Shimano Tekota Reels – Preventative Maintenance

We are fortunate to see many of these reels through the shop.  Most are used for trolling for salmon in the Pacific Northwest in the saltwater.  The the 600 series seems to be the right line capacity for the fishing application.  Some are line counters some are not.  These are great reels for this application as they have strong smooth drags, level wind mechanisms that wear well and comfortable off set handles with big knobs.

As with any reel used on the saltwater, these too are prone to failure if not properly rinsed after every outing.  Two areas of concern that need special attention are often overlooked.  The first is where the handle connects to the drag sleeve.  This area corrodes easily and locks the handle onto the drag sleeve and prevents servicing the rest of the reel.  To prevent this I over apply heavy marine grease to ensure no intrusion.  The second area is directly under the drag star.  There isa ball bearing that guides the drag sleeve and is only protected by a thin plastic shield.  Most of the time, if the handle is corroded and the sleeve bearing is rusted out, than the anti reverse bearing is also shot.

All said and done, that adds around $30.00 to every service on these reels.  Of course, with a little pre-fishing service, much of that can be eliminated.  Pictured below is what I see the most.  Salt crystals and sand corrode the handle to the drag sleeve.  Torch and penetrating oil and a little patience works well to remove handle.  I have had some that took two days of repeated heating, freezing and penetrating oil to loosen.

After you get that mess off.  Clean the threads of the drag sleeve well with a wire brush and remove the drag star.  You will notice a hole in the top of the drag sleeve.  It serves this purpose.  Slide a small flat head screw driver down until it stops.  Hold it down firmly while unscrewing the drag star.  By doing so, you will prevent the tiny clicker pin and spring from launching into neverfinditagainland.

Lift the washers paying special attention to the order that they came off and remove the shield on top of the bearing.  Most of the time this bearing is just oiled.  I remove it and press marine grade grease into it and check that it is full before re-installing the bearing.

Replace the shield,  brass washers and spring washers in the same order.  Now insert the spring and pin back into the tiny hole on the side of the drag sleeve.  Screw the drag star on part way.  Insert the tiny screw driver again and press down firmly to hold the pin in place while you screw the drag start all the way down to the spring washers.  Remove screw driver.  Apply liberal amounts of grease under and on top of the drag star.  Place the handle washer on top.  Again grease well.  Grease both side of the handle and place on drag sleeve.  Put a big glob of grease on top of the drag sleeve and install handle nut.

You did it!  Just taking this little bit of precaution will prevent costly repairs later.


What do you use for lube?

The market place has many different lubes and oils that all claim to be the best.  I have used several over the years and here is my opinions.  First I think that it would be good to break this up into Greases and Oils.

Greases need to have the following characteristics:

  1.  Stay where you put it
  2. Provide protection from water intrusion
  3. Lubricate

Grease is used on gears, non spool bearings, drag washers, internal moving parts.  Each has a little different need.  It is generally accepted that drag washers should be greased and the preferred grease is a composite silicone grease from Cal Sheets, called Cal’s Drag grease.  Comes in two formulations based on the average temperature that your reel will be used in.   The packaging states that you can use it on all internal parts.  Personally I use it on just the drag washers as it is pretty heavy.   Seals out water and smooths the drag start up over the range.

All other internal parts and non spool bearings I have traditionally used Yamalube which is a marine grease that has all the anti corrosion and lubrication characteristics you need.  Recently, I have changed over to a super high grade anti corrosion grease from CorrosionX.  Here is a short list of greases that are on the market:

Hot Sauce, Reel Butter, Shimano Drag grease, Penn blue grease, Daiwa Reel Grease.

Oil differs from grease as its used in different areas.  The primary area oil is used is in bearings.  In star drag reels where casting is important and high speed bearings and bushings need light fast lubrication, a lighter low viscosity oil is helpful in getting the bearing to spin the fastest but will require reapplication sooner.  In trolling reels spool bearing oil can be thicker as there is no need to cast them.  I used yellow Rocket Fuel for years with good results.  I started using TSI-321 about two years ago and will not use anything else.  It is high speed and has good protective qualities.  In areas other than than spool bearings that call for oil I use another CorrosionX product call ReelX.  Here is a list of oils that are commonly used and sold by the manufactures:

Hot Sauce Oil, Shimano Oil, Daiwa Oil, Penn Oil, TG Rocket Fuel, Hedgehog Alchemy Oil, 3 & 1 oil, Remington Oil, Livre Oil, and many others.


Handles and Knobs

A friend and fellow angler here in the Pacific Northwest has introduced a new upgrade for Penn Jigmasters and 113H/349.  Some of you may have already seen some of his other awesome upgrades.  I wrote about Tank Tops and eccentric levers that come in a range of colors in a previous post. (Penn 113 Narrow) To start, the handle blanks will be black, silver or red, with green and blue coming shortly after.  The Eva knobs are also customizable by color and aluminum end caps too!  Lots of color options available.  The quality and craftsmanship of all the product I have seen from Tank Tops is top notch!  Comfortable cranking power!IMG_1244



The Tank Logs are made proudly in the good ol’ USA!  Look for them on sale at in February!


Thank you!

To all our customers, family who support us and friends that encourage us, thank you!  2017 was truly a great year for us here at  We want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!  Good luck in 2018 finding that fish of a lifetime!


Shimano Chronarch 201E7

Low profile casting reel with high speed gears and 7 bearings.  Local reel that has been used hard and dunked in the local glacial streams more than once.


