Old Reel Restoration Project

Ever wondered what happened to that old reel your relative gave you as a first ever fishing reel before you even got started fishing? Yeah me to. My uncle originally gave me this dusty looking reel that he no longer used. To a possibly negative or positive effect, this set me up for a world of fishing adventures and many, many more reels to come.

Overall I must have used this particular reel dozens of times as a multi purpose reel but not in the recent times. Bail bent, plastic covers cracked and grindy as hell, it’s just hasn’t made the cut to go in the bag before I go out fish’n nowadays.

So the other day I was digging around in my fishing gear and stumbled across the old machine. I gave it a couple of spins and hey, there came the idea. What if I made a change to that washed out red and black paint and actually make it function properly. My plan also included giving it some crisp new line and upgrade the drag washers. The hardy thing might actually work again and my uncle would be oh so proud to see his hand-me-down be reborn.

The blogs’ called the average fisherman however I like to think I’m pretty above average at servicing my own reels. Stripping them down top to bottom, de-greasing and re-greasing them and at times upgrading washers I can pull a reel apart and back together almost blindfolded. Enough bragging…

A couple of problems to start with was the bail wire which had come out of the bail arm. and the small crack on the bail arm which always caught line on casts which caused the line to snap on numerous occasions.


Both these problems were pretty easily solved with some epoxy. I used the one in the above picture. It has a transparent colour and sets pretty quickly but above all it’s hard as hell. I applied the resin with toothpicks and smoothed the edges with cotton earbuds.

After that I let the epoxy dry for about an hour and in the meantime it was time to take a peek inside…

In all honesty I was prepared for a salt corrosion party inside the body of the reel, with a high possibility of rust and definitely some sand grains.

But I was baffled as to how this thing looked when I opened up the case. Keep in mind this thing hasn’t been opened for a service or even a look inside for about 10 years. There was little to no corrosion. The grease seemed to be pretty evenly spread and none of the gears were stripped or chipped. Kind of reminds me of the Penn Spinfisher SSM made in the US. (Not the made in China version). People use these reels 10-year-old reels without servicing them compared to the top prices Daiwas’ and Shimanos’ that require a ‘routine service’ every 6 months. I guess back in the day craftsmanship and quality ensured that products like these really were built to last. My dream is for one of the big companies to make a reel or two that are just like the reels 10 years ago, with updated parts and components. In my eyes; that’s the ultimate reel. Something that lasts forever without constant attention and a reel that is just a pure work-horse.

Eventually I took the whole reel apart, stripping the grease and washing some of the main parts in degreaser solution to prepare them for a re-grease.


One thing that really surprised me…


… was the drag system featured in this reel which is located at the very bottom of the reel. It’s spring-loaded like most other reels today but the actual drag clicking sound is generated by the cog rotating around the metal wire part. The part with the red ring around it is where the washers are located. I found the washers were extremely small for a 4000 sized reel and the felt washers had been completely shredded. I replaced those with some Carbontex Drag washers. Pretty bizarre drag system for a spinning reel. The only drag systems similar to this are the ones found on bait-runner reels which feature a dual drag system. Why don’t companies make these anymore and what is the advantage of using a drag system that is located on top of the spool?


It was time for a respray. I was originally going to hydro-dip the reel but some good quality spray paint sufficed. All of my rods are dark coloured so I decided on some Satin Black to match any outfit. Overall I was pretty satisfied with the paint-job as spray paint can sometimes ‘run’ and leave an uneven finish. I invested in a good quality paint to get the job done and it shows here. You get what you pay for people! (most of the time). DSC_7780DSC_7779

Aaaaaaaand done. Degreased and regreased, painted, cleaned out and put back together; the old reel is ready to go out on another fishing adventure. Isn’t she beautiful! My plan is to spool it with some 20lb Braid in either blue or classic yellow. Restoration complete.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks blog.I know I haven’t blogged any fishing reports in a little while so next week I’m back to fishing and reporting on my catch. Fingers crossed I catch a big one. Hope you get out and get one or two yourself and get to wet a line. Thanks for tuning in.

Tight Lines – Joshua

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