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How to Extend the Life of Your Fishing Reel

By John Strenk (The Reel Tech)
Here's a tidbit of advice from me at The Reel Tech. I’m sure you guys all have reels with a thumb bar disengagement systems such as Shimano Curados, Citicas, Calcuttas, Chronarchs, Pfleuger Presidents, Trions, Daiwa baitcast reels, etc, etc.

All of these systems have a bar, either metal or plastic, that extends from inside the reel and into the plastic or aluminum thumb bar that you actually press down to disengage the reel and put into free-spool. Looking from behind the reel, the actual button you press is either closer/connected to the left side or right side of the reel depending whether it is a left or right hand retrieve.

A recommendation on my part to prolong the life of your clutch system on your reels and reduce wear to the parts, is to make sure when you depress the thumb bar, your thumb is as close to the sideplate that the button is set. This results in more of a straight down push and disengagement. Pressing down on the outside edge of the thumb bar adds undo stress to the assembly. The top of the button actually pulls away from the area where it is connected when you are pressing down. This adds much added stress to the system and causes both the internal and external parts of the clutch system to wear out quicker.

The bar that extends out from inside the reel into the thumb bar
actually can break or bend out of shape, and once this happens, you have issues with buttons that stick in the down position or have a hard time depressing. Most of the well-worn Curados I service all need a slight tweaking and reshaping of the metal bar that goes into the thumb bar.

ALSO, it is a great idea to every once in a while put a little lube (light grease, or a little oil) on the surface where the clutch bar slides up and down along the plastic shim or the sideplate. Once this area becomes dry and gets dust/dirt/grime on it, it is like sandpaper and will wear out the shim and side of the clutch bar.

By heeding the recommendations above, you will increase the longevity of your clutch system and slow the wear down process of the parts.

I hope my descriptions make sense.....if not, please feel free to ask any questions you may have. I can be reached The Reel Tech or via email at

[Editor's Note: Please share with our readers what you know that will enhance the experience of fishing in Northern California or Southern Oregon. What have you learned? Your expertise, no matter where or how you fish (fresh or saltwater) or what species you target, could be invaluable to other anglers. What not to do is just as important as what to do. Please send your strategies, ideas, tips, techniques and personal experiences to Please include your name and hometown.]

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