Proper maintenance is as important as picking the right gear. If you want your equipment to perform at its peak and last for a long time, you have to take care of them well. And as part of maintenance, anglers have to grease their fishing reel regularly. However, what sort of grease should you apply to reels?
The ideal fishing reel grease possesses low oil separation and excellent rust-protection properties. The grease should be resistant to water and have terrific work stability. So, you do not have to constantly add more or change it.
In this article, we will discuss how fishing reel grease is made and its properties in detail. We will also suggest some top-quality grease that will keep your fishing gear in top shape.
What Is Fishing Reel Grease Made Of?
Learning the structural components of a product goes a long way in understanding how it functions. And other than a few varieties, almost all greases are made from the same basic materials.
The two main ingredients for making grease are oil and soap. The oil is a fatty acid, typically derived from animal fat (pig, cow, etc.). The oil is what actually lubricates the gears and bearings.
The other part is soap. This is also made from complex fatty acid (animal fat) by adding salt (not the edible kind). The soap is like an adhesive and keeps the oil in place. So, the oil does not “spill out” or separate from the mixture.
In addition, companies will put in extra materials to give it more beneficial properties. Synthetic thickeners may be added to make it more adhesive and durable. Other additives are also used to give it anti-rust and water-resistant properties.
How Do You Pick The Right Grease To Use?
A good reel grease should have some common properties. These properties will determine whether the grease performs its role properly or not. It will also decide just how much you end up spending on maintenance. The best grease offers great value for money.
The primary function of lubricants is to reduce friction between two or more parts. This is no different in the case of grease. Now, the part of grease that lubricates the gear is the oil. So, the higher the oil the better it will reduce friction. So, your tools will operate optimally over a long period.
However, the viscosity or thickness of the grease is also important. If it is too runny or soft, it will tend to spill out. Meaning the grease will not stay on properly and do its role. If this happens, you will need to change the grease or add more and more every time. So, pick a grease that has the right amount of viscosity.
The next trait you need to look at is its oil separation property. Again, the grease is low quality if the oil readily separates from the mixture. So, check to see if it has low oil separation. Low means good in this context.
Most reels have metal components to them. And where there is metal, there is the risk of oxidation or corrosion. Now, modern reels are made with stainless steel that rarely oxidizes. But grease provides an extra layer of security.
Anglers have to constantly battle the elements to catch fish. The most prominent of them is the very water they cast in. This is especially true for saltwater anglers. The saline water will make your gear more vulnerable to corrosion than fresh water. So, make sure your grease can prevent corrosion over an extended period.
Furthermore, water resistance is also a desirable trait in grease used for fishing. Water is something you will regularly deal with. If the grease you apply is not resistant to water, it will simply wash out after a few uses. Then you have to add more and you will end up with a lot of maintenance costs.
Besides these main factors, there are some minor traits you should check before buying. The product should have great work or thermal stability. This means that when you regularly deploy your reel, the grease will stay in place. High work stability ensures that the grease lubricates the reel of your gear for a long time.
Thermal stability means the capacity of the grease to work in different temperatures. So, if it is too hot, the grease will not melt. Conversely, in the winter, the grease will not freeze and get stuck due to the cold. The last thing you want while fishing in the winter is for your equipment to get stuck.
Lastly, let’s talk about the cost. Some brands are more expensive than others. But that does not always translate to superior quality. You may be better off using a lesser-known brand’s grease. You do not want to overshoot your budget on fishing grease when there are more expensive purchases to be made.
Remember to check all the properties and criteria we have mentioned in this article. Read the label on the product carefully. You can even consult with the supplier or your local tackle shop to get better information and perspective.
Can You Use Vaseline On Fishing Reels?
We strongly advise you from using Vaseline on your fishing reel or any other part of your setup. Here is a general rule that will help you can apply it to most products in your life. You should always use products for what they were made for. And Vaseline or any other brand of petroleum jelly is suited for your face, not for your reel.
The reason we bring this topic up is that this is a pretty common myth. You might have heard this when you started angling from an associate. Chances are you will hear this from some shady life hack or DIY website or YouTube channel. But this is only a myth and does no good. Actually, it may just cause you plenty of harm.
Vaseline does not have the thermal stability or anti-corrosion properties of high-end grease. They are not water-resistant and will easily wash away. So, just after a couple of use, the jelly will dissipate and your reel becomes vulnerable to the elements.
What this will do is create a false sense of security. You will apply it to your tools thinking they are being protected. Before you realize what is going on, your tool starts to accumulate rust and other damage.
Experts from reputable sources have described the harmful effect of using Vaseline regularly on your fishing gear. The use of Vaseline has made the reel stiff and unusable for many anglers. Then they had to buy new tools all over again and ended up with a sizable receipt.
What makes this myth even worse, is how seemingly believable it is. On a surface level, you will see similarities between Vaseline and grease. They are both oily, adhesive substances. They both reduce the friction of the surface they are applied. So, you will tell yourself that you are saving a lot of money with the help of this “life hack”.
But once again, petroleum jelly made for human skin is not made the same way as grease. So, Vaseline is simply devoid of all the important properties that help grease perform its role. You are not going to save money with this trick. You will end up unnecessarily spending way too much and mess up your entire budget plan.
So, keep things simple. Vaseline is for the face and grease is for your angling equipment. Do not overlap the two.
Can You Use White Lithium On Fishing Reels?
