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.


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!



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

Nothing is better…

A gentlemen calls today and asks if I can service a reel meant for his son’s birthday.   A Penn 209 pretty dirty but serviceable.  His son’s birthday is Friday and wants to know if I can get his reel up and running before then.   Nothing is better in my opinion than introducing a new angler to the sport.  A Made in the USA Penn 209 is a good old trolling reel for the Puget Sound for salmon.   A good cleaning and some new drag washers and metals and off it goes for another lifetime of fishing!  Another angler is born!


Shimano C Word

Curado, Calcutta’s and Chronarch’s this weekend.  Turning out to be a Shimano weekend.  All reels are in pretty good condition considering their age and usage.


The Calcutta TE 400 is a great reel.  Anti reverse dog and one way bearing!  Large drag surfaces.  The old Curado is from 1998, and still a true joy to cast.  The Chronarch 100SF is a step up for strength and smoothness, but at the cost of added weight.  The Chronarch C+I4 is a nice blend of both.  Super light weight and strong.  These are all being used for casting 1/2 oz to 2 oz’s to salmon and steelhead in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.  Bearings flushed and oiled, drags upgraded to Carbon Fiber, and lastly they all get the proper lubrication on all metal to metal parts.

Hmmm Penn Oyster Reel?

Obviously this reel has a story.  But he got it to me before too much damage was caused from the saltwater and sand.  Surprisingly it functioned fine except for a the eccentric lever hanging up.

5 minutes in the ultrasonic cleaner and I can see the actual reel again.

Looks like the only casualty is the Eccentric lever.  That part could have used some grease before installation.  The bushing disintegrated and the lever corroded.

Cleaned up well and works perfectly.  Simple designs pass the test of time.  This one is off to its owner to make more memories!

Fishing Reel Service and Repair

Whether you are preparing for salmon, steelhead, bass or saltwater trophies we are your one stop shop for fishing reel service and repair in the Pacific Northwest.  Located on Mercer Island, one block off off of I90 we are your local,  fast turn around solution to fishing reel repair, annual service and upgrades.  We specialize in service, repair, upgrades and custom reel building.  We are happy to take your call and walk you through the process and provide a realistic timeline for completion.  Expedited service is available if needed.  Don’t let poor performing equipment stand between you and a fish of a lifetime. Give us a call today!