I am actually amazed at how many reels survive for years of poor (or insufficient, at least) maintenance and cleaning and can still catch fish. While it’s true that some reels start “sticking” before others, and seem a bit more sensitive to a lack of tender, loving, and continuous care, it’s a good idea to keep them all in top-knotch condition. You never know when the biggest, strongest, and most challenging fish of your entire life is going to grab that bait or lure and run for Mexico.
The tightness of that bail mechanism is definitely caused by gummy residue that you might not see, but is inhibiting the turning of the wire frame. Something to consider is that you should always close your bails manually, rather then rely on the spring mechanism to “snap” it shut by turning the reel handle. You can almost feel the undue strain the event causes, even though they’re designed to work that way. So once we solve the problem, we suggest you always do what you’re doing now — and that is close and open your bail manually. Make that your default habit.
As far as solving that problem. I have Penn reels that are fifty years old, and other then replacing worn out drag pads, they’re as good as new. Maybe a little better. That reel needs to be opened, have the bail taken off, and cleaned, greased, and oiled internally. If you have the time and the inclination, you can surely do it yourself by watching the video we’ve provided by Captain Steve Betz. If not, we would suggest you take it to a good shop near your place that will, for a small fee, open it, do everything that’s necessary, and make it spin like new. If there are any broken or worn parts that need replacement, they will inform you of the cost before they make the repairs. But judging from the sound of the problem it’s more likely to be goo than gears 🙂
Here is a great video from Chris Canning on YouTube showing you exactly how to work on Penn reels. The instructions are the pretty much the same for all their models.
We have also included a few products you’ll find on Amazon that you should have in your cleaning kit. The best way to keep your fishing equipment clean is to keep it clean. There are plenty of rainy and bad-weather days you can meet your fishing needs cleaning your equipment.
Captain David M Rieumont
You can check out Captain David himself from his incredible and very popular Patriotic Angler podcast. They cover every bit of fishing you can imagine, and there are new ones being created constantly. David and his team remain one of best resources any fishing community has anywhere in the country.