How To Clean A Baitcasting Reel

Join professional guide Gene Jensen as he shows you how to clean and lube a baitcasting reel.
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Hey guys. This is Gene Jenson, with Today, I’m going to do a real quick video, and it’s actually a remake. I made a video last year on how to clean and lube a reel. I did a lousy job and it’s really been bugging me lately. I’m going to sit down, I’m going to do one real quick. I’ve got to new GoPro to help me with my close-ups, and hopefully, I can produce a little bit better video than I did last year.


Like I said, this is going to be basic oil and lube. This is what happens when I’m about to go fishing, and I crank my reel over and I hear a grinding or I hear the gears inside of it not connecting quite so well. I can tell it needs some serious lubing. It’s not an in-depth cleaning. If you want t a really good in-depth cleaning video, go to a channel called Tackle Junkie 81; he’s actually on my favorites on my main page of my channel. He did a couple of videos that were absolutely amazing on in-depth cleaning; taking the reel all the way down, lubing it, and putting it all back together. I was really impressed, so that’s why I’m giving him props for that. I’m not going to do it that in-depth.


This is what I do in a hurry. The first thing I do is I like to keep my line on there, because usually, I have pretty good line on there and I keep my line pretty fresh. This is a fluorocarbon, and I hate to take it off and have to put new stuff on when this is fairly new stuff itself. I take a piece of tape and I tape it to the reel. Let’s start my close-up. I take a piece of tape and I tape the line down, just like. That and that makes it easier when it’s time to put it back into the spool; it makes it easier to do it.


With a Revo . . . every reel is different; every brand of reel is different. Some of them you push a button to rotate it. There’s just tons and tons of different ways, and you can usually get online and figure out how to remove that side plate. On a Revo it’s real easy, it’s just this screw right here. Some of mine, I have really tight, and some of them are finger tight. You just remove that side plate and remove the spool. This one is really dirty, as you can see. What I would do now is if I had the time, I would take some Q-tips and start to clean all that gunk out, but I don’t have time to. One thing I will clean around is right here where the spool runs. Like I said, this is just a quick cleaning. This isn’t one where you’re going to . . . I do a really good, thorough cleaning every year, or once a year.


We got that apart. We know where the spool goes; I place it that aside. The side plate, place that aside. We’ve got to get into this side of the reel. With this STX, it’s got a little screw to take that nut cap off. You take the nut cap off. What I’m doing, watch me; I’m going to lay these down in the order I take it off. When I put it back on, I just go backwards and take them all off of there. You need a 10mm wrench to loosen that up. Like I said, I’m just going to lay them side-by-side in the order that I take it off. That way, there are no mistakes. Another trick is to take pictures as you go along with your phone, so you know how things go back together. A lot of times, that helps some people.


Sometimes when you’re taking things off and putting on, the handle’s going to want to turn. A way to keep that from turning is put your finger right here on the worm drive. Same thing; I’m just taking things off. Don’t force too much. You can wiggle, but try not to force too much, because that’s just brass right there and you can strip those threads pretty easy. I don’t need that anymore. Once again, I’m taking everything off as it comes. We’ve got some screws here and here. One’s a little longer than the other, so this is when you have to remember which one goes where. That son-of-a-gun was tight.


This is when it gets boring. There’s one more screw on the Revo; it’s on the inside of the spool. It’s right there. Those screws do not need to be that tight, but they need to be snug. It’s a little bit larger and it’s a little bit longer screw. I’ll reposition that a little bit so you guys can see it a little better. That side plate comes off. Be careful when you take that side plate off. Make sure this is up. If you don’t, things are going to fall out. These springs are just sitting there with gravity. They’re going to fall out and you’re not going to be able to put them back together. This is another good time to take a picture just in case that happens. Stop right here. Get your phone out, take a picture of that so you can go back to it if you drop some crap out of it. That is as far as I’m going to take it apart. I’m not going to go any further because all I need to do is clean and lube this thing.