Outside looks dirty and silty if that is a word.  Worm gear is filled and every crevasse is filled.  Im not optimistic about the inside at this point.

Shimano Chronarch

Shimano Chronarch

As I expected.  This fine silt throughout the reel and a lack of lubrication.  I see no corrosion so at least it all comes apart well.

So out of the 7 bearings in this reel, four need to be replaced.  Both spool bearings, the pinion bearing and the drag sleeve bearing.  The anti-reverse bearing is in good shape and the two handle bearings will be operational.  Customer invested a couple of hundred dollars for this reel and now if need at least $45.00 worth of parts plus labor.  If you dunk your reel, be sure to run fresh water over it for awhile when you get home to help minimize the damage from the silt and water intrusion.  Now lets see how she cleans up after an ultrasonic bath.  I was surprised to see one carbon fiber drag washer and one composite washer.  I will be replacing the composite with carbon fiber, both greased.




Shimano 1500LC Trolling Reel

Shimano 1500LC is a great salmon trolling reel.  Direct drive with a line counter.  No longer being made and parts are hard to come by but these old reels are valuable to the salmon angler in the Puget Sound.  Two ball bearings and a simple drag.  Not many parts on these reels.  Bearings need constant attention or you can ruin a good old reel.  This one came in with the head plate spool bearing corroded onto the spool shaft.  It took several hours of heat and cold with penetrating oil to get it off.  Luckily the pinion was not corroded too.  As you can see from the head plate the corrosion is extensive on the plate, put the inside was relatively corrosion free.  New bearing and new carbon fiber drags and she is back in the game!



Thank you!

This month is the anniversary month for! Over the past few years we have been fortunate to service and repair many many reels for fisherman in the Puget Sound but also for customers worldwide. From Seattle to Sidney Australia and Texas to Thailand, all our customers are valued and appreciated. Our site was visited by fisherman from over 100 different countries!  We value our strategic partnerships with Outdoor Emporium and Sportco and to our many parts vendors across the globe that really allow us to perform at a high level.  Lastly, to all the fine people of that provided me with the tools, knowledge and friendships that have been nothing but supportive and encouraging.  To all, with all sincerity “Thank you” and may all of us be fortunate to land the fish of a lifetime this coming year and keep those pictures coming!

Tight lines!

Andy Smith


Salmon season brings reel surprises

At about this time every year, many of us are in the full swing of either chasing salmon in the saltwater or chasing them in the local rivers.  Also at about this time I get a rush of fishermen that have used their gear and found a problem, used their gear and made a problem or those that are in the problem avoidance category.  Some when getting new line on their reels are told that their tool is in rough shape!  No matter what category you are in I will share some advice:

  1.  A rough sounding and feeling reel will seldom correct itself.  A drop of oil on the bearings will help with the noisy casting.  But if you feel roughness in the operation of the reel.  Take it out of the rotation and get it serviced immediately.
  2. A rough feeling reel will not get better the longer you put off servicing the reel.  In fact most get worse and more expensive to repair with the passing of time.
  3. If you dunk the reel in the water be sure to spray it down properly once you get home.  Let dry and store in a cool dry space.  If you are fishing one of the glacial rivers with a high degree of silt, take it out of operation and get it serviced soon.
  4. If you are going to service your one reel, get the schematic online, take it apart carefully and lay your parts in a line the way they came off the reel.  Work over a clean cloth.  Some parts are very small and are easy to miss while working on the reel.  Pay special attention to shims!
  5. If you find that after taking the reel apart, it is not operating properly and you want a professional to assemble, put all the parts into a zip lock bag.  I know that this sounds odd but I have to say it, ALL PARTS MATTER.  Make sure you have everything in the bag or it will require ordering parts.

I wish everyone good luck this year and tight lines!  Don’t let a sticky drag or anti reverse bearing cost you a fish of a lifetime!



More bearings, more maintenance!

Today’s marvels of modern engineering are producing reels that have up to 12 or more bearings!  Friction is radically reduced and smoothness is enhanced.  But man, you really need to stay on top of the maintenance to keep them optimized.  Some manufacture install Anti-rust bearings.  Don’t be lulled into thinking that they are maintenance free.  Got an Okuma spinning reel in the other day that had 9 bearings.  Two on the spool shaft, two on the line guide, two in the reel knob, pinion bearing etc… most of the bearings are exposed to the elements and need at least some oil once or twice a season.  All those bearings easily hide a failing bearing.  I thought the reel was in good shape and performing fine when I got it.  After cleaning and re-lube, wow much smoother and a huge difference.

bad bearings

Shimano Chronarch 100SF


Since I spend time outlining the need for preventative care and maintenance on your reels and demonstrating the results, I thought I would write a happy story for a change of pace.  This is one of two Chronarch Super Free reels I got in the other day.  The gentlemen was an active bass fisherman in the southern US and took excellent care of his reels over the years. These reels are 10+ years old.  Aside from a little boat rash they function excellent.  Free spool is excellent but the drags were sticky.  We will set them up for Pacific Northwest freshwater salmon and steelhead fishing.

The owner wants to upgrade the handle and knobs.  He found a carbon fiber handle and some cork knobs.  We will install new carbon fiber drags and lube the reel appropriately.     Incredible free spool and a capable drag will make this a good steelhead and small salmon river reel.  You can cast lead and roe,  a float with a jig , or a spinner or spoon either way this will be a great casting reel.