Original post made by Darrel Miller(Cornhusker) on May 1, 2003
Please indulge a poor old man while he rambles a bit.
Lubrication is pretty simple. ALL normal lubrication is done by oil.
Grease is a container to hold oil. It is made up of 2 parts. A chemical soap that acts like a sponge and holds the oil. Then there is the oil and additives that give the lubricating, anti corrosion, anti wear and other properties.
Oil does better on high speed parts because engery is not used up to move the nonessential soap and other solids out of the way of the moving parts. Especially true in rolling element bearings like ball and roller.
Grease is better for lubrication when frequent relube is not desireable and oil dripping needs to be kept to a minimum.
So what the heck difference does all this make in a casting reel?
Think about the 2 main functions of a casting reel, casting out and retreiving back.
For casting out the modern casting reels are put in free spool mode. In feel spool mode all of the gearing, handle and drag system are disconnected from the reel spool. The spool remains connected to the level wind including its drive gears, the centrifugal brake which isn't lubed and the bearings which may be ball or journal bearings. So a drop or two of oil in each bearing, a light amount of grease on the usually nylon gear driving the level wind (including the area in the left side plate and left cap where the nylon gear turns) and a few drops of oil on the level wind worm and paul should do the job. The bearings a level wind worm need to be relubed from time to time during the year.
For the remainder of the reel (handle, main gears, anti-reverse dog, drag spindle that connects the handle to the main gearing) grease can do a nice job. These components all remain motionless during the casting process so would not affect the length of cast. If you use too heavy a grease or one that thickens up when cold you just have to crank harder and you may suffer increased wear.
Most or perhaps all people over lubricate everything.