Simple Baitcaster Maintenance Tips For Saltwater Fishing

After a day of fishing in saltwater, brackish water, or dirty freshwater, it’s important to clean your reels to keep them performing at the highest level. Without proper cleaning, salt and dirt can damage the inside and outside of your reels. Shimano recommends a good cleaning when you get home, but it doesn’t have to take forever. Watch Shimano Reel Service Manager Doug Bouse as he shares his simple maintenance tips for cleaning your baitcasters after a day in the salt. Read the step-by-step breakdown below the video! 


Cleaning Supplies

All you need in a few household items

1.      Clean Towel

2.      Rubbing Alcohol

3.      Q-Tip

Getting Started

When you get home from fishing, wet your towel with clean, fresh water. Use the towel to wipe off the outside of your reel, removing any salt or grime that built up over the day. 

Once the outside of your reel is cleaned off, it’s time to move inside the reel. Pop the side plate open so you can remove the spool. If you have line on your spool, we recommend taping around the line so it’s not hanging off, and there are no tags in between the frame and the spool when you put it back together.


Cleaning The Flange Area & Pinion Gear

Once the spool is removed, take your Q-Tip and apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the end. Apply the Q-Tip on the inside of the frame, at the flange areas. The flange area is where the flanges of spool ride. There are two areas to target - the side by the handle, and on the side plate.


After cleaning the flange areas, next we want to clean out the pinion gear. Take the Q-tip and remove a little bit of the cotton so it’s thin enough to use. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the thin end of the Q-Tip and insert it into the pinion gear. Use the Q-Tip in a back and forth motion to hone out the gear, removing any excess oil, dirt, and salt. 


We also recommend using your towel to wipe down the main shaft of your spool, as well as the flanges on both sides. Once finished put the spool back in and put the side plate back into place.


Ask A Shimano Reel Technician

Almost every Shimano reel can be used in saltwater, including our line of low profile baitcasters. The Curado, Casitas, and Metanium MGL are some of our favorite baitcasters in saltwater. Just remember to keep 'em clean! 

Have questions? Send us your questions on Facebook or call our reel maintenance team at 877-577-0600.