What to do with old fishing reels

Lew’s Hyper Mag SLP baitcasting reel

what to do with old fishing reels? If you’re like me, you’ve probably got some old fishing reels sitting around at home. I’m not a huge fan of fishing (who is?), so they just kind of collect dust. If you live near a lake, river, or ocean, chances are good that you have quite a few fishing reels lying around.

Maybe you bought them off someone who no longer uses them? Or maybe they were given to you as a gift? Whatever the case may be, these old reels may still be perfectly usable. After all, if you do find yourself out on the water, you’ll want to have these handy!

Fishing reels have long been considered useless after use, but today they are being recycled into all sorts of useful products. If you want to know how to recycle your old fishing reel, keep reading.

Recycled Fishing Reels

Newer models of fishing reels may no longer work properly due to corrosion caused by saltwater and sunlight, but older reels still work fine and make great storage containers. You don’t need to buy a new container to store these reels; instead, use them as they were. These used reels are perfect for storing jewelry, coins, tools, knives, and other small items.

If you’re looking to get rid of some extra junk, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll tell you what to do with old fishing gear here.

Make Crafts with Old Fishing Gear

You can use a few different things to create crafts out of old fishing gear. First, you’ll need thread for sewing. Thread comes in many different thicknesses, colors, and types depending on its intended purpose.  Choose thread that matches the color of the fishing line that’s being stored inside the reel. In addition, choose a type of cotton or polyester thread that won’t break easily when pulled.

Next, you’ll need needles. Don’t forget to pick up a pair of sharp ones.

To start creating your crafting project, you’ll need a sturdy surface to lay down. You can either cut down a piece of wood or use a table top if you’d prefer. Once you’ve got everything ready, you’ll simply sew the threads together and tie off any loose ends.

Repurposed Old Fishing Rods Into Decorative Objects

Old fishing rods aren’t just good for making decorative objects. You can actually use them to fish again! There are plenty of ways to customize a fishing rod to suit your needs. After removing the handle, drill holes into the tip of the rod. Then, attach the end of a hook and sinker to the hooks. Use a bobber to attract fish. Lastly, add a lure like squid to catch larger fish.

Use Old Fishing Tackle As A Storage Container

Instead of throwing away used fishing tackle, consider repurposing it. Tackling boxes are ideal for keeping unused fishing equipment organized and visible. However, they can be decorated with decals or stickers, printed text, or even custom artwork.

How to Clean Your Old Fishing Reels

braided line

I know what you’re thinking – how hard could it possibly be to clean an old reel? Well, before you get started, make sure you read the instructions that came with the reel. You don’t want to end up damaging something while cleaning yours. In addition, I recommend doing this outside since it’s easier to remove any excess dirt/mud after you finish than trying to do it inside. Here’s how to clean your old fishing reels:

Step 1: Remove the Line

First things first, take off the line. There should be a small plastic tag underneath the line that says “don’t cut”. Simply lift the line until it releases from its connection to the reel. Make sure to wear gloves while handling any hooks!

Step 2: Disassemble

Now you need to disassemble the reel. Turn the handle until it clicks into place. Then unscrew the metal frame by turning the screws clockwise. Once you’ve pulled it apart, you’ll be able to easily access each part individually. Use a screwdriver or wrench to loosen any other parts on the frame. Make sure to pull the metal piece off the side of the reel.

Step 3: Inspect Parts

Once everything is separated, inspect each individual part for damage. Look for any rust, cracks, or broken pieces. If anything looks damaged, replace it with a similar replacement.

Step 4: Clean Particles Off

After inspecting each individual part, use a wire brush to sweep any particles off the surface. The best way to do this is to sit the reel in a bucket of distilled water. Make sure to keep the center-bar of the reel submerged in water. If the area where the center bar meets the rest of the reel becomes rusty, it might need replaced. Also, look at the area between the crank and the spool. If it appears to be dirty, use sandpaper to scrape away the gunk.

Step 5: Dry & Store

Dry the reel by wrapping the entire thing in a towel. Doing so prevents any moisture from getting trapped under the metal, which can lead to corrosion. Now that you’ve cleaned the reel, wrap it up again and put it away until you’re ready to use it. Be careful not to leave it exposed to sunlight or rain, though. You don’t want any moisture getting inside the mechanism.

As long as you keep your old fishing reels safe, they can serve you many years down the road! And if you want to make sure that you’re using a quality product, check out our guide to choosing a fishing reel!

Are old fishing rods and reels worth anything?

The answer to that question is yes! If given proper care and storage, they are extremely valuable. You can pass down an old fishing equipment to a younger generation or just kept around as an investment.

Regardless of what you decide to do, they’re definitely worth something! There are a few things that need to be considered when determining a value for them. You should first consider what type of rod/reel you have. Here are some basic recommendations based on the type of material:

Aluminum Rods

Aluminum rods are generally inexpensive. However, if stored improperly, aluminum rods can become brittle over time.

