Category Archives: Fishing Reel Repair

Examples of The Reel Tech’s fishing reel repair and service.

HAPPY 2015!!


I am very fortunate for being involved in the fishing industry in one way or another for the last 25 years. Each year, new friends are met, and new relationships are started. I also get the pleasure to be of service to my growing family of long time repeat customers and friends.

As 2014 comes to a close, The Reel Tech would like to thank all of my fishing reel and custom rod customers for keeping me so busy! Thank you for your trust, confidence, and satisfaction. I am excited to continue growing The Reel Tech book of satisfied, happy, return customers in 2015.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!
John Strenk
The Reel Tech

REEL TECH CUSTOM – AllAroundangler BENDO shot

Chris Heller of was fishing with the NWK crew recently when they captured this photo of Heller fighting a fish. Knowing how much I enjoy Bendo shots, especially when the rod in the photo is a Reel Tech Custom, he sent this photo to me.

Fantastic shot of a Reel Tech Custom in a full arc…..thanks Chris ๐Ÿ™‚
Cant wait to get out and fish with you guys again.

Tight lines and screaming drags!

Reel Tech Tip: Maximizing Casting Performance

As a reel technician, I get lots of customers who are wishing to achieve better casting distance or better โ€œfree spoolโ€ from their bait casting reels. During my troubleshooting process, I often notice that the reels are not adjusted properly to maximize the casting performance of the reel. An extensive cleaning and proper lubrication combined with proper reel adjustments will deliver all the desired free spool the customer could want.

The common mis perception regarding the cast control knob is that if backing it off is supposed to increase the free spool, the more you back it off, the more freely the spool will spin. This is not the case. To properly adjust the reel for the most optimum free spool, you need to first depress the thumb bar, or disengage the reel as if you were to make a cast. Place your thumb on the spool. Wiggle your thumb from left to right while depressing on the spool. There will likely be โ€œknockingโ€ sound as you move your thumb left to right. This noise is caused by the ends of the spool shaft knocking against the shims that lay under the bearings inside the side plate on both sides of the reel. Slowly tighten down the cast control knob while moving the spool back and forth with your thumb. The side to side movement of the spool will diminish as you tighten down the cast control knob. The idea is to tighten to the point where there is just the slightest movement back and forth. You will barely be able to hear or feel any more knocking as you move the spool under your thumb. THIS is the setting where your reel will have its greatest free spool performance. Further adjustments can be made by tuning off the centrifugal casting pins on the spool, or turning the magnetic backlash control to the โ€œoffโ€ or โ€œ0″ position.

Shown here is an Abu Revo. The cast control knob is located just behind the handle on the sideplate:

Further tightening of the cast control knob beyond the optimal point will result in more pressure on the tips of the spool shaft, and slow down the spool. Further loosening of the cast control knob beyond the optimal point will result in the spool knocking back and forth during the cast as the line is coming off of the spool. This will also slow down the spool and adversely affect casting distance.

Give it a try on your reels at home and see what you have been missing.

Happy Customer – Reel Tech Custom Rods – Words from the water

“Hi John, thought I would let you know what a fantastic rod you built. I only drifted 20 ft when this first one took it, which was our largest today. landed another to finish out the day. I really like the rod and especially your detail work. Many Thanks! “

Reel Tech Custom broken in the first day, the first cast, first drift. I think that may be a new record for time it takes to break one in. LOVE IT! Makes me VERY HAPPY!

Enjoy the rod my friend, wishing you many more steelhead on your new rod!

Tight Lines….Keep em BENDO!!!

Reel Tech Tip – Spinning Reel Bail Systems

An improperly working bail system on a spinning reel can make for a frustrating day and sometimes take the reel out of commission until repaired. A few things to keep in mind concerning spinning reel bail systems. A great rule to follow and to put into practice is to always close the bail with your hand. Yes, the bail will close if you turn the handle, but developing the habit of closing the bail with your hand will prolong the life of the bail, reduce wear, and puts less stress on the whole system. There are other parts involved such as the friction ring, the bail trip lever, and the ramp that trips the lever which all play a part when turning the handle to close the bail. Another great habit to get into is to make sure the line is seated in the line roller after your cast and you close the bail. This can completed in the same process. Close the bail with your hand, pull the line into the line roller, and begin your retrieve. This will eliminate the chance of the line not being seated in the line roller, the line opening the bail when you set the hook, and causing unnecessary damage to the bail system. Once you develop this habit, it becomes second nature and you donโ€™t even have to think about it.

I have seen many people who like to make a hard cast with a spinning reel and close the bail while the lure/offering is in mid flight to stop the cast. This is not a good idea as this puts undue stress and shock on the bail system. If you wish to control the distance of a cast or stop the cast altogether, a better practice is to put a finger on the lip of the spool to feather the line/slow/stop the line coming off the spool. Once the lure/offering hits the water, close the bail with your hand and begin your retrieve.

