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Fishing reels need to be well-maintained. This goes for baitcasting, spinning, spin casting and every other kind of reel too. However, it is especially important for baitcasting reels.
Baitcasters are intended for long distance and smooth casting, something they do quite well. Lubricating or oiling your baitcasting reel actually has more benefits than preventing friction alone, which we will talk about later on.
This is a complete buyers guide on how to find the best oil for baitcasting reels (Penn is our top pick), why you need it to maintain your reel and what main features to look for when buying oil for your reel for the best results.
Why You Need To Lubricate Your Reel
Well, when it comes down to it, a well-lubricated baitcasting reel will last a lot longer than one that never gets any oiling. Friction caused by retrieving and casting your line can cause head and friction damage.
Not only does the oil help to prevent this, but it also keeps things running much smoother, thus allowing for faster and smoother retrievals, plus it helps with long distance casting too.
On that same note, good baitcasting reel oil will also help prevent rusting and corrosion, which is important if you are going to be fishing in saltwater.
What To Look Out For When Buying Fishing Reel Oil
Before you go out and buy any kind of oil for any kind of fishing reel, including for baitcasting reels, there are 3 main things that you want to keep an eye out for.
1. The Application Method
First off, you want to make sure that the oil for your baitcasting reel comes in something which makes it easy to apply to the parts of the reel. You can get a dripper bottle or a syringe with a thin needle at the front.
A thin needle is usually best as this will let you get right into the tightest of spaces to apply the oil where it is needed the most. Moreover, it also allows for accurate application so you don’t get oil all over the place.
2. Viscosity or Thickness
Another important thing to look out for is how thick the oil in question is. Really thick and viscous oil is good because it tends to last a lot longer than thinner oils. It stays in place for a long time, thus minimizing the need for reapplication.
Being thick also helps in terms of application because you won’t get oil all over the place, plus it is good for preventing friction too.
On the other hand, thinner oil is easier to work in and it allows for even less friction, but it does not last quite as long as the thicker stuff, which is because it is a bit runny and will wear off fairly fast.
3. Saltwater Resistance
Finally, you should also look for fishing reel oil that will help prevent rusting and corrosion on your fishing reel.
This is very important if you are going to be saltwater fishing, but it is also important for freshwater baitcasting reels too.
10 Best Oils To Use For Baitcasting Reels
There are a lot of good options out there but we have narrowed it down to these 10 that personally feel are some of the best;
1. PENN Reel Oil
This particular fishing reel oil comes in a 4 ounce dripper bottle. The dripper bottle makes this lubricant easy to apply and allows for a good amount of application accuracy. It is made out of high quality ingredients and is one of the favorites for fishing pros worldwide.
This is synthetic reel oil that can be used for handles, knobs, line rollers, worm gears, and everything in between. Not only does it lubricate for really smooth casting and retrieval, but it also offers protection for your baitcasting reel.
It goes a long way in preventing rusting and corrosion, as well as friction damage too. It’s a fairly long lasting oil, which is always a benefit.
2. Liberty Oil
Liberty Oil is a good choice to go with, which is true, for one, because of the needle applicator bottle which it comes in. The needle applicator allows you to get into tight spots and allows for a good deal of application accuracy, plus it helps ensure that not too much comes out at once.
Just to be clear, this stuff comes in a 4 ounce bottle and it is 100% synthetic fishing reel lubricant. This stuff can be used for all kinds of fishing reels, plus for all of the parts they come with, whether this be the spool, the handle, the knobs, or everything in between.
It’s also a good option because it is safe to use on plastics and painted surfaces. It helps to provide lubrication for smooth casting and retrievals, it helps prevent rusting and corrosion, and it stops friction damage from occurring too.
3. Ardent Reel Butter Oil
This is another 100% synthetic fishing reel lubricant to go with. Now, this stuff is a bit different than the others we have looked at so far. It is reel butter oil, as opposed to just oil, which means that it is a bit thicker than the other options we have reviewed.
Being thick is helpful because it won’t just run off the moving parts, leaving nothing there. It’s really thick and greasy, thus staying in place exactly where it is needed. This does mean that you need to work it in a bit more, but the thickness of it does mean that it should last for quite some time.
Moreover, this stuff is great for both freshwater and saltwater fishing reels, as it has the ability to prevent rusting and corrosion, plus it can be used on all baitcasting reel parts that require lubrication. It comes complete with an anti-gumming agent and it works fine in all temperatures.
4. Ardent Reel Butter Bearing Lube
Now, this option is fairly similar to the one which we just looked at, but with one key difference. The previous option from the Ardent brand name was intended for all moving parts on a fishing reel, whereas this stuff is specifically designed for the bearings.
Ardent Reel Butter Bearing Lube is intended to keep bearings moving right, to keep casting and retrieval smooth, and to prevent friction damage to the bearings and within the housing.
This stuff is 100% synthetic and made with high quality ingredients. It can be used for both saltwater and freshwater baitcasting rods, as it does go a long way in preventing corrosion and rusting. It can be used for spinning, surf, baitcasting, and all other kinds of reels too.
It is also designed to stop scraping and loud noises, plus it works fine in all temperatures. It comes in a needle drip bottle to make things a little easier in terms of accurate and resourceful application.
5. Abu Garcia Reel Grease
Abu Garcia Reel Grease is specifically intended for baitcasting fishing reels. This stuff has a very low viscosity formula, which means that it is quite thick.
Being thick is good here because it helps this lubrication stay in place where it is needed, or in other words, it lasts for a long time and does not need to be reapplied all that often.
Being quite thick also makes it easy to apply to the moving parts without having it run all over the place and making a mess.
