Help me spool a fishing reel

I’m just getting into fishing, and the nice man at the store politely pointed gullible old me into dropping $250 on a sweet ass rod and reel setup. I’m a total amateur, but it seemed like a good investment.

Anyway, I threaded a nice arbor knot onto the baitcaster reel, and wound it up nice and tight. The only problem is that even when the reel is “locked”, you can still pull on the line and unwind! When I get to the very end of the line, no amount of pulling is going to yank it off, so I know my knot is solid.

What’s the deal, guys?

First thing you should check is to see if your drag is set. On the handle side of your reel, there should be a star shaped thing. Tighten it by turning it towards the reel.

If that solves your problem, we can work on setting your drag to the right amount of pressure so you don’t snap your line on a big fish!

:smiley: Baitcaster huh? For $250, does it untangle its own birdnests and backlash?

I haven’t fished much for a the last several years, but all of a sudden I have the urge to go to Wal-Mart and buy a Zebco 33. Just because.


Just playing around and read this article for how to set up a baitcaster to prevent backlash. That’s about the process I used to follow, but apparently I’m not a naturally gifted fisherperson.

That’s the ticket!

The main function of the drag is to lock the spool up until the set amount of pressure.

This lets you set the hook and keep pressure on the fish. If you set the drag pressure too tight, however, a larger fish can pull hard enough to snap your line.

A properly set drag, will let the fish pull line out when it pulls hard enough to reach the breaking strength of your line.

Most people can set the drag by hand but if you want to be a little more precise, buying a spring scale with a sliding notchwill help a lot. Offshore fisherman here in California will use such a scale and set their drag to about 1/3 the rated breaking strength of the line.

Don’t want backlash? Shimano’s got your answerfor just $529!

It’s all in the Digital Braking technology!

I confess, I never understood why people still BOUGHT bait casting reels. The spinning reel seems like the logical solution for their various issues.

Spinning reels are heavier, have less power, are harder to cast accurately and give you a lot of line twist.

A bait casting reel is easier for accurate casts because your thumb is on the spool and can stop the bait as it is about to pass your target. Furthermore, the way they are designed, you can make more casts per hour with a bait casting reel. With a spinning reel, you have to commit your extra hand to disengaging then engaging the reel. With a bait caster, you disengage it with the hand that’s holding the rod, and it engage it by turning the handle.

The line twist is a very big issue too. Since a spinning reel has a fixed spool, your reel turns the line around it and this causes quite a bit of line twist. The thing is, bait casting reels might get backlashes in an inexperienced angler’s hands but the line twist issue on a spinning reel is impossible to avoid. An experienced angler can minimize it, but he will eventually have to deal with it.

Another contributor to line twists on spinning reels that doesn’t happen with a bait casting reel is when the angler tries to reel in line while a fish is pulling drag. This gives a lot of line twist but is easily avoidable with proper technique.

Bait casting reels are, therefore, the way to go for your all-around fishing needs. Since you need to overcome the bait casting reel’s spool’s mass to make a cast, it is very difficult to cast light baits without backlashing. Baits weighing in at under 1/4oz are better left for spinning reels. Wind is another situation where a spinning reel can be useful. If you’re casting against the wind, the wind will slow your bait down at a much faster rate than the spool and that will result in a backlash as well.

Any time a baitcasting reels spool is feeding line out faster than your bait is flying away from you, you backlash. It is the responsibility of your magnetic braking system and pressure from your thumb to control the spool speed and prevent those overruns.
And, you can still get an overrun with the DC reels. With that said, I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.

It would be helpful to know which reel you’re talking about.

What type of fishing are you interested in? Salmon, bass, panfish?

If’n I was you and just starting out, I would hire a guide. Tell them you don’t know a palomar knot from a double-loop clinch knot (Berkley Trilene Knot). They bring all the equipment you’ll need for the type of fishing you’ll do and they show you how to use it. They want you to catch fish because they know you won’t come back if you don’t.

A baitcaster is not the easiest reel to learn to use. I prefer spinning reels when casting for King Salmon and baitcasters when throwing large musky baits.

Thank you! That was very informative.

What are the actual negatives of line twist though?

The fishing line could weaken and break.

The line gets so twisted, it wraps around itself whenever there isn’t enough pressure to keep it straight. This usually happens during or right after a cast when you engage the spinning reel and take the first two or three turns of the handle.

Here’s a picture so you can get a visual. I’m bad with words :slight_smile:

When you get to that point, you have to start pulling out line until you can unravel the loop.

Eventually, it gets bad enough where the twisted loops are essentially knots and you can’t remove them and are forced to cut your line.

Twisted line can also wrap around the tip guide of your rod. If this happens when you’re fighting a fish, you can break your line or even your rod tip.
One tip for removing line twist from a spool of line if you’re on a boat is to cut whatever bait or lure you have on your line, then feed the line into the water until while slowly driving away with the boat. After you let out about half the spool’s line, you can stick your rod tip into the water and reel the line back in while keep pressure on it with your thumb and index finger. Moving the line through the water with nothing connected to the one end will unravel all that twist. Works like a charm but takes a few minutes!

Yep. A bit of line twist never bothered me.

One more thing I’ll add since I’m bored.

A spinning reel with instant anti-reverse will produce noticeably less issues with line twist than a cheaper one without it. The instant anti-reverse keeps the handle from spinning backwards. A cheap reel’s handle can spin backwards for an inch or two before the anti reverse kicks in. A reel with instant anti-reverse does this instantly. The slack you get from that inch of backplay results in a lot looser and uneven line lay on the spool and leaves it susceptible to twisting up.

This feature bumps the price of a spinning reel up to about $50 but is well worth it.

As the reels get more expensive (Daiwa just released a $700 range reel) you get better line management systems and more refinement but, like everything else, there’s quite a bit of diminishing returns.

Mostly I’m doing saltwater fishing in Southern California, so I’ll be mostly looking for sea bass, yellowtail, halibut, and dorado. I suppose that every now and then I’ll head inland for trout, but I don’t get much time for that.

I have a friend who’s going to be teaching me a whole lot of this stuff, so that should be exciting. I’m not particularly concerned about difficulty to learn. I’m a pretty fast learner.

Nice! I live in Southern California too!