Merwin: How to Manage Line Twist on a Spinning Reel

As more people are getting out on the water this month, I can almost guarantee there will likewise by a … Continued

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As more people are getting out on the water this month, I can almost guarantee there will likewise by a growing collection of messed-up spinning tackle. Here are a few things that might help to untangle that tangled reel.
Line twist is the usual culprit, creating snarls such as that shown in the photo. And because of the way spinning reels work, with a revolving rotor spooling line around a stationary spool, some line twist is inevitable. In theory, line twist supposedly evens out as a lure is cast (untwisting the line) and then reeled back in (twisting it again). But the equation is never precisely equal. Twists then accumulate in the line, and tangles occur.

While you can’t entirely eliminate line twist, you can mediate its tangling effect by not allowing coils of slack to occur at the reel. If you simply cast and then close the reel’s bail, there will briefly be a coil or two of slack line near the reel spool. This twisted slack will pop itself into a snarl.

Instead, and as you close the reel’s bail after casting, raise the rod slightly at the same time. Then–as the bail closes–line will be pulling slightly away from the reel instead of just sitting there. That slight tension from the rod’s brief movement eliminates slack coils, which means you’ll tangle much less often.

Another and alternative good trick is to “feather” your cast. Near the end of a cast–but just before the lure hits the water–extend the index finger of your rod hand to the edge of the reel spool. Use that fingertip to slow the line coming off the spool. This feathering not only allows greater casting accuracy, but also eliminates tangle-prone slack line as you then close the bail.

There are some things, however, that you just can’t resolve. Nylon mono on a spinning reel accumulates twist over a period of time and become increasingly prone to tangling. You can try the old trick of dragging the line–with no lure attached–behind a moving boat to untwist it, but I’ve never found that to work completely.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is simply throw the old line away (proper disposal, please) and start over again with new line.