Easily one of the most overlooked aspects of maintaining fishing gear is greasing your reel, spool, as well as drag washers. Year after year, trip after trip, we come home from a long day on the water, stash away our rods and reels in a corner somewhere and forget about them until the next time we have the itch to hit the water.
Depending on the reel you purchased you may be able to keep this up for a couple of years.
Eventually, something will go wrong in the gear systems and you’ll be forced to either junk it or scour the internet for replacement parts. I only hope for your sake that it broke during a retrieve and there was no fish on the other end when it decided to crap out on you.
Let me step down off my soapbox for a minute because I too have been guilty of this. I’ve left expensive Penn reels to fend for themselves against dirt, debris, and any other residue that I may have picked up from the various rivers, lakes, and ponds that I’ve frequented. So far, I have been lucky that a fish hasn’t been on the other end when one has decided to break.
Since I’ve begun using various reel lubricants, greases and reel oil this problem has been eradicated. Even my older, neglected setups have been responding properly and are still consistently catching fish for me to this day.
Below we are going to be reviewing and discussing a few different types of grease, which will be able to help increase the lifetime of your reels. The following companies make great products. However if you’re loyal to your own business, then know that Penn, Shimano, Cal, Abu Garcia, Daiwa and other major companies make a grease as well. Make sure to also check out Quantums “Hot Sauce” grease.
Before we go into detail about these, let’s dive into what fishing grease is and how it can be beneficial to you and your gear.
What is Fishing Grease
When I first started greasing my spinning reels, I had no idea what I needed to get or how to even apply it properly. Luckily, I was able to ask a coworker, who then proceeded to berate me for the next 10 minutes while simultaneously showing me how to take a reel and spool apart to properly lubricate it. I promise there will be little to no criticism in this article.
First off, grease is used to keep the internal workings of your reel lubricated and free of friction. Over time these gears can begin to get corroded, which will eventually lead to a broken internal component. Without greasing your reel, you can expect to eventually start feeling a grinding sensation occurring, followed by increased friction when turning the handle and finally your reel completely breaking.
In some come cases your fishing line may be put under too much stress due to the reel not properly working. This can result in lost fish and crushed dreams.
The grease helps keep everything inside of your reel lubricated and working properly. However, because it is so thick, it should be used only on internal components. Do not apply it to the outside of a reel. This will cause a slick mess.
Also, the grease you choose will need to be based on whether you will be fishing in saltwater or freshwater. They are vastly different and you should be treating your gear specifically for each.
What are the Benefits of Fishing Reel Grease?
The most important benefit of properly greasing your reel is the longevity you’ll get out of it. If you’ve purchased a nicer reel, say near or above the triple-digit mark, you’ll want to get all you can out of it. With proper reel maintenance and lubrication you can use that reel for decades.
We, as fishers, never want to lose a fish, but you definitely don’t want to lose one because you didn’t take five minutes to put some reel lubricants on the gears. Take the time and make sure the internal workings of your reel are dirt and debris free, then add whichever product you need to make sure those gears last a lifetime.
Good Lubricating Properties: Make sure to find a product that has good lubricating properties. Grease is a combination of soap and oil, so look for a soap that holds the most amount of oil possible. You see this by checking the side of the bottle as “per ml of grease”.
Low Separation Rates: Also keep in mind the rate that the oil separates from the soap. The dated model of lithium soap grease will cause the oil to escape, which just leaves the soap behind. This is an issue because the soap will begin to harden in position if you don’t use your reel enough, which will cause corrosion much faster than without it.
Corrosion Inhibiting Properties: Water can be extremely corrosive to your gear, especially if you’re a saltwater fisherman, so it’s important to check that the grease has good corrosion inhibiting properties.
Water Resistant: Make sure that it is also water resistant. You don’t want something that will be washed away after a couple of casts.
