SkilKast Cleaning

You got 'em, we know how to clean 'em
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Paul Roberts
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SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

Hope I'm not posting too much. Have a bunch of reels coming in and I'm tearing each down before giving them all a casting workout, Thought I might as well comment while they are still fresh. Tonight I did the SkilKast, this one was mighty stiff, full of solidified (original?)grease.

The Pflueger SkilKast may be the most challenging tear down, up there with the the South Bend AB "bail" reels. The risk of losing track of tiny parts (a tiny lock washer and minute ball bearings (loose!), and the fact that the frame comes apart entirely -the sheer number of parts- begs caution, a schematic/directions, and photo's as you go. Pulled the spool from the AB side, and found it wouldn't go back in. So I had to dismantle the AB stack bc the washers have a rectangular hole that must be lined up to fit the spool shaft. Had to deal with the truly minute bearings using a magnetic needle nose. Didn't sneeze, and was able to get it all back together and spinning like it should.
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spadej1
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by spadej1 »

Thanks for the PSA Paul!
-James-
New to reel collecting so bear with me please. I like reel deals!

Paul Roberts
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

You bet. Hey, my wife isn't much interested. :)
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Bill Sonnett
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Bill Sonnett »

I have worked on a lot of Skilcasts and it has been my observation that many have been disassembled in the past and the ABL "stack" has been reassembled in the wrong order. I personally have owned about 15 Skilcasts and found that some always seem to work better than others no matter how much attention they receive. I have two that I fish with at night that one can cast as hard as can be and they both achieve tremendous distance with no thumbing and no backlash or overrun. When demonstrating these in the daylight, I ask the onlooker to watch my thumb as it never touches the spool once the cast is on its way. On more than one occasion the observer (who is familiar with using vintage casting reels) has simply said "that's impossible".
I love to get old reels, work on them until they run as smooth as silk and the take them fishing using pre-1960 plugs, mostly surface fishing for Largemouths after dark.

Paul Roberts
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

Hi, Bill. I have only this one and after cleaning it doesn't spin as freely as other reels. Either AB or maybe not as great a caster as it could be. Still haven't got line on it yet though.
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Bill Sonnett
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Bill Sonnett »

It of course should turn freely when cranking and have drag only during the cast. I will say that any time I pick up a Skilcast to cast, it takes a cast or two before things start to work inside the reel as they are supposed to. When one works as it should, it is truly a marvel. One is not going to set distance records with a 3/8 oz plug but with 5/8 oz bait and a 5ft TrueTemper hollow steel rod you can get amazing distance with no problems.
I love to get old reels, work on them until they run as smooth as silk and the take them fishing using pre-1960 plugs, mostly surface fishing for Largemouths after dark.

RAM
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by RAM »

Love my Dad’s old Skilkast. As far as I know it never received proper attention and I have never disassembled it, but it is a marvel of an invention as it is the only reel I cannot backlash. Since I would only fish small creeks, distance wouldn’t matter. Thanks Pfluegers!

Bad Bob

Paul Roberts
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

Put some line on my SkilKast (12lb Mason) and... I think I have a pretty good one. Distance and aaaalmost no thumbing. I can tighten things down and use no thumbing, and it still casts pretty well; But I like to live dangerously. :)
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Ron Mc
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Ron Mc »

Hi Bad Bob, Happier 2021.
I'll take the blame for putting Paul onto Skilkast - my favorite postwar LW, too - I like it better than Supreme.
but really difficult to photograph because of its bright-chrome reflection
Image

Paul Roberts
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

Yes, you are the culprit, Ron. You also suggested a Marhoff, and I am trying a couple of those too, an older (black, and a newer green). Love the rod too, Heddon Pal?
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Ron Mc
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Ron Mc »

That is a Heddon Pal Standard, and came with the linen sock covering cardboard tube, with separate sleeves for handle and blade.
Compared to modern bass rods, it fishes more like a spincast, but the soft tip might make a good BFS rod.

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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

I'm going to cheat with my tack on rods for my old reels. Building with modern glass and shooting for a vintage look. I've decided on blanks, one is a pretty translucent "caramel" color, another a translucent brown-olive, and a third un-dyed translucent white, reminiscent of the Howald Wonderod or of some solid glass blades. Been tough finding components that provide a vintage look. "Boat guides" look right but are too large. Reel seats have been tough and I've collected up a few that... are the closest I can find. That reddish fore-grip on the Pal's has caught my fancy and I might end up with such a contrasting fore-grip. Will just have to see what I can come up with. I'm actually not against even using some graphite disguised in vintage dress. I'm currently testing my old reels as they come off the bench with a 1980's Skyline pistol grip thick-wall graphite. I just love those old Skylines, the nearly slow but powerful actions they have. Considered finding a well-used one on ebay, stripping it down, and re-dressing it.
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Paul Roberts
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Re: SkilKast Cleaning

Post by Paul Roberts »

SkilKast AB stack take-home lessons:

—Take reference photos of the stack order as you go so there is no way you can get them in the wrong order. Also, note that the cam —into which the tiny ball bearings go— has a proper orientation. The two SkilKasts I’ve dismantled have the upper side of this cam stamped with “UP”, which is darn thoughtful. The Pflueger people impress me more and more as I dismantle, and reassemble, their reels. But just in case we ever open one up that isn’t so stamped, or have one that the AB doesn’t work properly, it’s worth knowing that the cam has a proper orientation.

—Always work on a damp rag or paper towel to keep static in check. I live in a very arid climate so I keep hands moist too. Moist fingers have much better feel than dry, and esp cracked (and painful!), fingers do. A big help with tiny screws too.

—These minute SkilKast bearings are also magnetized, obviously how the Pflueger people, and I, manage them —in static-free environments. This makes the static issue —‘jumping bean’ bearings— a harrowing surprise. I use a pair of fine curved needle nose pliers with magnetized tips. They stick, but must be separated with a toothpick.

Adding images of the SkilKast AB stack order, L to R, and cam/bearings orientation. Missing in the photo is the retaining 'C' spring that holds the stack into... a stack. That's the final part on the stack, fitting into the threads in the bronze (?) bearing wall. Don't forget it or there may be hell to pay! Also, the magnetized fine curved needle-nose pliers I use to manage the minute ball bearings. And a toothpick I use to separate the bearing from the plier tip:


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