i just wrote this http://www.pcsportfishing.com/blogs/7
4/15/09 - There a four different lubricants that I use in fishing reels. A “one size fits all” approach will work in some situations, but not this one. This continues to be a work in progress. As of this writing, April 2009, here are the four lubes that I’ve settled on.
Blue Grease – There are several different manufacturers that market blue greases for fishing reels. These products are all hydrocarbon based, salt water resistant, they never harden, (important to a service center) they stay blue forever and cost only $5 to 15 per pound. You can service a reel, open it up 10 years later and know that you’ve worked on it before. These blue greases can be packed into non-spool bearings, applied to all screws, gears and other non-exposed metal surfaces, and provide a lifetime of corrosion resistance. The product that I use is the $5 per pound Yamaha All Purpose Engine Grease. Don’t use these blue greases on drag washers.
Drag Grease – There are currently three drag greases on the market, available from Shimano, Cal Sheets and Xtreme Lubricants. These products are Teflon-based and cost from $25 to 50 per pound. One way to separate these products is by melting temperature. Shimano’s drag grease melts at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, Cal’s drag grease melts at 500 degrees F, and the Xtreme drag grease melts at 1000 degrees F. Water, of course, boils at 212 degrees F at sea level. Unless you see steam coming from you fishing reel, you are nowhere near the melting temperature for any of these products. Under the heaviest drag settings with several hundred yard runs, there is a phenomenon called “high speed runout.” Cal Sheets describes a decrease in drag pressure when a big fish is running long, hard and fast with lower melting temperature Teflon greases. This would not be a concern in the vast majority of situations. The product that I am currently using is the $25 per pound Cal’s Drag, although the Shimano and Xtreme products perform equally well in the light tackle applications that I am commonly faced with.
Oils – For years, WD-40 had been a popular lubricant in fishing reels, but it turns to varnish over time and has generally fallen out of favor. Many other light hydrocarbon-based oils are available and provide excellent lubricant properties without turning to varnish over time. The product that I have used for the last ten years is Corrosion X. The polar molecular bonding that Corrosion X, Reel X and Speed X offer will give these products excellent lubricating properties and long life. I use these products on any parts of a reel that need a lighter lubricant that a heavy grease. Handles, levers, level wind assemblies, bearings and bushing are the most common places in a reel that are oiled rather than greased. Corrosion X sprayed into an old rag, after a fresh water rinse and towel dry, is also an excellent way of wiping down your reel after a day of fishing.
Dry Teflon Lubricants – For the last 2 months, I have been using a dry Teflon lubricant from Xtreme Lubricants on spool bearings. After cleaning out spool bearings and lubricating them with hydrocarbon based oils, freespool times of 30 to 60 seconds are typical. Lubricating these same spool bearings with one of these dry Teflon lubricants will increase the freespool times from seconds to minutes. Larger spools with a great deal of rotational inertia can spin for up to 5 minutes when the bearings are lubed with these newer dry Teflon lubes. Hydrocarbon-based oils can form can actually form a hydrodynamic wedge (like a standing wave on a very small scale) in front of the balls of the bearings that will actually slow your spin rate. The improvement in freespool time is dramatic! Another reel tech and I had independently tried this product, saw the improvement, and decided in a microsecond that we were going to use this product in our own personal reels. At issue is what to do for a customer. Corrosion resistance is still a concern, but even my tried and true Corrosion x does not last forever. So how good (or bad) is the corrosion protection from these dry Teflon lubes? I will have a final answer for you next year. For me personally, I know that better freespool will give me longer casting distances, and longer casting distances will catch me more fish.