The Reel Tech educates and throws smack down….

Posted: May 23, 2012 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead, Tips & Advice, Tutorials
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John Strenk is the founder and owner of The Reel Tech and is a proud sponsor of John has contributed to AAA in multiple forms in the past year and Mila and I are very grateful. We will continue to endorse John and his services proudly.

Words from The Reel Tech….

One of the greatest things to come to the world of fishing reels was the implementation of a one way roller bearing, or anti-reverse bearing, into spinning and casting reels. These bearings, now found in most all of the modern fishing reels, provide for a solid retrieve with near zero back play in the handle. The new systems are a far cry from the older ratchet style anti-reverse systems which only catch in certain spots when you turn the handle backwards.

The anti-reverse bearings can and will fail over time, as with many of the highly used parts in a reel system. The issues always start as an intermittent issue. You will be fighting a fish and the handle will take a 1/4, 1/2 or even a full revolution backwards, and then lock up again as if nothing happened. This may not happen again for several trips, or it may happen again later in the day. These intermittent issues are always a sign of pending complete failure. When you notice any intermittent issues with the one way bearing, it is time to consider having it replaced.

Many reels now, like the Shimano casting reels, are going to a backup system in the event of one way bearing failure. This is an extremely great idea and an asset to us as fisherman. They implemented something called an “Assist Stopper”, which is the old style anti reverse technology which kicks in if the bearing decides to fail during a fishing trip. Without such an “Assist Stopper”, when your one way bearing would fail, you were done fishing with that reel until you replaced the bearing.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

John Strenk aka The Reel Tech

You can link to John’s website for more information right now by clicking on his banner logo located here on!


  1. daheller says:

    Thanks for sharing. I have had the anti reverse bearings go out on a number of reels. I was wondering why they seemed to be one of themost common problems with a heavily used reel. Have they changed the materials or design on these over time to save money or is replacing them something that is just normal wear and tear? Really nice fish by the way. Sal

  2. Hi Sal,

    They are just one of those parts that does go bad over time. Every time you stop turning the handle and have a fish on pulling drag, a lure hanging, or a plug pulling on the other end with the rod in a rod holder, it is putting stress on the anti-reverse bearing. This is the only thing keeping that handle from turning backwards. Over time, they will wear out.
    Different things can cause them to fail quicker. Such things are corrosion on the anti reverse bearing and sleeve, excessive lubrication (there is a fine line between just enough to inhibit corrosion, and increasing the chances of bearing failure), too much lubrication coupled with cold temperatures, dirt/sand/mud/debris intrusion into the bearing etc.

    Its one of the things that I check and recheck when I get a reel in for service. I check the bearing for corrosion, do load tests and stress tests on them to see if I can make them fail in the shop, and always ask the customer if they have experienced any intermittent issues with the bearings. A failing or bad bearing often times looks NO DIFFERENT than a perfectly good one. If the customer tells me they never had any intermittent issues, and the bearing passes all of my tests in the shop, it is not replaced at that time. They could start to develop issues a week, a month, a year, or longer down the line and should be replaced at that time.

    Hope this helps. As always, feel free to contact me 🙂

  3. daheller says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Next time one goes out, you’re my man. Sal

  4. Kody Balderston says:

    Good Info thanks for sharing John… Learn something every day

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