Common Spinning Reel Problems and How to Fix Them

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Common Spinning Reel Problems and How to Fix Them

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Category : Blog , Spinning Reel

From time to time we all have faced problems with our spinning reel. Most of the time we do not recognize that there are simple fixes for these issues and that they can be easily avoided with proper care and maintenance of our equipment.

In this post, we will be going through some of the common spinning reel issues we face and how they can be easily fixed or prevented.

1: Line Twist

One of the most common problems faced by beginners and seasoned anglers alike. The line twist is much dreaded and can be due to several reasons, long-term usage is a common cause where over time, the constant casting and reeling in results in the lure, rather than the blade spins in the water

Another common cause of line twist is when beginners are spooling their new lines. This has happened to me a few times, where spooling new lines by hand has resulted in a loose and uneven distribution of the line. This especially happens in close faced spinster where the problem only surfaced when actually casting and reeling in the new line.

Solution: Luckily this common problem has an easy fix. I know it is defiantly impossible to untwist the line. Thus one simply has to cut off the old line and apply the new one using a professional machine which will ensure a tight and uniform wind. Always check that the spool is tight after about 6 turns and always match the size of your test line to the size of the reel itself.


2: Bail Spring

The internal bail spring is usually the main cause of mechanical failure we usually experience with our spinning reel, this results in the return spring failing to flip the bail back open. Usually, wear and tear are the main cause or impact to the spinning reel itself would be the cause.

Another cause might be due to the bail wire instead; they are likely to be bent out of shape. A simple check can be done by noticing if the bail wire is catching/hitting the rotor turning some of the revolutions.

Solution: For a bail spring issue, a simple replacement is usually the answer, unless you are using an older spinning reel model. Else, replacement parts should be cheap and easy to find.

Check out this video of a walkthrough of a bail spring replacement:

If it appears to be an out of shape bail wire, You need to reshape the bail wire by bending it with your palms so that in the relaxed position it sits where it needs to be. The screw hole in the bail wire should line up with the screw hole in the side of the rotor.


3: Gear Slippage / Gear Grinding

Gear slippage is usually caused by long-term wear and tear or, when the side plate screws have loosened and the gears have shifted out of position, causing the teeth to mesh incorrectly, resulting in the grinding sound we hear. This is usually an easy fix, but it is recomended to be done asap, long term grinding of the gear would cause a whole host of other problem to develop.

Solution: It is recommended that a full replacement of the gear set is done. This is the quickest and only fix. However, as a general rule of thumb, we should be conducting general maintenance on the spinning reel frequently, this would include lubrication of moving parts which would help prevent premature wear and tear on the gears.


4: Reel Bearing

Another item on the wear and tear list. Bearing wear depending on the quality used by the manufacturer varies greatly. More often than not, the wear is usually due to dirt and grit finding their way into the internals of the spinning reel and there is usually no preventing it from happening, given the environment we usually fish in. Improper lubrication of the ball bearings would also cause excessive wear and tear.

Solution: We, however, can always prolong the life of bearings by ensuring frequent maintenance of the bearings which would prevent the accumulation of dirt and grit. One or two drops of lubricant are more than enough for ball bearing maintenance. If the bearings are still not functioning smoothly after a clean, it would be best to do a replacement as prolong usage of damages bearings would ultimately damage your spinning reel as well.


5: Line Size

I get a lot of questions and see a lot of beginners facing this issue. As seen in the first point, the usage of the wrong line size can lead to many problems we face with our spinning reel. The problem also includes casting issues and frequent line entanglement. I notice that anglers usually use lines which are too heavy.

Solution: Always always always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation. No one knows the performance capabilities better than the manufacturers themselves. While they may have built extra tolerance into our spinning reel, they have also done multiple tests to determine the optimal performance of our spinning reel which is reflected in the recommended line to be used.


6: Corrosion

This is for our saltwater anglers out there. There is no escape from the dreaded rust that creeps up slowly on us. Nothing damages and impedes the performance of a spinning reel then rust.

Solution: This fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, is an easy fix. Prevention is key in this case, proper maintenance and storage of our spinning reel is the best solution towards rust. It is good practice to always rise of your spinning reel after a session out in the salt water and use a toothbrush for removal of  any early sign of rust.


7: Spinning Reel Locking Issue

From the numerous forums questions, I notice that this seems like another common issue faced by many. Regardless of brands or age of the spinning reel, many people were unable to lock their spinning reel. Many times it is due to the breakdown within the locking mechanism.

Solution:  In this case, problems could be caused by the bail wire, line roller or spring. Removal of the bail wire is needed. Check for signs of rust, bending or marring in the mental. At the same time check the line roller for damage or corrosion and the spring for any kinks, breaks or excessive stretching. Replacement of the above parts is recommended.


And there you have it, some of the most common problems we face with our spinning reels on a day to day basis. I find that this step by step guide from the Fixitclub has been helpful for my own repairs.

While most of these problems can be easily fixed and reduced with proper maintenance of our reels, their frequent occurrences might be a sign that you have a reel of lesser quality, it might be time for an upgrade instead. Check out our Best Spinning Reel recommendations for quality reels that would not break the bank! Spending a bit more would reduce the number of headaches and missed catch we face.

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