By Ron Mayer
This is a very simple procedure that will extend the performance capabilities of this
reel by 20-30%. Maximum casting distance and the overall lifetime of performance
will be increased, while the effort required in casting is sufficiently reduced. The
reel used in this tutorial is approximately 8 years old, it has endured countless
thousands of casts and pitches in tournament settings. It has seen the entire
spectrum of weather conditions from freezing temps and snow to 100 plus degree
heat, it's been dropped, stepped on, kicked and generally abused in hundreds of
This reel was one of the favorites in my stable for flipping and pitchin a jig, worm,
or soft plastic. It had reached the point that the reel was simply “shot”. It had
become necessary to clean the reel after every use, reaching distances in excess of
40-50 feet with anything less than a 3/8 oz bait was nearly impossible, and reaching
those distances required such a sufficient force of delivery that accuracy and
presentation were suffering. Enter Boca Bearing Orange Seal bearings. The spool
bearings installed in this reel are an ABEC Grade 7 Ceramic Hybrid bearing, part
numbers #SMR103C-2OS/P58#7 I and SMR115C-2OS #7 LD.
Remove the sideplate from the reel and extract the spool from the main reel frame.
Placing a piece of tape over the spooled line will help control the line after
removing the spool from the frame.
Remove the spool shaft pin from the spool shaft. Most of these pins are tapered and
may require some moderate force to break them loose initially. This can be
accomplished by tapping them with a small brass hammer if necessary.
Slide the spool bearing off the spool shaft and remove any excess dirt or grease from
the spool shaft. The new bearing may then be installed onto the spool shaft.
Reinstall the spool shaft pin using needle nosed pliers. Seat the pin into the shaft by
applying pressure to it. The pin should be centered in the shaft as shown.
Locate the wire retaining clip located on the inside of the reel side plate. It will be
a hex shaped wire clip. Use the needle nosed pliers to collapse one side of it while
removing it from the housing. Be sure to have a good grip on this clip as they are
made of spring steel wire, they can be very difficult to locate if they fly out of the
Remove the bearing located in the sideplate housing, also remove any dirt or grease
from the same area.
Install the new bearing and replace the wire retaining clip.
This is an opportune time to give the rest of the reel a thorough cleaning. Once the
cleaning is completed, reinstall the spool back into the frame.
Replace the sideplate. I would seriously consider tightening both the magnetic and
centrifugal brake settings at this point. The new bearings are going to allow the reel
to free spool very smoothly and with very little effort, failing to tighten the brakes,
both the magnetic and centrifugal, will result in an immediate overrun while
attempting to rethread the line through the line guide and onto the rod.
Once the reel has been placed back on the rod I would suggest using a practice plug
to make several pitches to get the feel of the bearings and to get the reel adjusted
to your preferences. The ease of use and increase in distance, accuracy, and
presentation will amaze you.
You will notice an immediate improvement of performance from a reel that was
once destined for the trash bin or at best the “parts only” shelf. One of the biggest
benefits I have found to these bearings is the financial savings they provide. For the
price of one tournament quality baitcaster you can realistically achieve better than
new performance from several of your favorite baitcasters that may be showing
signs of old age or wear and tear.