So I managed to shoot myself in the foot by convincing half of the Salt Water Fly Fishermen I know to buy Hardy Fortunas, which in turn dried up all the good ebay deals.  I’m more in love with this system than ever, so here’s a two-part thread on rebuilding this clever reel.  This will also apply to other sealed drag reels in part.  If you have a “sealed drag” reel, and it has spent some decent time underwater, you have water in the drag.  If it’s a Nautilus, you definitely do, if it’s a Hatch, you absolutely do.  If it’s a Mako/Charlton, it depends how much time, but I’ve taken apart one that did too.

I am a reel maker’s worst nightmare. I’m not big on carrying rods on packs if I’m on the flat.  I’ve usually traveled half way around the world (exactly half way in the case of Kiribati last month), and spent a fortune.  So I don’t usually want to risk missing a shot to try and get a rod off my pack, regardless of how clever the attachment rig is (Yes you Warrels). I see fish and drop rods that don’t apply to that fish. When the fight and photos are done, I’ll spot them (usually by the tips sticking out), and walk and fetch. Yes, it’s hard on them.  But most of us end up drowning a reel somehow on a flats trip.

A “freshwater” wash is not enough.  Regardless of what you are using.  The Fortuna has the smartest & simplest system I’ve seen yet, and is a truly serviceable sealed reel (once you learn a few tricks).

Part 1 is stripping the spool and first inspection of what lies beneath.  Part 2 I will go into total teardown, re-gasketing and reinserting the o-rings after they’ve been serviced.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Line recycler. Game changer to travel with.  The gearing means you can strip off 300m of backing in no time.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

You can skip this step and go straight to the Smart Spooler, but I needed the girlfriend on photo duty and didn’t have a way to clamp the reel to the table.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Get the backing onto the Smart Spooler or other line holder with large apetures that will enable you to wash the braid/backing. It will be completely impregnated with salt and will ruin your reel if left on.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

A nice tool, but anything that will give the water a way to get to the backing will work.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

The death of a spool if left to be. It will eventually penetrate the anodizing and eat into the spool. Even on type 3 anodizing.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Showing more salt deposits in the apetures

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Soak! I usually use some mild detergent (dishwashing liquid) and mix it with warm water. I will soak overnight, and then the next day rinse with more water and soak again.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Ok. I’ll nerd out a bit here. I eventually soak or rinse the backing in deiononized/demineralized water. This is not the same as distilled water, as it has all metals removed. You can get this one at Makro or Builders Warehouse or I buy 5l ones from PCB manufacturing suppliers. This is slight overkill, but I want to get the braid/PE as close as possible to its original manufactured state, not holding any metals found in our water (mainly iron) that will help oxidization.  This is even more critical on Dacron.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Scrub all salt deposits out with warm water and some detergent.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Clean. I do coat with Silicone Spray prior to reassembly as a preventative measure.

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Until you can work on the reel. Unscrew the top drag post screw. This must only be hand tightened, otherwise you will compromise the O ring (which should be coating in Silicon Grease often). Leaving this open will allow water any water drops to dry up inside (Hopefully none).  This X1 was my most used & abused reel in Kiribati.

IN PART 2:

Reel Care Hardy Fortuna teardown

Water. Made it past the first O ring. Quite a few to go before we know…