Shimano Tekota Weekend

Box of Tekota’s came in the mail today from Seattle.  500’s and 600’s.  Three of the four suffer from the same problem, corroded handle to the drag sleeve.  Grrrr.  Instead of tear down, clean, inspect, replace worn parts, assemble and return.  The job gets much more complicated.  Without removing the handle, you can’t get to the rest of the reels internal parts.  So now the dance, first step, penetrating oil, heat, freeze, repeat until freed from corrosions grip.

Next neutralize the corrosion with 50/50 water and vinegar soaking for 15 minutes.  Rinse and dry.  Liberal application of CorrosionX and get on with the rest of the reel.  The one way bearing in these reels is always susceptible to saltwater intrusion.  Remove, flush and pack with good marine grease and install.  Depending on the age of the reel, some came with carbon fiber drags some do not.  All these reels required new Carbon fiber drag washers.  Grease them lightly with Cal’s drag grease and install.

Spool bearings need to be flushed and re-oiled with TSI-321.  Remove the race and soak submersed until cleaned thoroughly with lighter fluid then alcohol and let air dry on a paper towel.  I throw them in the ultrasonic cleaner in an open container with lighter fluid for the best results.  Never attempt this with a flammable fluid in a closed container.

Inspect the main gear and pinion for wear and corrosion.  The under side of the gear typically needs to be cleaned up and the corrosion knocked off.  I use a Dremel with a fine buffing wheel.  Brings the finish back to near mirror.  While I am there I run a cotton swab on another Dremel with some polishing compound on the inside of the pinion to clean it up.  Be sure to clean after with some alcohol .

Check the level wind gear and inspect the pawl for excessive wear.  Grease the rest of the  internal parts and under the rings and assemble.  Test free spool, test drag, check screw tightness and wipe down with a clean cloth to remove and excess grease and oil.  Next…

This series Shimano is very popular in the Pacific Northwest for salmon fishing in and around the Puget Sound.  I work on 50+ every year.  When properly maintained and with a little basic care they perform wonderfully with strong smooth drags and quiet operation.



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 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.

Shimano Calais – Technology meets function

Got a beautiful reel into the shop the other day for service.  This is not your fathers Oldsmobile.  The Shimano Calais is a work of modern technology art in reel form.  Gone are the Abu block brakes, no magnets for spool control…Star wars force fields instead.


Multiple bearings and very tight tolerances makes this reel butter smooth.  After several seasons on the water chasing steelhead it needed new drags installed and re-lube.  High speed gears and large drag washers.

Casting into the wind all day?  No problem.  Multiple lure weights, no problem.  Stainless steel where it should be on the inside.


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!

Keep it clean…and green!

Hopefully,  we all have a routine for annual reel service.  For some, it means complete tear down, inspection, ordering parts, oil and lube, drag washers and assembly.  For others, it might be less.  Obviously how the reel is used and how much of that time was in saltwater,  determines the optimal service intervals. Basic after fishing wash down with fresh water, a quick wipe down with a soft rag that has a water dispersent sprayed onto the rag.  Store in cool, dry dark space.img_0778   I would be one of the people that would agree that washing your gear down after every outing in saltwater is mandatory.   In some extreme instances, like kayak fishing, the reels take a beating in the sand and salt.  They need heavy maintenance.  Let’s get started…

I have learned to give myself adequate workspace that has great lighting and no clutter. These steps help keep the process of dismantling, cleaning, inpecting and restoring reels much easier and efficient.  Wayward parts are more easily found when your space is well lite and free from clutter.  I find the light background helps me more easily identify cracks and excessive wear on parts.  I use a simple magnifying glass to inspect parts.

Give yourself easy access to all needed tools, oils, greases and chemicals.  Speaking of chemicals, I try to have a minimal impact on the environment by using Simple Green for primary my cleaner with Dawn dish soap.  Vinegar is used to remove the green corrosion on chrome plated brass parts.  I use cloth rags instead of paper towels. I use washable containers instead of paper cups and trays.  Reels are separated into stainless steel trays for cleaning.