Thermal Stability: If you’re only fishing during the warmer months then you don’t have to worry about this next piece. But anyone who enjoys fishing in the cold, when the fair-weather anglers are inside, then this is for you. Ensure that the grease has proper thermal stability. You definitely do not want that stuff to harden inside your reel. If you do, it could cause extensive corroding of the gears, and you’ll be either hitting the keyboard and browsing Amazon, or heading to the store to purchase a new reel.
What’s the difference between fishing reel grease and oil?
Both of these serve to prolong the life of a fishing reel, but they each have a different purpose. Both are used to lubricate, but oil is primarily used in tougher to reach spots such as the crank handle or on the bail. The reason it’s used in tighter areas is because of how thin it is.
This allows it to penetrate deeper and get in all the nooks and crannies. Whereas grease is thick, heavy and sticks to parts much easier. This is why grease is used on larger, easy to reach pieces such as the internal gears.
Now that we have an overview of what grease is and what it’s used for, let’s take a look at some top products that you can use yourself.
This is a high performing lubricant and protective coating spray. The best part about this product is it doesn’t have to be specifically used on fishing reels. It could be used for any number of items including but not limited to:
And anything else that you would like to remain free of rust.
This is perfect for those small moving parts on your fishing reel, such as the bail or handle. It even gets rid of existing moisture as well as rust.
Micpol is a technology found only in Interflon Products. This is a particle that is 1500X smaller than a human hair and is polarized to have a negative charge, which means they will magnetically be attached to any positively charged particles on any surface. I’m not 100% sure what that all means, but it sounds incredible.
This is a high performing grease that will prevent corrosion and is thick enough that it attaches to any of the moving parts inside of your reel housing. This grease is made specifically for fishing reels, so it is very similar to the grease that is already on there from the manufacturer.
This product will work on both a saltwater and freshwater reel. The fact that it is 100% synthetic oil means it acts as a rust and corrosion inhibitor, which means it will protect all your internal elements from the corrosive saltwater.
It also bonds to brass, steel, and plastic on contact and comes with a UV tracer inside of it. So, when you think you need a refresher, all you have to do is shine a blacklight on top of it to see where exactly you need to add a little extra Reel Butter.
Working in both salt and freshwater, “Fin Grease” is a premier lubricant for your reels. It will spray on as an oil and then once settled it will expand into a grease; this makes it perfect for those tough to reach spots in your reel.
It also resists the cold, which is the perfect accompaniment to the wintertime fisherman who cares for the longevity of their gear. Similar to the Interflon Super, this adheres via magnetic particles. Because of this, it provides a bond stronger than regular viscosity can provide. All of these factors together create an amazing lubricant that repels water, protects from wear, and lasts up to ten times longer than other brands.
With a great viscosity, this multi-purpose grease will have no trouble sticking to your internal components. It has a bright blue hue which will allow you to see exactly where you have applied it and where you may have missed a spot.
It’s an aluminum complex grease which means that compared to other brands, it has the highest percentage of oil per unit. This means it has excellent corrosion properties and will stick to aluminum, bronze, and steel. It even has exceptional thermal stability so you can also use it in the cold.
Due to it being marine grease, it can be used on your boat components as well. It’s the perfect accessory to keep with you in a storage box. Arguably this is one of the better products on the market, and it will work on bait casters, spinning reels, trolling reels, as well as your boat.
Finally, it should be mentioned that you should not mix different types of grease together. If you do this, you run the risk of soaps in the grease reacting with each other and hardening up. If this happens it can cause serious corrosion to the metal workings of your reel.
Also, using silicone grease or oil is a big no-no. Silicones don’t have the same lubricating power and are only meant to be used in highly corrosive environments. These will simply not work.
It’s not necessary to apply grease and reel oil after every outing, but depending on the frequency in which you fish, it’s best to do it at least 1-2 times a year. Maybe an extra time or two if you’re fishing in saltwater.
This can truly make the difference in the life of your equipment. A well cleaned and lubricated reel could last decades to potentially a lifetime if treated properly. Hopefully, this article has persuaded you to start greasing and using reel oil your reels.