field repair for sticky carbon-disk drag [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: field repair for sticky carbon-disk drag

07-31-2007, 06:31 PM
I havea disk-drag reel with a carbon-type drag material. The reel has seen considerable use and drag is no longer smooth, i.e. difference between stick and slip friction is increasing. Looking at the carbon drag disc, the surface has worn smooth, although it is not worn through or unevenly.
I've tried cleaning the drag surface and corresponding metal surface with lighter fluid and slightly roughing up the carbon material with a small wirebrush, to no effect. Is there anything I can do while still in the field to bring the smooth drag back?

Jim Miller
07-31-2007, 06:45 PM
Was this caused by repeated encounters with huge bonefish? :)

08-03-2007, 07:47 AM
This reel has seen its' share of use, but it's less than two years old. It makes one wonder whether modern reels are designed to be fondled in the store or for long-term use.
How long sould one expect to use a fly reel before it needs a new drag or a major overhaul?

08-03-2007, 08:37 AM
Josko, what kind of reel is it? Have you contacted the manufacturer about your problem? Reputable ones are generally responsive to issues with their products. Maintenance varies from daily soaking,rinsing in sweetwater to occasional rinsing and lubrication.

08-03-2007, 09:39 AM
I don't know how you can fix the problem, but the issue is very common in reels that use carbon fiber washers that get exercised when wet with seawater. That' why so many HT-100 washers are changed in the old 704z's, etc.

Fwiw, I now grease all my carbon fiber washers with either Shimano or Cal's drag grease. I got the clue when I noticed that, despite Penn saying HT100s should be dry, they sold the International fly reels with greased HT100 material. :confused:

Since starting that practice a few years ago, I have not had a single drag wear out or get ruined.

08-03-2007, 12:00 PM
I know this is going to come across as a sales pitch but it's not. It's a testimonial based in trust, excitement and good experience.

Since I switched to Danielssons I have experienced zero issues for so long I can't even relate to reel problems anymore.

08-03-2007, 12:04 PM
Thanks Roger, that's just the kind of info I was looking for. I'll try it with the best grease I can get my hands on, and hope for the best.

I did contact the maker, and they were willing to FedEx a whole new drag plate for free, but I wasn't in a place where that would have been practical.

05-11-2008, 10:45 AM
I greased the drag with Cal's grease, and it's made a HUGE difference. Now I don't understand why all carbon drags don't come greased. The reel's got just as much drag now, and it's incomparably smoother.

05-11-2008, 12:42 PM
A certain carbon composite can be slowly partially dissolved by non-polar, hydrocarbon based oil or grease.
So watch out !!! :tsk_tsk: This is why they should not be greased.
Carbon drag reels with sealed system ( Danielsson, Charlton) don;t need grease on the drag plate.
The plates are not exposed to water and small particles, and any small amount of carbon produce during work cycle acts are a lubricant.
Also Danielsson reels have multiple carbon disks ( in new reel there are 5-8 of them) to ensure not only huge dragging power but also smoothness.
Of course the precision with which disks are manufacture has a critical affect on the longevity and smoothness of the disks surface.


05-11-2008, 07:01 PM
If you can get the washer out or get at the whole surface, you can sand the carbon fiber with wet #200 wet&dry sand paper then rinse. After that, you may want to put a light lube on the disc then wipe off.

12-08-2008, 11:43 AM
I greased the drag with Cal's grease, and that improved smoothness hugely. However, the reel's up to its' old stickiness again, and I didn't bring any Cal's grease down with me. Is there a substitute that might help until I get back home? I got vaseline, bag balm, common car grease,and most anything one can find in a 7-11.
Would any of those smooth out the reel for the time being? I got a hunch vaseline might help. Anybody???

Followup: I lubricated the drag with vaseline, and it does seem to help - smoothed it right out. However, I'm thinking I need a real bonefishing reel one of these days.
Vaseline does seem to work, though.