Be mindful of the bail wire and bail arm. This is an easily damaged and relatively fragile part of a spinning reel. An impact to the wire itself (stepped on or dropped) can deform the shape of the wire and cause it to be ineffective. An impact can also damage/break the bail arm/spring connection, cause mis alignment, and can render it useless as well.

Photo showing the Bail Wire, Line Roller, and Bail Arm:

By practicing and applying the above techniques, you will preserve and get more life of your spinning reels.

Tight Lines!

DRAGS – Wet vs Dry

Through the many years of being a professional reel technician, there has been much discussion on drag systems, as well as some confusion on the part of my customers. Here I will try to clear up some confusion and explain a bit about the differences. There are basically 2 types of drag systems, wet and dry, and each has its benefits. Either way, there is nothing worse than a jerky drag system. Drags not working in top form can cause you to lose that fish of a lifetime.
“Dry” drags are drags that require no modification and are designed to be installed as is. What makes a drag a “wet” drag is the addition of a lithium drag grease such as the Shimano drag grease or
Cal’s drag grease. The confusion I see alot is fact that not just any old grease will work, it must be a grease that is made for drag systems. Putting any old grease or oil on a drag washer will destroy its smooth fish stopping properties, and simply will not work. Also, it must be understood that not all drag material is able to be modified to a wet system.
Some drag materials are simply made to be just installed dry, and some are designed to be used with grease. Others materials are designed to be used both ways, depending on the persons preference.

Lets for example talk about the carbontex drags made by Smooth Drag Co. in Oak Hills, CA. These are a fine example of a drag that can be either installed wet or dry.
When you choose a “wet drag system” what you gain is a much smoother start up, and overall smoother performing and longer lasting drag in my opinion.
Installing the carbontex drags dry with no modification will give you a higher top end drag setting, but over time, you will not have as smooth of a startup over the entire range of drag settings.
Some people for example that fish from the river bank for hard pulling fish may opt for a dry drag system, so they can really button down on the drag to try and stop a fish they cannot follow, and keep it from going over the break. I personally am one of the guys who likes a butter smooth drag, all the time, so my personal choice would be for the wet system.

In this photo, there are 3 different examples of drag materials.
Left: Carbontex drag material that can be either installed as is, or with the addition of drag grease.
Center: Drag material designed to be installed as is with no modification.
Right: Cloth drag material designed to be used in conjunction with drag grease.

Any questions at all, feel contact me ๐Ÿ™‚

Tight lines and screaming (not jerky) drags to ALL!!


Its what you cant see that does a lot of damage. Regular maintenance on your reels is important if you want to extend their life. This is a customers reel that is fished in saltwater. Outside, the reel looked good, the customer does a good job of keeping the outside corrosion free for the most part. When the reel got to me, it was very sticky and near zero performance. The reel was destined for the trash can, but after a visit to me, its ready to be put back on a fishing rod and do what its supposed to do ๐Ÿ™‚

LOTS of corrosion going on behind the scenes that you would never see. Slowly, this eats away at the parts inside and robs the reel of its performance. The salt water buildup forms a white powder substance inside. This in turn becomes very abrasive and eats away at the reel parts:

The main gear was corroded/fused to the main post, rendering any sort of drag or gear movement impossible. This was freed up, cleaned, surfaces polished, lubricated, and a new set of drags put in:

AFTER Reel Tech Service. Some pitting remain in the metal from the corrosion which is caused by the corrosion being on the metal for too long, but the reel is now clean, lubricated, and in great working order. Ready to catch fish again :):

Tight lines to all!!

Reel Tech Tips – Anti Reverse Bearings

One of the greatest things to come to the world of fishing reels was the implementation of a one way roller bearing, or anti-reverse bearing, into spinning and casting reels. These bearings, now found in most all of the modern fishing reels, provide for a solid retrieve with near zero back play in the handle. The new systems are a far cry from the older ratchet style anti-reverse systems which only catch in certain spots when you turn the handle backwards.

The anti-reverse bearings can and will fail over time, as with many of the highly used parts in a reel system. The issues always start as an intermittent issue. You will be fighting a fish and the handle will take a 1/4, 1/2 or even a full revolution backwards, and then lock up again as if nothing happened. This may not happen again for several trips, or it may happen again later in the day. These intermittent issues are always a sign of pending complete failure. When you notice any intermittent issues with the one way bearing, it is time to consider having it replaced.

Many reels now, like the Shimano casting reels, are going to a backup system in the event of one way bearing failure. This is an extremely great idea and an asset to us as fisherman. They implemented something called an “Assist Stopper”, which is the old style anti reverse technology which kicks in if the bearing decides to fail during a fishing trip. Without such an “Assist Stopper”, when your one way bearing would fail, you were done fishing with that reel until you replaced the bearing.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

Tight Lines ๐Ÿ™‚