How to Fix a Fishing Reel That won’t lock? | Possible Causes and Solution

Is your spinning reel isn’t locking anymore? Then you must be worried! This is a common issue that most angler faces and it happens to cheap reels mostly.

Very few top-quality reels come in this phase. However, professionals know exactly how to fix a fishing reel that won’t lock. But for beginners, it is a little stressful.

Don’t stress, I am here to help you with that. In this very guide, I have mentioned some possible causes of why the reel doesn’t lock and provided solutions as well. Hope it helps you.

What are the Possible Causes?

When a fishing reel isn’t locking most of the time it is because of the broken spool or bail, or it could be the anti-reverse system of the reel or it could be the drag system as well. These are the three most common issues why a reel doesn’t lock anymore.

How to Solve a Defected Bail Wire or Broken Spool?

One of the biggest reasons why a reel wouldn’t lock anymore is because of the defected bail wire or broken spool. The spool could be broken, or rusted or bent. Other inner items such as defected spring also can cause the problem. However, let’s have a look at how to fix a defected bail wire or broken spool easily.

Things you will be needing

  • Small screwdriver.
  • Pliers.

You might replacement parts as well if you find anything defected. It could be the spool, spring, bail wire, anything. You don’t need to purchase any part in advance, see what is the condition inside, if you see anything defected, then purchase that.

Remove the Screws

The very first thing you would be doing is unscrew the bail wire screws to remove the bait wire. Then remove the screws from the side of the pivoting arm. However, the screw spot varies on different reels, I hope you will figure out where the screws are and what they hold.

If your reel is new, then the screws would be intact and new. But if you see the screws are rusty or got dull, then replace the screws with a new one, that will benefit you.

Remove the Bait Wire

After removing all the screws, the bail wire should be removed very easily. And when you remove the bail wire check for any damage signs. Is the bail wire rusty, bent, misshaped, corroded? If yes, then you need to replace that before the next use. If you No, then move on to the next possible cause.

Inspect the line roller

Remove all the screws that keep the line roller and then take the roller out. Take a look at the line roller, see if that is broken, if not then check for any sign that makes it defected. If you see it broken or damaged in any way, then replace it.

Check the spring

When you didn’t find any defect on line roller or in the bail arm, then it is wise to look out for the spring. This component also causes the reel to not lock. From the pivoting bail, arm side removes the spring and check it that is bent, corroded, misshaped, rusty, or damaged in any way. Damage spring won’t let the reel function properly, replace that with a good quality spring immediately. 

Reassemble the reel

After you have checked and replaced the items, now time to reassemble the reel properly. Most beginners often forget what to add after what, and it is natural to forget. In that case, I suggest you record the entire process so that if you forget anything you can watch and reassemble the reel properly. Put all the screws properly. 


Problem solved? Not Yet? Sad! Then probably it is the drag system that needs attention. However, visit here to see how you can fix a drag system easily. 

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