Winter Reel Maintenance

Frosty mornings mean we are creeping closer to winter every day. Some hardcore kayak fishing guys will get out through the winter and fish but a lot of folks just don't like the cold or being on the water in it. Each winter, fishermen start to get cabin fever and thinking about what they need to do. One of the first things many think of is maintenance.

Time to get those reels spiffed up, get that old line off, grease them up, oil them up and then organize some tackle. We also use this time to peruse the internet for new lures and gadgets to rig up our kayaks with. 

Have you ever done your own reel maintenance? Some people love it. Some people (ahem,cough,cough) hate it. I tried it twice. One time about three years ago I decided to try to clean up an old Calcutta I had that was getting pretty grungy. That failed and I had to have a pro put it back together. I tried one more time last summer with a Abu Garcia Orra Inshore. It was salty, sandy and didn't feel right. 

I went down to Academy and bought one of those Ardent reel cleaning kits for $20, went home and started tearing into it. From previous experience I knew I needed a good bench space to work on and planned as I took things off of the reel to lay them left to right. Then, when I was ready to reassemble, just go from right to left. I thought it was pretty flawless. 

I started unscrewing a bunch of parts. A bunch. I didn't have a diagram but that wouldn't stop me. Once I got it to bare bones, I opened up the grease. How much I should put on parts and exactly which parts I wasn't sure. I had heard the old adage "Grease on Gears. Oil on Bearings", but how much. A drop? Two drops? Grease doesn't have drops. It's more like, well, I don't know what it's like. 

Now, 45 minutes into dissecting and chasing tiny parts around on the floor, I'm mad and ready to give up. I put some oil here and grease there and try to reassemble. All the parts are back in but the handle doesn't turn the spool. I decided to tear it down and try again. No luck. Well sassafras! Guess I just ruined a reel. 

I let that Inshore sit on that bench for three days. I would go in and look at the mangled mess and be frustrated. I could rig any kayak, do electrical work, carpentry and even a little welding but this stupid little reel was pissing me off. How is it I could replace a master cylinder and brake kit on a 1978 Ford but couldn't deal with this reel?  

I started looking for help online. Luckily I found someone fairly local. Not only was he close by but he was cheap. Too cheap I think now. I took it to Beau Reed at Papa Chops Rod and Reel Repair in Austin and a few days later I had a cleaned, upgraded reel (I decided to go for the Boca Bearings) that would shoot a four inch worm to the moon. Beau should change his prices. After I get all mine through. The entire cleaning and bearing upgrade including the cost of bearings was less than $70 for my model and the particular bearings I did. He made this nemesis of mine become my new favorite reel. I throw it all the time. His current turn time is about 2 1/2 weeks. 

So what lessons are there here?

#1. Have a plan- You should do extensive research on what lubricants go where, the types to use, get diagrams or pictures of your reel and make sure you have a clean,organized work space. 

#2. Have a backup plan- Reputable reel repair guys are often in your area. Ask around and you'll find out who the best on your block is. Some guys do it themselves, may offer to help and that's cool but when it comes to reel repair and maintenance, I like a professional with access to lots of parts who has tons of experience. 

#3.  Look at upgrades- Taking a $150 reel and making it fly like a $300 reel is satisfying but taking a $100 reel and making it fly like a $300 reel is even better. I did this with a Revo S. Holy. Freaking. Moses.

I've included a link to the video that Beau shot of my reel once he cleaned and upgraded it. It think it speaks for itself. 

video



PAPA CHOPS ROD AND REEL REPAIR

(512) 294- 3155




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