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In the last year I have fished with quite a few people who were complaining about how their reels just didn’t seem to cast as well as they use to. The first thing I ask is, “Do you ever oil your reel?” Everytime the answer is, “No, how do you do that?” Well, here’s how you do it.

Reel Oil

These fishing reel casting and maintenance tips begin with lubricant. Almost every reel I have ever bought has come with a small bottle of oil. If yours didn’t most sporting good stores carry reel oil.

Unlocking the Reel

Accessing the spool is a little bit different with every reel. I try to always use reels where it is easy to field access the spool.

Reel Maintenance

The reel I have pictured above is a Shimano Scorpian and the side plate can be completely removed. On some reels the side plate pops-out and moves up or down. The goal is to get to the spool bearings for oiling. Once you’re able to unlock the side plate, the first thing you want to do is visually inspect it for any foreign debris and run your finger around the outside of the spool and spool guide making sure it is smooth and free of debris.

Oil the Outer Bearing

Now that you have unlocked the side plate and inspected the spool and bearing it’s time to hold the bearing level and add few drops of oil.

Spool Maintenance

Next step is to very carefully move the spool away from the reel handle plate and add a few drops of oil to the spool shaft. After adding oil, you will need to tilt the reel so the oil can run down the spool shaft to the inner bearing.

VPS Break Weight Inspection

With reels that have a VBS (variable braking system) you want to inspect the break weights to make sure some of them turned on and some are turned off.  The way this is done by pressing the break weight closer to center is off and pushing the break weight towards the outer end of the post is on. I like to have my break weights set at 50%, or every other one on. If all break weights are off the spool is 100% free

Reel Break Weights

Another great thing about reels that have a centrifugal braking system using break weights is you can remove them and add lighter or heavier brake weights that can help when conditions require some centrifugal weight adjustments.

Improper Hold VPS Casting Position

When using any reel with a centrifugal force braking system there is a right way and a wrong way to cast. The picture above shows the wrong way to hold and cast the reel if any brake weights are on.

Proper Hold for VBS System

The picture above shows a proper hold when using a VBS system with any brake weights on. You need to turn the reel on its side so gravity will not be pulling at your brake weights that are turned on. Holding the reel sideways the centrifugal force has a chance to work evenly and casting will be smooth.

I sure hope these small tips help you to get some better and further casts and will let you have a more productive day catching fish instead of pulling backlashes out.


Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.