Abu Garcia Reel Grease is great for high performance parts like bearings, the handle, knobs, and everything in between. It is both heat and cold resistant, which is important, whether it be because of cold weather or high temperatures due to fast action fishing.
This stuff works well in terms of prevention friction and friction damage, plus it can be used for saltwater reels too. It should help to prevent rusting and corrosion.
6. Daiwa Reel Oiler
The Daiwa Reel Oiler is yet another good option to go with for baitcasting reels and fishing reels of all sorts. Here you get a syringe needle applicator. The small needle does help you get into tight spots with ease, even on the tightest of fishing reels, plus it also helps to prevent you from squeezing out too much of it at once.
Now, the syringe is filled with relatively thin and light machine oil, which is great for guns, fishing reels, or other kinds of fine machinery. It can be used for the knobs, bearings, and everything else on your baitcasting reel.
It is somewhat thin, so it might need to be reapplied fairly often, but it does a good job at allowing for smooth casting and retrieval, plus for preventing corrosion and friction damage too.
7. Boca Bearings High Performance Fishing Reel Tuning Kit
We figured instead of just including fishing reel oil, we would include a whole tuning kit, just for you anglers that fish all the time and want to keep your gear in top condition. Here you get a whole kit. For one, you get spool spin pliers to keep the spool in top condition and for fine tuning of the washers.
You also get a clean touch bearing cleaner, to clean dirt and old grease off the bearings. This helps keep things clean, it reduces friction, and extends the lifetime of the bearings.
Moreover, you also get spring clips, plus high speed lubricating oil too. The oil included here is for high performance rods that need a lot of speed. It definitely does a good job at preventing friction damage, plus it helps with casting and retrieval too.
It is intended for use with both freshwater and saltwater baitcasting reels, plus all other kinds of fishing reels, and therefore helps to prevent rusting and corrosion too. The Boca Bearings High Performance Fishing Reel Tuning Kit is a good little maintenance kit.
8. PENN Reel Grease
Penn Reel Grease is a bit different than the Penn Oil which came in at the top of our list. This stuff is a lot thicker and more viscous than the oil, and it comes in a much larger tub. Now, being so viscous and super thick does make it a little hard to apply and it does need some time to work in.
Also, it does not come with a dripper or syringe, nor the ability to be put in those application devices. Yes, applying this stuff is positively a pain in the neck. However, with that being said, it does work wonders for fishing reels of all sorts, including baitcasting reels for saltwater.
We do like how thick this stuff is for one reason, which is because it doesn’t get all over the place, plus it also lasts for a long time, which minimizes the need for constant reapplication.
This stuff is designed for high performance and high use baitcasting reels, for all of the parts you can think of, plus it can be used for saltwater reels too. It helps prevent rust and corrosion, while keeping everything moving smoothly. Also, you get a large 2 ounce tub of it, so you won’t have to re-stock anytime soon.
9. Boca Bearings High Speed Oil
Let’s keep in mind that this is technically all purpose lubrication oil. In other words, it is designed to be used for all kinds of moving parts, with baitcasting reels definitely qualifying. It’s a fairly thin all-purpose lube.
Now, being a bit on the thin side is ideal in some ways because it is easy to apply and to work in, plus it does a great job at reducing friction, especially where the bearings are concerned.
It does a good job at keeping your reel smooth for easy casting and retrieval. On the other hand, it is a little too thin in terms of longevity.
It might run off or just not last as long as some thicker lubrication agents. It’s also not particularly ideal if you plan on doing saltwater fishing, but it does come in an easy to use needle applicator syringe.
10. Ardent Reel Reel Cleaning Kit
To round things off, here we have an all-inclusive fishing reel cleaning kit that comes with a few different things and can definitely be used for baitcasting reels. For one, it comes with reusable swabs for applying and cleaning your reels, plus a two headed Phillips and flathead screwdriver, as well as a specialized toothbrush for cleaning your reel.
Moreover, here you also get a bottle of reel cleaner, which is used to clean off dirt, sand, and old grease from your reel. It helps to remove dirt and other sources of friction for a longer lasting reel.
Next, you get Ardent Reel Guard, which is a special liquid that is applied to all moving parts of your reel. The special purpose of this stuff is to prevent corrosion and rusting, thus making this kit great for saltwater baitcasting reels.
Finally, you also get Ardent reel butter oil and reel butter grease, both of which work wonders in their own way. When used together, they prevent friction and friction damage, thus allowing for really smooth casting and retrieval.
This stuff works well in all temperatures, plus it also helps prevent rusting and corrosion. Everything here comes in an easy to use drip bottle for accurate and fast application.
How To Lubricate A Baitcasting Reel
Finally, just to get your started, let’s go through a short step by step instructional on how to best lubricate your baitcasting fishing reel.
- First off, flick the reel. If it spins less than 12 times from the flick of your finger, it probably needs to be oiled.
- Use some warm soapy water to and a soft brush to clean the exterior of the baitcasting reel to remove any and all dirt.
- Take off the spool by unscrewing the retainer cap. Make sure to store the screws in a safe place so you don’t lose them.
- Clean the whole spool using hot and soapy water, making sure to wash away all dirt.
- Now, clean the spool gears using a little brush, once again making sure to get all dirt and old lubricants from previous applications.
- Use the baitcasting reel oil you have bought and apply it to the gears, the bearings, the bail, and other knobs. You can also add a light coating of oil to the exterior of the baitcaster to prevent rusting and corrosion.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of good options out there in terms of the best oil for baitcasting reels. When it comes down to it, all of the options which we have included above are perfectly fine and should get the job done. Just be sure to pay attention to the main considerations which we have talked about, and make sure to maintain your baitcasting reel on a regular basis for the best results and performance. The rest is up to you!