How to Repair a Spinning Reel

Spinning reels have many different parts that all work together to enable a fisherman to cast or retrieve a lure. Although spinning reels will occasionally require repair from an experienced repairman, there are steps that the average fisherman can take to solve many problems. With a few common household items and some time, many of the routine problems experienced with spinning reels may be easily corrected.

Use a clean cloth and soapy water to wipe down the entire reel. Remove all dirt, debris, scum and algae from the reel. Pay special attention to the spool, bail mechanism and line roller as these come into contact with the line, which often times leaves deposits of debris. Wipe down the reel with clean water.

Remove the handle from the body of the reel. This is done by either unscrewing the handle or removing a cap nut from the opposite side.

Thoroughly clean the threads and inside of the reel body with a cotton swab and bristle brush. Apply a thin coating of reel oil to the interior of the reel as well as the reel handle. Reassemble the rel and handle.

Open the bail of the reel and remove the spool from the front of the reel. This is done by either unscrewing a cap nut or twisting the spool counter clock wise. Use the bristle brush to thoroughly clean as much of the reel as may be accessed. Depending on the model reel, there may be gears exposed which may be cleaned. Apply a small amount of reel oil and reassemble.

Apply a few drops of reel oil to the bail mechanism which contains the line roller guide and bail. Pay particular attention to the joint of the bail mechanism as this is a point which will accumulate debris and dirt.


  • Use care when working on reels as it is possible to receive a cut or nick to fingers or hands. Use caution when handling reel oil. Wash hands thoroughly after handling reel oil.


  • Make sure to thoroughly dry the reel and apply a light coating of oil. If routine maintenance cleaning and repair does not solve the problem, refer the reel to a professional repair center.

About the Author

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.