It is that time again!
Time to clean and lube your fishing reels.
And then there you see it, sitting on the tool bench. A can of WD40. Your first thought might be: Can I use wd40 on my fishing reel?
The answer: No, you should not use wd40 on your fishing reels. WD40 is not a lubricate but rather it is designed for water displacement and to be used as a degreaser. So, if you were to use it on your fishing reel, you would actually be breaking down the grease and oil that protect the inner components of your fishing reel from the outside elements.
In addition, fishing line and WD40 do not mix. This is especially true with monofilament. If you were to get any of this stuff on your line, be sure to change it out immediately, otherwise, you will be in for a surprise the next time a fish takes your bait.
You may have heard some anglers say that “it is ok to use WD40 on the outside of your reel, but just don’t use it when cleaning the inside.”
However, when it comes to cleaning and lubing my fishing reels I would completely avoid using WD40. This is because sometimes even if you were only to use a little amount on the outside it can find its way down into your reel and cause all kinds of problems.
Lastly, if you look closely at the ingredients you will notice that it contains a petroleum base oil. So yes it will pollute the water and thus should be avoided.
Instead, do this…
Lube your fishing reels with proper oil and grease.
Always remember that grease is for your gears and oil is for everything else.
But don’t overdo it. Too much grease or too much oil can do more harm than good.
So your next question might be…
What kind of oil do you use on a fishing reel?
The answer: A light machine oil can be used on your fishing reels and some anglers have had success with synthetic automotive oil. However, never use an oil that contains TFE, this is a solid and can gum up your fishing reel.
With that being said, many reel manufacturers provide oils specifically for their reels. For that reason, I would recommend using one of these oils or one that is specifically designed for use on fishing reels.
Is 3 in 1 Oil OK for fishing reels?
The answer: No, you should not use 3 in 1 oil on your fishing reels. This oil was designed for lubricating bicycle gears and chains. It is a much thicker oil and doesn’t work well in fishing reels.
Best Oil For Fishing Reels – Baitcasting & Spinning
Let’s take a look at my top 6 picks when it comes to oiling up your fishing gear.
- 100% synthetic oil
- 1.5-inch steel applicator
- 4 ounces
The first oil that we are going to take a closer look at is the 100% synthetic oil by Liberty.
Applying oil to your fishing reel whether spinning or baitcasting calls for precision, otherwise, you are going to have a mess and needlessly waste oil.
That is what I like about liberty oil, not only is it 100% synthetic ensuring to provide your reel with the proper lubrication, but it also includes a 1.5-inch steel applicator.
This steel applicator allows you to get down into those deep tight areas that need lubricating with ease.
Simply apply a drop at every lube point and you are ready to go. No spills and best of all no mess to clean up afterward.
- A Special blend of oil and additives
- Easy to carry bottle
- Made in the USA
- 1-ounce bottle
Another oil designed to protect your favorite investment (your fishing reels) is Lucas Oil.
This is a special blend of oil and other additives to offer the best protection whether you are a freshwater or saltwater fisherman.
It too includes a small applicator allowing you to get into those tight areas.
The best feature that I like about this particular oil is that it comes in a small package. This is a great feature because it means you can bring it with you just about anywhere you go.
Just a tiny drop of this stuff and your reel will feel brand new.
PENN Reel Oil
- Synthetic Oil
- 4 ounces
- Reasonable price
Penn is a company that knows a thing or two about fishing reels, in addition, they have also come out with an oil to ensure that your reels last a long time.
The question now is; does PENN Oil have what it takes to be the best oil for fishing reels?
I say yes and here is why.
First and foremost it is a synthetic oil that has been tested to provide the utmost protection on your freshwater and saltwater reels.
However, what I like most about this particular product is the price. For a very affordable price, you get 4 ounces of oil.
At that price point, there are no excuses for not properly lubricating your reels.
The only drawback to Penn Oil is there is no applicator making it a little difficult to apply, but you could always buy a different bottle with a long applicator if need be.
Daiwa Reel Oiler
- Long thin needle applicator
- Clear bottle
As we mentioned earlier, to ensure that your reel lasts a long time, it is essential to properly maintain it by oiling and greasing it regularly.
However, too much oil can be just as bad as no oil at all. That is why I really the next lubricate on our list, it is the Daiwa Reel Oiler.
This oil comes with a needle applicator. I love the applicator on this one because you can get down to the tightest areas and easily apply a drop of oil without overdoing it.
In addition, it comes in a very compact and easy to carry bottle that is see through.
Being see through is another advantage in itself as it allows you to see exactly how much oil is left.
Ardent Butter Oil
- Anti gumming agent
- Synthetic oil
- Use in all weather conditions
- Super Low Viscosity
- 1-ounce bottle
Do you have a squeaky reel? Do you wish your reels had that butter smooth feeling once again?
