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High-quality fishing tackle directly from Japan to worldwide. All prices are in US$.

Let's maintain and fix bait casting reels!

I know many fishermen love to open their reels and fix them from night to night especially during winter. Here is something you should mind before opening reels. Stories are for mainly Shimano casting reels but mostly applicable to all casting reels.

My reel doesn't cast well recently.

Before you send back your reel, let's check it by yourself.

As you use the reel, and time pasts, your reel will not perform as it used to. Most troubles are related to the damage of ball bearings, caused by improper lubrication, no-lubrication, salt-water damage, long-storage, and etc. Recent reels are equipped with a lot of high-quality stainless ball bearings, but they die sooner than you expect with improper care. Here you will find how to diagnose your reel easily.

To diagnose spool bearing condition:

Count the duration of spool spin when you hit it by finger. Please remove lines from spool and disable all centrifugal brake blocks. Make sure to loosen the mechanical brake and clutch off the reel. In good condition, spool should spins the time of duration listed below.


Model Spin Duration Average*, ** (seconds)
Antares MG


Metanium XT red 3-4
Metanium XT silver SF 12-14
Scorpion 1500/1501 w/normal spool 3-4
Scorpion 1500/1501 SF 12-14
Calcutta 200XT/201XT 4-6
Scorpion 1000/1001, disabling outer blocks 12-15
Daiwa reels w/ MAG force V, brake min 6-8

*Genuine oil lubrication. If you use different oil, result will differ.

**The data is not official, but will provide good sense of your reel condition.

If your spool doesn't spin long, please check 3 ball bearings as follows.

1) Ball bearing on brake plate (at the end of spool shaft):

Put the spool on the brake plate upright and gently hit the spool. Good BB will spin very smoothly without noise. With a rusted BB, spool does not spin, or it makes strange noise.

2) Please take out the BB from mechanical cap side and do the same.  Be careful, springs and small white washers love to jump.

3) Ball bearing on spool shaft (reels w/normal spool or wiffle spool, not applicable to SF spool reels):

Pinch the outer of the ball bearing and spin the spool gently. Good bearing will spin very smoothly without noise. When you pinch it, your finger should not touch the pin on shaft or spool. If you see any red or orange at the bearing, it is surely rusted and dead.

Unless you have used your casting reel with saltwater, other ball bearings don't have to be checked for a long time.

If you find any ball bearings wrong, please replace it with new ball bearing. Higher grade ABEC ball bearings do little, and normal grade is enough.

Gear trouble?

When you feel gear noise, and fine vibration in retrieving:

First, fix 2 ball bearings at the end of spool shaft. Then if the reel is equipped with an SF spool, check the bearing at pinion gear. It is indicated in red. It is covered by a thin metal plate. This bearing is easy to suffer water damage because of its position, and then it makes noise and fine vibration like gear noise. If it makes some noise or vibration when you put it on a pen and spin it with light thrust, please replace it with new one. This bearing should be lubricated with grease because it receives large thrust from pinion gear.

If you still have vibration, then open the body and check the pinion gear, if you are capable to reassemble.

I'd like to replace parts

We sell parts for Shimano and Daiwa Japan models. Please contact us at  Also many parts are interchangeable with US models.

Lubrication, a lot of alternatives

Choose oil wisely. Thin spray oils, like WD40 are too thin to be used for bearings which will covered by water. It soon evaporates from bearing, and leaves damages like corrosion or rust. Please use reel oil sold by reel manufacturers, like Shimano and ABU for longer life. There are a lot of after market oils like ReelX, Rocket Fuel, silicone oils and etc. Please remember, any oil cannot divert largely from viscosity (thickness)-life line. When you use thin performing oil, you'll need more frequent maintenance. If you use thicker oil, gears and bearings will last longer but doesn't cast as good as thin oil.


How to prevent troubles?

1) Read the instruction paper. However, the instructions will be written in Japanese for directly imported reels. Instructions on the US reels and Japan reels are almost the same. The only difference is about lubrication. Japanese models are mostly lubricated with oil, and US models are with grease. If you see any rain drop marks in the paper, that's the place you need to take care.

2) Lubricate your reel as frequently as possible. If you could correctly guess what's on the instruction picture, now you know the very what is written. For Shimano Japan casting reels, you should lubricate ball bearings at both end of spool shaft at least once every three fishing trips.

3) Use appropriate oil in appropriate amount at appropriate frequency. Don't put spray oil to bearings lubricated with grease, or to inside the reel system. The thin oil will wash away the grease from them. Similarly, if you put thin oil into gear system, gear will no longer hold grease on its surface, and they start scraping each other. Grease is used to gears, bearings holding gears, handle, clutch, and etc, to almost every parts sliding or moving.

Genuine oil are a little thicker than those spray oil, but they last longer on bearings. Please remind that thin oil will shorten the life of bearings. Just a drop, or less than that is fine for small ball bearings. Excess oil will travel to other parts and do wrong on them.

4) Dry it. Clean it. Dry out the reel after you use it. If you drop a reel into water, don't use it before cut water fully. Water will be mixed with grease and cause troubles if you use it immediately. Dirt also do only harm to reels. Keep your reel clean. If you've dropped a reel on sand and handle doesn't rotate later, don't force the handle. Sand particles are stacking between gears and you'll damage both gears if you force it. Open the reel and clean all the inside parts fully.

5) Wash your reel in a flowing tap water, after you use it with saltwater and blackish water.  Never sink it in pooled water. Of course dry it, and lubricate it every time. For spinning reels, the bearing at line roller will die first. Wash it thoroughly, and lubricate it with grease or thick oil.

6) Pay a little for longer life. Ball bearings and other parts like pinion gear are designed to be replaced if necessary. With regular maintenance and replacing those worn out parts, fishing reels last very long with great performances. It is a good idea to have it serviced at the end of every/every two fishing season. Your purchase is not a cheap to be thrown away after use of a few seasons!!


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