To finish up maintaining and lubricating your reel, you need to wipe over the whole reel and make sure you don’t leave any lingering grease behind.

Finally, give the screws a little spray of lubricant and ensure they are tight.

In the colder months, ensure the reel is protected from water and moisture as this will cause it to rust out.

It is also best to cover the working parts to protect them from dust and dirt.


Looking after your reel isn’t hard at all, and there is no special equipment needed.

Just a screwdriver set and some lubricating oils are all you need to get the job done.

If the rod has been stored for a long time, it is a good idea to give it a good oil over before you use it to ensure your rod is ready for the job.

Frequently Asked Questions about oiling a Fishing Reel

Can Gun Oil Be Used On Reels?

Gun oil can be used on the bearings and spool shaft. You want something thicker for the gears to get the best out of it. If you don’t have an alternative on hand, then gun oil is fine to use.

Do I Really Need Reel Oil?

Fishing reel oil is a combination of additives and special oils that are designed to help all the working parts move smoothly. If there is friction or parts sticking, the rod will not work correctly. Oiling needs to be done on both saltwater and freshwater reels.