How to Fix a Fishing Reel | Troubleshooting Guide

Let’s be clear, all of you had experienced fishing reel problems at least once in your lifetime. Either it is, line not reeling, reel getting jammed or the spare parts getting broken. That thing is precisely very common, specifically if you are a beginner.

How to fix fishing reels

However, learning how to fix a fishing reel requires you to look out what actually is wrong with your fishing reel at first. Though, there are a few tools and a little bit of guidance and knowledge that we have covered in this article to help you get saved from losing your favorite reels

Fishing Reels Problems

Before going into how to fix a fishing reel, let us start with the common fishing problems so you can identify what you are really going into. However, to diagnose a problem, look at the following list because a few of the problems in the reel could be: 

  1. Drag Issue
  2. Line Twist
  3. Bail Spring Malfunction
  4. Braided Line Slipping
  5. Bearings jamming
  6. Anti-Reverse
  7. Oxidation/Corrosion

When using a reel for the first time, you might have encountered one of these issues. Though, many reels come with the user’s guide and manuals that help a lot when fixing. 

Regardless, not all manufacturers provide reels with the solution of each of its malfunction and so the problem occurs when you are not given the solution. 

Although you need not be worried about that cause’ here we have made a detailed and comprehensive explanation of the above-mentioned problems along with the solution. 

How To Repair A Fishing Reel

Drag Issue:

How Drag Issue appears
Adjust the Drag

Problem and the cause:

If your drags do not enable a clicking sound while setting it up, there’s a high chance that you have run into a frozen drag. The second identification is the non-uniformity of the drag while the line goes through tension, it is definitely when fishing reel drag is not working.

Moreover, you can’t actually set up the drag system with a defective drag system. Drag malfunction usually happens when the gear gets broken, there’s a braided line issue, or simply the clicker is broken.


If the issue is concerned with the braided line, simply use the mono linebacking and it’ll get back to work. Other than that, if the issue involves gears then it can be resolved by changing it. Whilst, for the sound of fishing reel drag you can check the clicker and replace or clean it if it’s dirty or broken. 

Line Twist:

How to Eliminate fishing line twist

Problem and the cause:

Line twist is the most common fishing problem that the majority of the fishermen face on a constant basis. It usually happens when the line has not been reeled properly and thus causes curls in the process and then you are left with the tangled fishing reel.  


The easiest solution to how to fix a fishing reel that won’t reel in is to unreel the line and let it move freely so the unwanted twists get rid of themselves automatically. 

Plus, you can use current to unreel the line if you are on a boat (and this is the most effective method). After that, you can re-spool the line

If the curls happen at the end of the line, simply cut off the line from where the tangles occur. Also, you can also join an extra line with the existing one after cutting down the curly line so that you won’t have to compromise on the casting distance. 

Bail Spring Malfunction:

Bail Spring Malfunction

Problem and the cause:

Sometimes, spinning reel bail won t close since the bail on your reel, gets distorted and bent due to its small size. Meaning, it doesn’t return when the reel is wound or won’t flip the bail back. 

It is due to the pressure being created on both sides of the bail arm and it mostly happens when the reel is put under pressure in the fishing bag. 


Unscrew the reel and gently try to put the wire in its right position using a wrench. Be a little careful while doing this, since it breaks down too completely if excessive pressure is applied. 

Braided Line Slipping:

Braided Line Slipping Solution
Use a few of the monofilament backing before reeling the braided Line.

Problem and the cause:

Ask any professional fisherman, what fishing line to choose for productive and low-effort fishing, and the answer will definitely be a braided fishing line. 

However, with the highest strength and toughness, one drawback is the braided line slipping on spool and will highly frustrate you out if it does in the middle of the casting process or retrieve. 


Use a few of the monofilament backing before reeling the braided one so that you have a firm joint of the line to the reel. And, use uni knot for joining mono with the braided, and you are done to fix fishing reel. 

Jammed Bearings:

how to clean bearings

Problem and the cause:

Check out if the reel is rotating properly, if not, the issue is the worn-out bearings. In such a case, the reel also starts to jerk or produce a crack sound. 


Bearings are most prone to corrosion and wear and tear and thus lubricating them will actually fixate your problem. Yet, the tougher part is disassembling the knob because you will need the screwdriver and a lot of patience otherwise you will end up with the broken fishing reel. 


Problem and the cause:

In baitcaster reels, level wind normally gets stuck with the regular use. The reason is, while spooling the line, it gets dirt and dust particles and thus becomes unable to operate. Levelwind most likely jams the worm shaft of the reel and therefore, obstructs the reel. 


While repairing the fishing reel for the level wind issue, the worm shaft needs to be taken out of the reel by means of dismantling the reel. Clean the worm shaft with lukewarm water and then lubricate it a little. 


Anti-Reverse button
Push the Anti-Reverse Button

Problem and the cause:

Except for Shimano, fishing reels have an anti-backlash switch at the back that controls the reel to not go backward in the midst of the fishing process. In case of the anti-reverse switch being turned off, the reel will move in both directions causing the handle to spin backward. 

Sometimes, the anti-reverse spring that connects gear to the rotor usually disconnects and in the rest of the cases, the hammer gets broken causing the anti-reverse to malfunction.  


If you are previously unaware of the anti-reverse switch, look at the back of the reel and simply turn it on. For the spring, disassemble the reel and connect it from the gear to the rotor. Although it sounds harder, it’s way easier to perform. 

However, In case of breakage, remove the hammer inside of the reel and then reinsert it using an adhesive. If needed, use the expert’s help to get the reel fix to fix anti-reverse on a spinning reel.



Problem and the cause:

It’s not necessary that only saltwater can corrode your reel. So far, it’s been a common misconception that frequently gets fishing reel void. 

However, many freshwater anglers can’t think of that since they are not so common and end up with a jammed and inoperative reel since, in reality, freshwater reels also get oxidized or rusty internally. though, fly reels often suffer from corrosion.


Corrosion can be dealt with by disassembling the reel followed by cleaning in the right order and finally lubricating it. However, lubrication in the reels is a bit sensitive and can be done with the right amount. More or less lubrication will further make your reel worthless and ineffective. 


To get the fishing reel fixated, any angler can reach the manufacturer’s customer care and send it back for repair. However, learning the art of how to fix a fishing reel is something compulsory for a recreational angler.

With the right tool and information, you can simply do it at home with as least effort as possible. All need to do is to keep in mind the above guidelines and make sure you know the issue first to save both of your time, efforts, and most importantly the pain of losing your favorite reel.

Clinton Shannon

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