Merwin: Solutions for Sticky Bails

One of our readers–buckhunter, if I remember correctly–brought up a problem with spinning reels a while back that I’ve been thinking about since. Simply put, it’s sometimes very hard to close the bail by cranking the handle after making a cast.

That’s because the reel’s rotor section (to which the bail is attached) is sometimes positioned right up against the internal bail trip. In that case, you can’t develop any momentum by cranking the handle to trip the bail closed. I think that’s a problem common to all spinning reels.

So what to do? First and most simply, I’d say just flip the bail closed by hand instead of trying to crank the handle. This is obviously a sure thing mechanically that has the added plus of reducing slack-line tangles at the spool.

Alternatively, you can fish with the reel’s anti-reverse switch turned off. That means that–with the bail open but before casting–you can reel backward one turn to position the rotor at the back side of the bail trip. Then, after your cast, cranking forward with the handle will give plenty of force to pop the bail closed. I do not, however, normally suggest this because fishing with the anti-reverse off invites trouble.

This may be a problem with no good answer, but those two things are what I’ve been able to come up with so far. It’s something that everybody who uses a spinning reel encounters at one time or another. So help us all out here. How do you solve it?