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slinkymalinky

So You've Dunked Your Reel In Salt Water...

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A lot of people end up dunking reels in salt water. With the number of times I've been asked I thought I'd pop up an 'emergency first aid for reels' post to cover this sort of event.

So what should you do if it happens to you?

1. DO NOT USE THE REEL! NOT AT ALL! NOT EVEN TO TEST IT OUT!!! :1onono:

All you'll do if you start winding the reel, even if it feels fine, is emulsify the lubricants inside and spread salt and crud to every corner of the reel.

2. Rinse it in fresh water. THIS ISN'T A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS THAT THE SALT WATER WILL HAVE CREATED BUT IT'S JUST COMMON SENSE. Soaking it in a bucket of fresh water is fine.

3. IMMEDIATELY strip down and completely clean and re-lube the reel. If you can't do it, then find someone who can... fast! The bearings in your reel will start corroding very soon. It's quite possible that after only a couple of days out of the salt water, you'll still need new bearings.

If I dunked a good reel and didn't have the ability or tools to get it back together again (say I was on a long-range trip or something), I'd still strip it down, completely clean all the parts, carefully store them in a bag or container, then reassemble the reel when I got back (or send the parts to Global Tackle to do)

4. DON"T DO IT AGAIN!

Cheers, Slinky

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Hi Slinky,

Interesting post.

Just wondering would the above hold true if you dropped a reel into fresh water ? Presumably the bearings will still start to rust albeit less aggressively and over a longer period of time ? Should I not hose down my reels after each salt water trip because the culmination of fresh water hose downs may damage the reel internals (especially the bearings) ? :wacko: :wacko:

Evets

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Yes, you're right... a dunking in fresh water still needs to be dealt with but you have a little more time than with salt water. ANY water inside a reel is a bad thing but rinsing off reels after a days fishing is essential too.

The trick is to avoid the water getting anywhere it shouldn't be, like inside the reel or drag system. That's why most experts will recommend NEVER washing a reel under high pressure water... like blasting them with a hose. I rinse mine either under a gentle mist or with a gentle trickle of water. And I make sure that my drags are done up tight first (but just be aware that there are a few lever-drag reels where the drag chamber is only water tight when the reel is in free-spool)

Not cleaning your reels after a day on the salt water is a great way to shorted their working life considerably.

Cheers, Slinky

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Just an added note in regards to lever drags, its also important to give the added protection to it while on the boat. When trolling or travelling with them in your boats rear rod holders they can cop a fair bit of spray from the wake. I have pulled apart one of my avets after a long day on the water to find a fair amount of water sitting in the gear box. Some reels have drainage points in the bottom of the gear box(jigging master for instance) but either way water has still come into contact with the internals. Unless trolling remove LD reels from the rear holders or cover with neoprene covers. After a long days fishing I like to pull apart my LD's to make sure nothing has gotten inside. IMO lever drag reels are by far the easiest to strip down, and at the end of the day id rather spend 20mins stripping one down then spending dollars in new parts. I also have since drilled a small hole in the lower part of the gear box of all my LD reels to allow drainage. (Note: don't drill the hole when the reel is together! You don't need a hole in the gear also!)

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Just an added note in regards to lever drags, its also important to give the added protection to it while on the boat. When trolling or travelling with them in your boats rear rod holders they can cop a fair bit of spray from the wake. I have pulled apart one of my avets after a long day on the water to find a fair amount of water sitting in the gear box. Some reels have drainage points in the bottom of the gear box(jigging master for instance) but either way water has still come into contact with the internals. Unless trolling remove LD reels from the rear holders or cover with neoprene covers. After a long days fishing I like to pull apart my LD's to make sure nothing has gotten inside. IMO lever drag reels are by far the easiest to strip down, and at the end of the day id rather spend 20mins stripping one down then spending dollars in new parts. I also have since drilled a small hole in the lower part of the gear box of all my LD reels to allow drainage. (Note: don't drill the hole when the reel is together! You don't need a hole in the gear also!)

you could also just lock the drag up so water cant enter into the reel

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With LD's applying drag it pushes the spool away from the frame and can cause a gap in some models, so its possibly not watertight unless in freespool mode. Locking the drag will prevent/reduce water absorbing in the drag but allow it to access the rest of the reel internals.

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What Woodch0p said is important. Every reel is different so maintenance and cleaning have to be thought about carefully.

This is a pic (thanks to Alan Tani) from a little Penn 975 lever drag. The black ring is the drag cover. The gap between the cover and the drive plate is what you get in this particular reel (because of how it's designed) when you engage the drag. When in freespool there's no gap.

post-6175-018245700 1284964936_thumb.jpg

These pics are a few of the problems inside the reel caused by water getting inside

post-6175-020264500 1284964932_thumb.jpg

post-6175-050100800 1284964933_thumb.jpg

post-6175-096548400 1284964934_thumb.jpg

This is a reel that should be washed with the drag in freespool position

Cheers, Slinky

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So how does one know which type of LD reel keeps the water out/in while in freespool ? What exactly do you look for to determine this ?

Evets

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The only way to know is to either open it up yourself, ask someone who has, or ask the manufacturer.

Sorry... no easy answer, Slinky

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