If so, give Ardent Butter Oil a try and I am not just saying that because it has butter in the name.
This is a synthetic oil that can be used in both freshwater and saltwater reels. It addition, it is formulated with an anti-gumming agent, so you won’t have to worry about it getting hard or gumming up your reel.
It is rated to perform its best in all types of weather conditions both hot and cold.
Lastly, it comes in a 1-ounce bottle with a decent applicator tip.
Hoppe’s No. 9 Lubricating Oil
- Needle Applicator
- Clear Squeeze Bottle
- 14.9 mL
The last oil on our list and certainly not the least is Hoppe’s No. 9.
This is a high viscosity oil that has been refined over the years to offer you the best protection. It never will gum up on you or expire.
It is equipped with a very easy needle applicator allowing you to get to those tight spaces that often get overlooked. To make application even easier, the needle applicator doesn’t clog or tighten up.
Lastly, it is also available in a clear bottle making it easier to see just how much oil you have left.
Low Viscosity vs High Viscosity – What is the difference?
When shopping for the best oil for your fishing reels you may have heard the terms low viscosity and high viscosity used often. So, what do these terms mean and how important are they for your fishing needs?
Basically, these terms are used to describe how thick the oil is. The higher the viscosity the thicker it is and the lower the viscosity the thinner it is.
Which one is better?
Well, that really comes down to personal preference. Having said that there are a few things to take into consideration when searching for good lube.
For example, a higher viscosity oil is thicker and thus going to stick better to the bearings. Because of this, it will require less frequent lubrication. However, this type of oil won’t allow the bearings to spin as fast as one with a lower viscosity.
On the other hand, a lower viscosity oil is going to allow the bearings to spin faster, but it won’t stick to them as well. Lower viscosity is going to require more frequent lubrication.
Another thing to take into consideration is the temperature. High viscosity is going to perform better in the summer and a lower viscosity is going to perform its best in winter.
Does that mean you have to change out the oil for different seasons?
Not necessarily, but if this is a concern of your you could choose an oil that falls somewhere in the middle rather than one with a super high or super low viscosity.
How often should you oil your fishing reel?
Most manufacturers will recommend that you oil your baitcasting or spinning reel once a year. I prefer to do it during my downtime in winter, just before the spring spawn. However, it may be necessary to oil your fishing reel more often if you are more than a weekend fisherman.
What is reel oil made of?
Most reel oil is made from synthetic oil. Others are petroleum based. Both are designed to provide lubrication and protect against corrosion and rust.
The Best Grease For Fishing Reels – Baitcasting & Spinning
Another important lubricate is grease, so let’s briefly talk about what is the best grease for fishing reels.
The first on our list the Penn Grease.
Penn’s grease has been tested and proven to be a reliable lubricate for both spinning and baitcasting reels. Because it sticks so well to the surface that it is applied to, it is a great option for those who fish in saltwater often, but it can be used on freshwater gear as well.
The grease itself is blue in color making it extremely easy to see where you have greased and what areas are still in need.
Lastly, it comes in a 2-ounce tub which is a good amount for the lower price point.
Ardent Reel Butter Grease
The next on our list of the best grease for fishing reels is Ardent Reel Butter Grease.
This is a 100% synthetic grease that sticks nicely to brass, steel, and plastic. It is a long last formula with a few additional additives.
The first additive is what they call the super smooth giving it that coveted buttery smooth feel.
The second additive is a UV tracer. Once you have applied the lubricate to your gear you can use a blacklight to see just what areas have been lubricated and which ones still need a little TLC. A great feature so that no areas get missed.
Lastly, this grease prevents corrosion and rusts and will work on any fishing reel, (both spinning and baitcasting).
Shimano Dura-Ace Grease
Could we expect anything less from Shimano? They have a history of providing top of the line fishing gear. This grease is no different.
One of the most important things that people look for in a grease is consistency. We want one that is going to stick to the gears/drag etc. and yet not so thick that it gums up our reel.
That is exactly what the Dura-Ace formula has accomplished.
They have managed to develop a lube with the perfect amount of consistency not too thick, not too thin, but just right.
Next, it is a distinct color helping you to see it better. In addition, I like a grease with a distinct color because it helps to identify what areas have an old grease vs what areas still need to be lubed.
Lastly, it is available in 3 different sizes, 50 grams, 100 grams, and 500 grams.
Is White Lithium Grease good for fishing reels?
The answer: No, white lithium grease is not good for your fishing reels. Not only does it make a mess, but it tends to harden quickly and can cause things to gum up.
As you can see, WD40 is not a lubricate and should be avoided when it comes to lubing up your fishing gear.
Instead, use these oils and grease that have been proven to offer the best protection.
Now it is your turn. What have you found to be the best oil for fishing reels? What grease do you use? Which one is the best grease for fishing reels? Share your thoughts in the comments below.