A fishing reel is a piece of machinery that contains a range of moving parts, each of which is designed to work in conjunction with the others. Reels need to be operating to the level they are designed for if you are to get the best out of them, and this means keeping them maintained and in good order.
As with all devices that use many moving parts, regular servicing is certainly beneficial. Why get your reel serviced? Perhaps you have a treasured reel, or one that you simply feel comfortable with, and rather than replace it when something goes wrong, you can get it serviced by an expert, and brought back to its former glory.
The best advice is to have your reels serviced before things goes wrong – or, there may be problems that you have not noticed due to familiarity – in order to prevent problems occurring. A full service – in which the reel is fully stripped, the various parts cleaned of replaced where necessary, and put back together – may actually be a cheaper option than buying a new reel, especially if you have an expensive reel that you want to keep using.
The frequency of a full strip and rebuild service depends upon how often you use your reel: two years is advised for the average fisherman, but it could be shorter if you are fishing on a very regular basis. What you can do to prolong the life of your reel is perform a sort of mini service yourself on a regular basis. So, before we talk to you about some reputable fishing reel servicing companies, let’s have a look at a typical general maintenance routine for your reels.
Just as you would with a bicycle, you should put your reel through a general maintenance routine regularly, and preferably after each session. The following steps are easy to perform DIY maintenance for your reels:
1: Release the tension in the spool and loosen the clutch; this will prolong its life.
2: Thoroughly wash the reel with hot water; this will remove any dirt and bait that may have got into the workings.
3: Once dry, lubricate the mechanism with light oil. Don’t overdo it, as oil can and will attract dirt and dust that you don’t want in there.
That’s really all we would advise you try on your own, unless you are fully conversant with the construction of a fishing reel. These devices are complex and use many small and delicate parts that only an expert will be able to deal with correctly, so let’s have a look at a few names you might want to note down who can provide you with a full reel strip and rebuild service.
Performing a full strip down and service of a fishing reel requires extensive knowledge of the processes involved. Just as you would not attempt to service an expensive watch yourself, you should not attempt to take apart and rebuild your treasured Shimano carp reel, but leave it to the experts! Here are some of the experts who can perform that function for you.
Tacklebox – a major name in the sport of fishing, Tacklebox can handle the servicing of most types of reel, as well as performing many more maintenance services for anglers. They provide a list of prices for full strip down and rebuild servicing of reels – although you are advised to get in touch if you believe you have an item that is non-standard or particularly unusual – and are a major player in rebuilding reels, replacing parts and more. Postage prices are by return, and are very reasonable.
Weston Developments – dedicated experts in reel servicing, Weston Developments are highly regarded for carrying out thorough strip down and rebuild maintenance, and are aimed at those with more expensive reels to keep maintained. They wash and clean every single component and replace where necessary, and also add improved parts where possible as part of the package. You will pay considerably more for your reel service here than at the above – there are various ‘tiers’ of service that they offer – but these guys are renowned experts in dealing with top quality specialised reels.
Reel Value – with more than 30 years of experience in stripping down and rebuilding reels, Reel Value remains one of the leading names in the business, and has a reputation for excellent results. Their dedicated service department holds a library of exploded views covering a vast amount of reels – and you can purchase these if you wish – plus they will have parts machined for you if they are no longer available, so are the people to talk to if you have a vintage or valuable reel. With guarantees of excellent work, the only downside is that there are no prices on the website, but that’s because they are often dealing with unusual items that need pricing individually.
Jim’s Reel Shop – a dedicated reel servicing, sales and maintenance provider, Jim’s Reel Shop has a great reputation for excellent service, and they keep a large stock of spare parts that go as far back as the 1950’s, so your vintage reel will be catered for here. They are happy to supply parts to owners who want to attempt their own servicing, or can carry out a full strip down and rebuild, with cleaning and replacement of broken or damaged parts. The price on the website is for simple fixed spool reels and at less than £30 (not including postage) is very reasonable indeed, and you are asked to enquire with details of your reel for anything more complex.
South Custom Reels – with a full servicing menu on offer – they can do anything from simple tune-ups through to a full strip down and rebuild – South’s Custom Reels also provide a further service, and can provide you with either an off the shelf quality reel, or will build a bespoke model to your request. They can also supply a wide variety of spare parts – including custom-made handles and more – and are highly regarded among specialist carp fishermen. No prices are shown on the website for servicing, so get in touch with your make and model for a price.
The above represent the best of the specialist carp reel servicing outfits in the UK, and we strongly recommend that if you have a reel that you value and are happy with, you make sure you have it serviced at regular intervals. In the long run, this will work out cheaper than buying a new reel every time your un-serviced model becomes unusable.
Mike has over 30 years of fishing experience in carp fishing and general coarse fishing. He is always looking for the latest fishing kit to try out and talk about and needs a bigger shed due to all the fishing tackle he owns. You can read more about him here.