How do I Repair a Mitchell Garcia Reel?

by William Machin

Garcia was the distributor of Mitchell reels until 1974. These fixed-drum reels were durable, reliable and featured interchangeable spools. This allowed anglers to easily change from light to heavier-test monofilament line.

A Mitchell Garcia spinning reel can be repaired so long as the main case is not broken. Schematics for all Mitchell reels are posted on the Mitchell website. Parts are obtained through online sources, or by cannibalizing a similar reel.

Grip the rim of the spool and rotate it clockwise by hand to test the drag. Loosen the drag knob a full turn or until the spool rotates. If the spool is frozen, remove the drag knob, brake spring and drag washer; spray lubricant into the top of the spool. Allow the lubricant to penetrate for an hour. Remove the spool.

Flip the bail to the open position. Use a small, open-end wrench and remove the hex nut at the base of the spool axle. Pull the axle assembly off the reel body. Use a non-residue spray cleaner and a clean rag to remove any corrosion from the bail spring and bail-trip lever.

Rotate the handle counterclockwise and remove it from the reel body. Use a Phillips screwdriver and remove the screws that hold the side-plate to the body. Lay the reel on its side with the side-plate up. Lift the plate off the reel body.

Lift the oscillating assembly out of the reel body. Spray the components inside the reel body with cleaner. Dry the components with a rag and apply all-purpose grease to the gears and spool axle.

Refer to the schematic for any springs or spring washers that might be needed. Use parts from another reel if desired, and then reattach the side plate. Insert the spool axle into the base of the spool. Re-attach the hex nut to hold it in place.

Install the drag washer and brake spring. Thread the spool onto the axle by turning it counterclockwise. Reattach the drag knob and handle.

Items you will need

  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Small, open-end wrench
  • Spray lubricant
  • Non-residue spray cleaner
  • Clean rags
  • All-purpose grease

Tip

  • Apply spray lubricant to the entire reel and seal it in a plastic bag overnight to loosen heavily corroded components.

About the Author

William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College.