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Can You Use Vaseline On Fishing Reels? (Why or Why Not?)

If you’re like me you might have heard from an old timer or even one of your fishing buddies that throwing on a glob of Vaseline on your fishing reel gears will help protect it from corrosion and even help it turn easier. 

Does it actually help to put Vaseline on fishing reels? What is it supposed to do? That’s exactly what this post is all about. 

Can You Use Vaseline On Fishing Reels?

Not Recommended

Personally, I don’t recommend that you apply Vaseline to the gears of your fishing reel. It’s actually a myth that applying it to your fishing reel gears will lubricate the reel. Experts at repairing fishing reels have mentioned that they’ve had reels come into their shop frozen or nearly impossible to use as a result of the owner using products on it that are not designed for fishing reels.

Here’s more reasons why you shouldn’t be so quick to throw on a glob of Vaseline into the gears in your fishing reel.

It Doesn’t Stay Put 

The other issue with using Vaseline as a lubricant is that it turns into liquid very easily. It really doesn’t take much heat at all to turn that stuff into a runny mess. So if you’re fishing on a warm day, expect it to turn to liquid and start running out of your reel.

Examples Of When You Might Use Vaseline On A Fishing Reel

When I got the idea to put this short post together, I did a little searching of the internet to see if people actually did recommend using Vaseline on fishing reels.  

I ran into one gentleman that actually recommends using it on a very specific part of the reel…and nothing more. And even thought I don’t recommend using Vaseline, this use kind of made sense.

Chad, from over at says this: 

“Now as for the Vaseline trick you ask, This I will use on my drag washers solely, and nothing else. I have found Di-electric grease with silicone to become to sticky over time…I’ve had reels setting for 4 years that the drag washers were lubed with Vaseline and they are still soft and pliable.”

Vaseline And Vintage Reels

He goes on to say, “When going to store a vintage reel that you aren’t going to use for a while or ever again, lube the whole reel with Vaseline, It will keep those parts preserved for years on end.”

“For everyday use though I don’t recommend lubing that whole reel, outside of the drag washers, with Vaseline. If that reel is out in the elements, especially in hot climates such as the garage, boat, etc., it will run out of the reel to quick as it is a light, light, lube. Only lube whole reel with Vaseline if your going to store for long periods of time indoors.”

Final Thoughts

My recommendation is to not use Vaseline at all, and to use products that are specifically designed for your fishing reel gears and other parts of the reel. 

Chad on the other hand, says that it’s ok to use Vaseline only on drag washers, and nothing more. Is it worth giving it a try? Perhaps. But I still recommend using products designed for fishing reels. 

​I have an article here you can check out where I go over some of the best fishing reel grease, oil and other lubricants. These are the lubricants that I use myself and personally recommend.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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