Unlike Vaseline, lithium grease is something made to be used as a lubricant. White lithium or lithium complex is a very popular grease used by both veteran and novice anglers.
Lithium has pretty much all the properties you look for when buying lubricant for your angling tools. It has terrific anti-rust properties that prevent oxidation of your metal gear. It has a low oil separation rate. So, it does not become runny and ruins your entire setup. Once applied, it stays exactly where it is supposed to.
It has good resistance to water and high thermal stability. It can work up to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the white lithium will not melt when things get too hot. This is noticeable in the summertime.
Now, we recommend not using the aerosol form of grease. We just find that to be less efficient than using the gel version. So, if you can, buy grease in its gel form.
What Is Better, White Lithium Or Aluminum?
This is a frequently asked question among anglers. Honestly, most of the time it will come down to your preference and the availability of a certain product.
Typically, aluminum grease has superior work stability and water resistance to the lithium variety. This means that aluminum will not wear out or wash out as easily as lithium.
Now, for anglers, water is something that you have to constantly face. Your tool will get wet and you will need to change your grease over time. However, using aluminum-complex means that you will need to change it less frequently.
But do keep in mind that this will not always be the case. It all comes down to how it is produced. And if the aluminum grease is made from lesser material or not to a standard, then other greases will perform better. So, you might need to try out a few products before you feel comfortable with a certain brand.
On the other hand, aluminum-complex is harder and therefore, more expensive to produce. So, they will cost you more the majority of the time. White lithium is the cheaper yet still effective alternative for you if you are running on a tight budget.
What Is The Best Reel Grease And Oil?
Now, we are going to look at some of the finest greases and oil out there on the market for reels. These items will not only give you top performances but also save you money in the long run. So, they are the complete package.
1. Abu Garcia Reel Grease
The Abu Garcia reel grease is arguably the best quality grease currently available. The best part is that it comes in an easy-to-fit tube. This makes lubricating your reel super convenient and simple.
This grease is proven to last for a long time. Anglers have found this to endure all forms of weather conditions. Plus, this grease is transparent and has a low viscosity. So, your reel will not lose its color while also improving in performance.
2. Lucas Fishing Reel Oil
The Lucas reel oil offers terrific lubrication while also being very cost-effective. The first thing that stands out, is how convenient it is to apply. It comes in a sleek squirt bottle that pumps out the oil smoothly. And the precision needle helps you to oil your tools without making any mess.
The next thing is its quality and durability. This oil is corrosion and water-resistant. So, you can utilize it in both fresh and saltwater. This oil will work even after constant exposure to harsh weather conditions.
Finally, you will notice this product is less expensive than a lot of the other options out there. So, it will not put too much of a strain on your budget. So, we highly recommend the Lucas fishing oil as it is the ideal reel oil for all types of gear setups. Just apply it and this oil is sure to improve the performance of your fishing rod and reel.
3. Berkley Penn Reel Oil & Grease Pack
For our final entry, we are highlighting the best value pack on the market. Made with the best materials, the Berkley oil and grease combo is sure to lubricate your entire fishing gear proficiently.
The oil is easy to apply and offers amazing protection from corrosion and rust. Apply this for sleeve bearing and other sliding mechanisms. This synthetic oil is ideal for lubricating parts like knob handles and line rollers.
The grease is also top-class with particular efficiency in saltwater. This grease does not come off because of water and will work in high temperatures as well. Of course, it also fights against rust and oxidation. So, you can keep your tools active for the foreseeable future.
Obviously, the main draw of this package is its exceptional value for money. This combo includes a 0.5 oz reel oil and a 1 oz tub of grease. But their combined price is unbelievably low compared to your standard products. Hence, why this is one of the most popular maintenance kits used by top anglers.
Now, applying grease from a tub is a bit more difficult. However, the quality and affordability of this package provide make that extra effort so worth it.
When To Use Grease vs When To Use Oil?
You may be thinking that oil and grease are the same things with the same purpose. Now, they do perform a similar role but they are applied in a different context. This difference is a result of their contrasting viscosity.
Grease is more viscous and thus more adhesive to surfaces. Once applied, they are designed to stay in place for a long time. This is achieved through the use of thickeners during production. So, grease is typically used in places that you do not change or adjust daily.
We recommend you apply grease to gears and other heavy parts of the equipment. Use a cotton rag to get the grease nicely into all the gears and holes.
On the other hand, oil is more fluid and far less sticky. This means that oil will last for a shorter period compared to grease. But in turn, its effect is more noticeable and instant.
We suggest using oil on parts that have a sliding mechanism. So, this includes parts such as the ball bearing, the line roller, etc. Using grease on these parts is not very efficient. You will get better results by lubricating it with oil.
Things To Avoid When Applying Lubricants
Now, there are some common things to avoid when using any sort of lubrication. First of all, you should never mix and mash different types of grease. This will end up ruining the properties of your grease and all of it will become pretty useless.
Avoid silicone-based grease or oil. This type of lubricant was not crafted for angling equipment. They lack traits such as water resistance and work stability. So, you will just be wasting money with this grease.
Try not to lather too much lubricant in any part. Too much grease or oil will just make things needlessly messy. If there is excess, just remove it with a clean piece of cloth.
Proper Lubrication is a massive part of fishing gear maintenance. And with the information provided in this article, you will be able to apply the right grease and oil for the right job. Hopefully, your fishing equipment will continue to serve you for years to come.