Look at this. See that thing right here? I don’t think I’ve ever lubed this one, because I don’t use that kind of lube. This is what happens when you over-lube a reel. See all that lube that’s slung throughout this reel? I don’t like that. What I’m going to do is I’m going to clean that out. Let me see what happens. Look at that gunk; that’s when you over-lube a reel. What happens when you over-lube it is it gets into places where it’s not supposed to be and it affects the . . . how that reel works. You don’t want lube in your bearings. You got most of that off. Here we go. Basically, this is what I do: I’ve got some reel butter here, this is your grease. This is not your oil. Put a little on your finger. Good-old Ardent reel butter. I’m going to work it into the grooves of the main gear. That’s it. That’s all I’m going to do.


Next thing I’m going to do is I’m going to put it back together. What that does is that . . . as you work it around . . . I got a little bit too much right there. Let’s work that back in there. That’s all I need for right now. Like I said, I’m not going to do an in-depth; just a little bit. While I got it out, take a little oil, and just one little drop on the anti-reverse bearing. It’ll work its way around. As I’m doing it, I’m looking for bearings. That’s an open bearing right there. That’s the cast control knob. I know a lot of people say put a drop. I think a drop is too much just for me. I’m going to go a half a drop, and then I’m just going to touch it to the bearing and let it come off. Probably get some criticism for that from some of the pros, but I’m not worried about that. Here we go. I’m not going backwards.


Anybody remember which one went where? One went there. Fat fingers and short one there. You can spend a little bit more time oiling these if you want to. I’m going to drop this one down in here. Look right down there. I don’t know what that’s called, but I like to put a . . . it’s a friction point from the spool. I like to put a good drop of oil right there.


Once again, I’m going to put everything back together the way it came off. The star drag’s a little dirty; I’m going to wipe it off a little bit. Here’s usually when you have to be really careful. These little flat parts on this main driveshaft right here make it very difficult to put a screw on straight. You almost have to go backwards until it catches, and then spin it on. If you don’t, you’re going to strip those threads on that screw. You really have to be careful. This is also when you want to hold your finger on the worm gear as you’re putting this on. You’ll get down to that little clicker, and luckily with the STX, is the clicker and goes on by itself; you don’t have to push it in. A lot of times, you have to push it in to get underneath this little plate. Crank it down a little bit. Once again, you can put everything back together the way it came off. Another screw; you got to move it backwards a little bit until it catches. If it gets hard to put on, stop. Back it off and try again. Slightly tight. You got to get everything lined up, which is tricky, so you can get that screw back in. I’m going to tighten everything down a little bit better.


Other places you can oil: One of the other places you could have oiled was the other side of your worm gear. There’s this end right here and there’s this end right here. A lot of people do it; it’s not that hard. I’m going to do this one. On the more expense reels, there’s bearings right there. You can oil your worm gear, but I grease mine, so I’m going to leave it alone. There’s plenty of grease on that. It’s a little dirty, but it works fine. Another bearing is right here on your side plate; a little dab. Other friction points are the end of this little deal right here. That’s probably a little too much. A bearing right here. Then let’s put it all together. Look how easy that goes in since you taped that line down. Make sure it clicks in there good. That’s it.


Tighten that sucker down, right there. The biggest thing to remember is to remember to tighten your drag-back down; get it adjusted right. Adjust your casting control knob before you make your next cast. You just lubed the reel, so it’s going to be bit smoother than it was before you took it off. Make sure everything works good. Work that oil and that grease in pretty good. No more noise in your reel, and it should work good for the next several months. Do a yearly deep cleaning. Like I said, go to Tackle Junkie 81, check out his deep cleaning; give you some ideas. If you’re not comfortable with doing it as deep as he did, send it to an expert and pay the money to have a good reel done. It will save you a whole lot of heartache and save you from having to buy a new reel.


Like I always say, visit for the answer to all your questions about bass fishing. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Hit that Like button. Before I go, I want to thank all of my subscribers. It’s pretty neat; I just got 11,000 subscribers, which is almost unheard of with a bass fishing channel. I’m pretty speechless about that. I can’t believe this is taking off the way it is. I just enjoy teaching and I enjoy teaching you guys. Get out on the water, have some fun. Check out some of my videos on how to find fish; I’m going to make a bunch more this year. I’m not going to get into that. Have a great day. Get to fishing.

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