Dismantle reel and move small parts to small cup.  Large parts into stainless steel tubs for either soaking in detergent or vinegar.  In severe cases where large amounts of old grease I  will use brake cleaner spray to expedite the cleaning process.  It does not take much to remove all the parts from metal parts.  No plastic parts in this solution as they will be destroyed quickly.   Bearings into separate containers to soak in lighter fluid.  I generally let the reels soak in detergent over night.  Then hot water bath and dry.  If additional cleaning is required  I use Simple Green and wipe clean.  Then a good rinse in hot water and wipe dry again.

Inspection is a critical part of the process.  Gears, pinion, drag washers, gear sleeves, side plates, anti reverse dogs, etc…  Use a magnifying glass to look at the parts.  Small cracks and dings in gears is much easier to identify with a good light and magnifying glass.  Pay special attention looking for corrosion.

What gets greased verses oiled?  What type of grease goes where?  I use several types of grease for different reels and conditions.  Screws and screw holes, plates and interiors get a marine grade grease that stays where you put it.  A light coat is needed to prevent corrosion.  Drags get a different grease.  I use Cal’s the old stand by.  I use it on all Carbon drag washers.  Better to be safe than sorry.  Saltwater intrusion under the drag washers destroys washers and main gears.  Fast oil such as TSI-321 is used on all spool bearings.  I grease all others with a marine grade grease.

Lastly, use the right tool for the job.  In many small reels and spinning reels, the screws are tiny and soft.  Using the right fitting tool makes a world of difference and can either make your maintenance a success or utter frustration when removing a stripped screw.  A good indicator when considering buying a used reel is to look at the condition of the screws.  If they are mangled and marred chances are the previous owner did not have the right tools.  Or worse yet, who ever he paid to do service on it did not use the right tools.  Be cautious as this could be an indicator of what is on the inside.  That being said, I have seen reels that appear to be unused on the exterior, only to find that the interior has been completely corroded from a lack of grease and oil.   Good luck and keep it clean, and green!


Newell 646-3 Reel

Newell’s still amaze me on their strength and weight.  Even this big 646-3 weighs only a fraction of what a comparable Penn weighs.  Got a couple of 300’s and 200’s in with a big 646-3.  I will put some upgrades into the 646-3 to bring it up to speed.

Build List:

  • Bryan Youngs Ultimate Drag Upgrade 7+1 System
  • New Bearings from Boca Bearings
  • Cortez Conversions SS 10 Tooth Drag Sleeve
  • Cortez Conversions Clicker Kit





Black Senators

9/0, 6/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 1/0 Black Penn Senators.  This has been fun!  Started with a stock 1/0  and went through the whole upgrade process.  I was so impressed with what these old reels are capable of I kept going slowly finding used reels at very reasonable prices.  Here are some of the upgrades available:

  • Handles and Knobs
  • Stainless steel gear sleeves
  • Steel or stainless steel gears and pinions, yokes etc.
  • Drag inserts and multi drag washer upgrades
  • Stainless steel dogs
  • Custom aluminum frames
  • Aluminum Spools
  • Aluminum cross bars
  • Stainless steel cross bars
  • Custom eccentric levers

All in you can invest a considerable amount in a reel that is 30+ years old.  Most parts are still available for most models.  Considering the vast number of upgrades available it really speaks to the engineering and reliability of these iconic reels.


Custom Penn 113 4/0 Black Side Plates Narrow Fishing Reel

The Penn 113 4/0 fishing reel is slow, heavy, and the drags are weak as compared to modern standards.  In the stock version the line capacities are as follows:

650/20 Mono
440/30 Mono
370/40 Mono

Three  versions of spools came out for the reel, two stainless steel and heavy, one black aluminum and better for casting.  The main gear on this one is steel with a steel pinion.  A single dog is standard with a brass gear sleeve.  Drag is rather weak considering the size and capacity of the reel.  Gear ratio is 2:1

Here is the build list to convert it to a narrow “Grouper Special”

  1.  Source a Long beach 66 Spool
  2.  New “Tank Top” and base from Ted on
  3. Gears 2.5:1 from
  4. Pinion from 66
  5. Drags from
  6. SS Dogs from Keta on
  7. SS Gear Sleeve Alan Tani
  8. SS handle from Motive Fab
  9. Knob from Pro Challenger

This build will improve the gear ratio, narrow the 4/0 width, improve the strength, and improve the drag.

Penn Reels Before and After

Penn 49 Super Mariner LH


Penn 350


Penn 350M

Penn 209 LH

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