Virtually every brand new spinning reel you buy â€” at least if itâ€™s made with decent parts â€” is butter smooth right out of the box.Â
However, problems can come into play after several months of heavy use.
Things can get a little sticky and rough, and once that happens, itâ€™s hard to get a reel to feel like new again.
But Capt. Theophile Bourgeois, with Bourgeois Fishing Charters,Â has discovered something thatâ€™ll bring life back to an old reel, or keep a reel thatâ€™s fresh out the box feeling that way.
He actually, believe it or not, deliberately drills a hole in the reel.
â€śYou want to get away from the handle and find a clean area where you can get a (1/8-inch) drill bit in there pretty flat,â€ť he said. â€śTake your time because some gear casings are made out of aluminum, and the cheap ones are made out of plastic.â€ť
When putting the hole in the reel, Bourgeois said you donâ€™t want to have your drill on high speed.
â€śWhen you feel the drill bit breaking through, donâ€™t hit the worm gear,â€ť he cautioned. â€śIf you hit the worm gear, youâ€™re going to put a nick, and youâ€™re going to feel it.â€ť
Now, why in the heck would you put a hole in a reel? Well, according to Bourgeois, another hole provides an outlet for lubricants.
â€śIâ€™ll take WD-40, and Iâ€™ll drown it,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™ll come out of everywhere because Iâ€™m spraying an excessive amount.â€ť
One thing Bourgeois did mention, though, is not to substitute WD-40 for other types of lubricants, like lithium grease. And he noted heâ€™s certainly not shy with the amount of WD-40 he uses.
â€śWD-40 is $4 a can; my reel is $150,â€ť he said.
Bourgeois said once you put the WD-40 in the reel, itâ€™s important to crank the handle a few times to get the lubricant distributed inside the reel.
â€śYou want everything to go forward; thereâ€™s nothing in the back,â€ť he said.
This is certainly a fantastic trick for an old reel that needs some TLC, but Bourgeois said heâ€™s been doing it with all of his new Lewâ€™s reels when he first gets them.
â€śIf you want to play it safe with a brand-new reel, take the side panel off, and pre-drill it off the reel,â€ť he said.
Bourgeois does a considerable amount of wade-fishing at the Chandeleur Islands. And if you know anything about salt water and fishing reels, you know they go together about as well as barbecue sauce and peach pie.
â€śI had a kid the other day swimming with my reel, and it still worked,â€ť Bourgeois said. â€śNormally, if I would have not had that hole drilled and had WD-40 in there, (it wouldnâ€™t have worked).â€ť
But evenÂ if you donâ€™t wade fish, this is a tactic Bourgeois highly recommends.
â€śDays like (Tuesday) with the high humidity and rain, rain, rain, Iâ€™ve had reels lock up on me never being dunked â€“ just from being out in the boat,â€ť he said.
On average, Bourgeois said, heâ€™s been doubling the life of his spinning reels by drilling the custom holes.
â€śFor a guide reel, to say I got a year out of it, is unusual,â€ť he said. â€śWe normally get 6 months.â€ť