Fishing Reel Lubricant Alternatives

Fishing Reel Lubricant Alternatives

Has it ever happened that you could not go to your favorite fishing spot just because your fishing reel needed a lubricant and it was not available? It happens often, and you should not worry as we have got you covered. 

This article explores the materials you can use as an alternative to the fishing reel lubricant.

How Often Should you Change the Fishing Reel Lubricant?

Fishing reel lubricant lasts a long time. It should be changed once a year if you are a weekend fisher. If you go fishing daily, then the lube will need to be changed a couple of times a year. 

What to Use as a Fishing Reel Lubricant Alternative 

Here are some alternatives for a fishing reel lubricant. 

Gun Oil

Gun oil can be an excellent alternative to the fishing reel lubricant. However, you may not always access it so quickly outside the US. Gun oil can be used but is not an optimal solution. It is thick, and you should avoid using it on the ball bearings. 

Gun oil does not last as long as the fishing reel lubricant. It wears off after a couple of trips. 

Synthetic Automotive Oil

Some fishermen suggest synthetic automotive oil to replace fishing reel lubricant. It might be because a high-grade light machine oil is used even in the fishing reel oil. 

With machine oil, you have to be careful that it must not contain TFE ( Tetrafluoroethylene). TFE is solid and can speed up the reel rather than make the moving parts spin better. 


Vaseline should only be the last option if there is nothing else available. Vaseline is too thick and cannot reach all the reel parts. It gets gunky, and cleaning it up will be a task. 

White Lithium Grease

White lithium grease is often substituted for the fishing reel lube. However, normal lithium grease should be avoided as it usually contains aerosol or acetone. These compounds damage the reel. 

White lithium grease lubricates and protects the reel by making it water-resistant. It is especially helpful in saltwater. Moreover, it also oxidizes and protects aluminum reels, a benefit other lubricants do not offer. 

What Not to Use

Here are some substances you should not use to lubricate your fishing reel. 

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is readily available at home, and there is a misconception that it is suitable as a reel lube. However, it is not appropriate at all. 

Mineral oil should be avoided when lubricating a fishing reel. It is quite corrosive and can damage the rubber and plastic parts on the reel. 

Cooking Oil

Yes, we know that every house has cooking oil. However, it’s not necessarily feasible to use it to replace the fishing reel lubricant.

Cooking oil is viscous, which means it’s a little bit thicker than any liquid substance. And, the viscosity increases with the cold temperatures. Therefore, it is made for totally different functions and cannot be used as an alternative to the fish reel lubricant. 

Silicone Spray

Some anglers recommend  silicone spray as it doesn’t harm the rubber and plastic reel parts. However, it is not a good option. Silicone spray makes the reel hard. 

Method of Oiling Your Fishing Reel

Here are a few quick steps to oil your fishing reel.

Step 1 

Find a  space to work in. Use a well-lit area. 

Step 2

Open the bail. On the line, apply the cleaning solvent on the junction of the bail and the rollers rollers. Then clean it by light scrubbing and dry it with a wipe. Now use the oiling lubricant and open and close the bail multiple times for the oil to reach the corners and work properly. 

Step 3

Now remove the drag knob and the spool. Clean these with the cleaning solvent as well. Use cotton swabs to clean crevices.

Any dirt, excess oil or debris should be wiped off. After cleaning, apply the lubricant by dropping a few drops on the shaft and gears. Reassemble the drag knob and the spool. 

Step 4

At this point, you have to oil the bearings. You have to dismantle the screw cap and the reel handle. Repeat the cleaning regime as in step 2. Apply one drop of lube to each bearing and reassemble the parts. 

Step 5

Oil the entire reel gently. 


The article discussed the replacement of a fishing reel lubricant The lubes which can be used as alternatives are gun oil, synthetic automotive oil, and white lithium grease. 

Vaseline is not recommended but can be used in urgent situations. Substances that should not be used in place of a fishing reel lubricant include mineral oil, cooking oil, and silicone spray.  If you’re interested in fishing, visit yapq for more information about fishing or outdoor adventures.

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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