Original post made by Jim Hudson(Jhudson13) on January 12, 2004 Okay here I go again I have seen a couple of questions and have seen some information on reel care and now I have to in put my 2 cents worth. Hope no one minds. Let's face it; saltwater fishing is harder on your fishing gear than freshwater. Saltwater fishermen have to take better care of their gear than freshwater fishermen. I've got several reels that I have been fishing with for over 15 years. One of the keys to the longevity and faithful service provided by these reels is preventive maintenance. Many fishermen leave "rigged" rods in rod holders to and from the fishing grounds and back to the garage until the next trip. Many bank fishermen tote their rods around for days in the back of their pick-up truck. Then when they finally get around to it, these rods are stood up in a corner of the garage until the next trip. Rods won't be hurt as bad by the water and dirt, but reels will be. All reels, no matter what type, need to be protected by cleaning and lightly oiling or greasing of the reel's moving parts. Take care not to over do it and check the manual if you have any questions. It is also important to lubricate the handles, roller guides and the moving parts on the outside of the reel. Reels are compact and sturdy for their intended purpose, but they must also have adequate care if they are going to last a long time. They can last a long time, I've got a bait-casting reel that I have been actively using for at least 15 years. I needed a new pinion gear, and have added a new main gear and spool for insurance and, it should now last me another 15 years. But I try to take care of my tackle, buy having the reels checked, cleaned, and lubricate yearly. Here are some of the tips I have for keeping my reels working great and I hope they will work for you as well. When stored or not used, all reels should have the drags backed off until the drag is loose. Leaving a drag tight deforms the soft washers and can make the drags less effective, erratic, and jumpy. Poor drag performance is the main reason for lost fish and broken lines when playing the fish. Similarly, casting reels should also have the cast control knob slightly loosened to reduce pressure on the bearings, spool axle, and shims. The drag system is the most extremely important part in fighting fish of any size. It is a complicated mechanism that should be serviced no less than once a year, more often if the reel is used on a daily basis. When fishing, the drag setting (at the strike position) should be 1/3 of the line's breaking strength. For example, an outfit spooled with 20 pound test line would have a strike drag set at about 7 pounds. Obviously, this setting can be increased once the fish is hooked, but should never exceed 1/2 of the line's breaking strength. The drag of the line in the water and the pressure of the rod and the reel drag can some time be greater then the breaking strength of the line. Also many fish are lost due to too much drag. Furthermore, line often gets caught inside the spool on conventional reels. To compensate for this, occasionally check the unit's screws for tightness. However, should the problem occur, strip off the frayed line and retie. After use, rinse rod, reel and lines with a mild mist of freshwater. Do not use a high-pressure spray on reels, this will only force the sand and sludge into crevices. After the reels have dried, spray them with a light lubricant, such as CRC-6-56, making certain to avoid the line. Remember a drag should always be smooth, not jerky. As a fish takes line, the rod should not bounce up and down but stay steady and solid. Proper care can be key to the longevity of your fishing reel. As you head for the water this season, there are some simple steps that can help keep your reel rolling right through the year. There are four steps that every one can take to enhance the longevity of their bait casting and spinning reels. After a fishing trip or before storing a reel for an extended period of time, be sure to back off the drag to extend the life it. Periodically oil your level wind system lightly with a teflon or silicone-based oil. Do not apply excessive grease or oil to your reel as this will hamper its performance, and reduce casting distance, not to even mention shorten or destroy drag system performance; Never apply any type of lubrication to the drag washers of any reel unless the owners manual calls for it. Most, (95%), reels on the market have drag systems that are designed to operate without lubrication. Also here are some troubleshooting tips for everyone who is using bait cast reels: If the spool does not rotate when you turn the handle, you should check to make sure that your star drag is properly tightened. If you get a bird nest when you make a cast, you may want to try adjusting your mechanical brake. If you experience poor casting distance, adjust your mechanical brake and make sure your spool is filled with line to 1/8" from the top lip of the spool. At least once a season your bait cast reel should be disassembled for a thorough cleaning and lubrication. If you aren't comfortable performing this task yourself, call the reel's manufacturer for the factory authorized service center nearest you. A lack of even the simplest maintenance is not only commonplace, but also counterproductive and expensive. Today's quality reels are a major financial investment for most and it just makes sense to extend reel life and add to our overall fishing enjoyment through an easy and inexpensive maintenance program. As today's reels are truly precision equipment, and routine maintenance is essential for peak performance. The basic steps of reel maintenance must be performed on a regular schedule to have any effect. First of all, take care to keep the outside of your reel clean. Wipe it off often and never, never lay it on the ground. Second make it a practice to clean off any accumulated grime before tackle is stored at the end of every fishing trip and if you use a bait caster you should lubricate the worm gear level wind system every month if you fish a lot. And, when you're finished oiling the worm gear, apply some to the reel handle knobs as well. They need it too. The next step should be a quick application of some sort of silicone spray at regular intervals. But you need to remember to either remove the spool or cover it in some way to insure that the spray doesn't coat your line. After a shot of spray, the reel should be wiped down thoroughly to remove any excess, then stored in a clean, dry place.