Fiberglass Rods

Fiberglass rods are much stronger than their counterparts made out of aluminum. On average, they cost about $10-$20 dollars more per year than aluminum rods. Fiberglass rods are often preferred by anglers who enjoy using big lures.

Steel Rods

These rod costs are relatively high due to its versatility. Steel rod can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. They’re also great for bass fishing and fly fishing.

Wooden Rods

Wooden rods are expensive but they can last forever. Depending on how well they were treated, wooden rods can hold their value for 20 years or more. If treated properly, they might be able to last as long as 100 years.

When considering the price of an old fishing reel, keep these factors in mind:


Some reels are from metal while others from plastic. Metal reels tend to be more durable compared to their counterparts made out of plastics. Plastic reels are cheaper than their metallic counterparts, but tend to wear out faster. If possible, I recommend going with a stainless steel reel.


Quality reels last and are sturdy and reliable. Cheap reels are likely made from cheap materials. As a result, they may break easily and lose some value once broken.

How do you refurbish an old fishing reel?

fly fishing vest

If you’re a fisherman who’s been using their reel for years, chances are you’ve probably already spent some time tinkering around with it here and there, trying to make it work better than ever before. Maybe you’ve taken it apart, cleaned it, inspected it and put it back together again… or maybe not. If you haven’t done any of those things, you might still have a few questions about how to get started!

You don’t need to know how to repair a plane engine or fix a car battery to start making your own fishing reels. There are plenty of products out there that give instructions and tips on how to rebuild the gear, but they could use a little bit of extra help themselves. So let’s go over how to take a worn-out reel apart, inspect it and then put it back together again to create something that works just as good (if not better) than the original.

Steps to refurbish old reels

The first step to taking apart your reel is removing the line. This may seem simple enough, but if you’ve got a lot of line wrapped around a spool, remove it without damaging any of the parts. You should also make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area, as you don’t want to breathe in any of the chemicals that have built up inside the reel.

Once the line is out, you can begin to remove the frame pieces that hold everything together. Just remember: these aren’t actually gears – they’re basically metal plates, so be careful not to lose them.

Once you’ve got the frame out, you’ll want to look at each individual piece to determine what exactly is wrong with it. Was it a bent pin? Is it missing? When was it serviced? Look closely at the way the pin connects to the axle and then to the frame plate. Did it break off, or did it just wear away? These are all little details that can easily prevent your reel from working properly or lead to other problems down the road.

Take your time, ask questions and do your research before you decide to spend money fixing anything.

Clean the frame outside once you have dismantled it. Use soap and water to wash everything down, including the entire reel. Make sure to scrub the inside of each bearing as well as the rod guide and spool shaft.

Dry the whole thing completely and then apply a thin layer of grease to the shaft and bearings. You shouldn’t need much more than a couple drops; however, if you find yourself having trouble getting the right amount onto the bearings, you can always add more later.

Next, you’ll need to assemble your reel back together again. Begin by inserting the rod guide into the frame and screwing it in place. Then slide the spool shaft into position and tighten all of the screws.

Finally, insert the bearing into the frame where the rod guide goes and tighten the bolt. Now you’ve got a fully functional reel ready to go out and catch fish!

Is it worth upgrading fishing rod

It is always good to upgrade your gear once in a while. If you have been using the same old equipment for years now, then it’s time for a change to something new. Don’t just throw away those old rods and poles though. You might want to use them again later on. So before throwing them away, check them out!

Here are some tips about how to do that effectively:

  • Check if it’s still strong enough to keep using. You don’t want to break a brand new rod at first.
  • If it’s not, put it aside somewhere safe for now. It won’t hurt the environment nor cause any harm to you.
  • When you’re ready to use it again, clean it properly. Use soap and water to get rid of dirt and grime.
  • After cleaning, dry the rod thoroughly.
  • Now, when you’re ready to go fishing, make sure there is no obstruction between the reel and line. Make sure both ends of the line are free.
  • Before you start reeling in the fish, make sure you have enough tension on the line. If you’re going after big fish, you’ll need a stronger rod than what you would normally use.
  • If you don’t know how to tie knots, or you’re a beginner, you should learn how to properly do so. There are plenty of books that you can buy that teach you how to tie different knots. Just search for “how to tie knot”, and you’ll find that many options are available.

There you have it!, now you’re ready to go. Good luck with your fishing adventures, and happy angling!

conclusion on what to do with old fishing reels

After learning about different types of fishing reels, I took all of mine apart. I then cleaned them off and gave each piece to a friend who loves to fish. I told him that if I died tomorrow, he could have all of my fishing equipment. Then I explained that I had found information online about recycling fishing reels. I shared this information with my neighbor who has a small farm. She agreed to take my reels off my hands. Her goal is to eventually sell them to someone else who wants them. It would be great if we were able to do something like this in our community. We could pass on these valuable items to others who love fishing.

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