When it comes to cleaning your fly reel, it’s probably best to now take out any of the small moving parts unless you’re very familiar with taking your reel apart and putting it back together. To clean it, simply release the spool for the housing and look on the back of the spool to see if there is any dirt that has built up in the gears. If you do notice dirt, you can use a Q-tip to carefully clean it. Then, be sure to check the housing for any dirt that might have found its way onto the spindle and clean it as necessary. During the process, you might have to remove large amounts of grease or oil. If this happens, make sure to reapply a fresh coat before closing up the reel. Where the outside of the reel is concerned, you can clean it fairly easily with a solution of soapy water or a commercial cleanser.
Believe it or not, keeping your fly line clean is important, as well. Factors such as exposure to heat, or fishing in dirty/stained water, along with exposure to solvents found in insect repellents or sunscreen, can harm your fly line over time. Properly cleaned line will reduce the amount of friction in the guides, reduce the risk of tangles, and improve your line’s floatation on the water. The actual line cleaning process isn’t difficult, either, and involves placing a few drops of cleaning solution on an abrasive pad and stripping out all of your line through the pad. Then, place a few drops of line dressing in the pad and wind the line back in through the dressing. You can buy the cleaning kits anywhere fly gear is sold, and a few simple minutes is all it takes to get your line casting farther and smoother.
You depend on your fly fishing gear to perform when it matters, so it only makes sense to keep all the pieces of your fly gear in top working order. Taking a few hours each season to clean your fly gear will help keep it in shape and extend its life for years.