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A fishing line twist is an angler’s nightmare causing problems that take up time and energy you were supposed to spend reeling trophies.
A twisted fishing line has a detrimental effect on your casting distance and accuracy. It can change your lure’s behavior, spooking your fish away.
Additionally, the most feared problem associated with fishing line twist is wind knots or backlash.
Untwisting your fishing line is a temporary solution that doesn’t correct what is causing the problem.
Line twists are preventable, and it’s pretty easy to do.
Using these tips will help prevent line twists and ensure you spend more time fishing, less untangling lines.
What Causes a Fishing Line to Twist?
I often hear beginner anglers blaming the line itself for twisting.
However, the line doesn’t twist by itself.
Most of the time, it is the fault of the angler that causes the line to twist.
Your fishing line can twist for a wide variety of reasons, but let’s look at the most common causes.
- Improper spooling of a spinning reel
- Using a wrong swivel
- Your lure is spinning in the water
- Wrong gear handling technique
Whatever may be your reason, the following tips will help you prevent fishing line twists irrespective of the type of fishing reel and line you use.
How to Prevent Fishing Line Twists?
Now you’re aware of the common reasons your fishing line is twisting.
It’s time to look at how to prevent line twists.
But, before that, we need to know how to identify a line twist.
A fishing line twists when it can rotate around its axis. The more line out of your reel when this happens, the deeper the twist will reach in your reel.
Here is a simple trick to identify a line twist.
Pull out some line from between the reel and the first guide of your rod.
Let it hang freely.
If it creates a curling loop around itself, you have a line that is twisted.
However, let’s look at ways to prevent fishing line twists.
Spool Line Correctly on your Spinning Reel
A line twist isn’t as pronounced on a baitcasting reel as it is on spinning reels.
An open-faced reel is more prone to line twists because of the spool’s orientation with the spinning rod and how the line is wound on the spool.
The aim here is to spool your new line keeping the natural curvature of the line that it gained while sitting wounded in the line spool. This is especially important for monofilament and fluorocarbon lines, as they tend to have line memory.
To begin, take the loose end of the line and pass it through the first guide from the reel. Keep the bail arm in the open position before you tie the line on the spool (very critical).
Now, with a simple Arbor Knot secure the line on the spool. Keep in mind, if your reel doesn’t come with a slip-resistant spool, you’ll need a monofilament backing before spooling braid.
Place the line spool on a flat surface in an orientation that the line coming off the line spool peels off in the same direction it’s spooling in the reel.
i.e. clockwise direction.
Now, with a wet piece of cloth with water, hold the line between the first guide and reel. This will ensure your line is wounded tightly on the reels spool. It will also straighten the line if you’re spooling monofilament or fluorocarbon.
Continue to spool the line until you have reached the line capacity ring or about 1/8 inch shy of the lip.
Likewise, you can spray a Line Conditioner to wet the cloth instead of water. A good line conditioner helps remove chalk of the line, removes line memory, and lubricates the line for better casting distance.
With that, you should have a perfectly spooled spinning reel without any line twist.
However, this is a pretty tedious process. There is a hassle-free process that is the easiest for beginners or lazy ones like myself.
Get the tackle shop to do it for you, or you can do what I did, get a Fishing Line Spooler Machine. It’s a lifesaver that helps you spool your fishing reels (both spinning and baitcaster) with your eyes closed. Most importantly, it’s very affordable.
Here you’ll find a detailed guide on how to spool a spinning reel with both braid and mono.
Use a Swivel to Prevent Line Twist
A fishing swivel can do a magnificent job at both eliminating and preventing line twist.
A fishing swivel is a metallic device with two rings connected to a pivoting joint. To attach the swivel, tie one end of your swivel to the mainline and the other with the leader. A simple Clinch knot will do the trick.
The purpose of a fishing swivel is to allow your fishing line to untwist or prevent a twist from working its way up the mainline.
However, if the swivel you choose to use doesn’t match your mainline or is of inferior quality, it will do more harm than good.
To avoid this, make sure the diameter of the wire of your swivel matches the diameter of your mainline. Both an oversized and undersized swivel can cause your swivel to function incorrectly.
Moreover, use quality swivels as cheaper quality swivels don’t function smoothly or get stuck altogether, allowing the line twist to work its way up the mainline.
Additionally, a common mistake newbies make is to use a large swivel as a stopper to prevent the sinker from jamming the swivel or moving down the line. Instead, use the correct size swivel and a plastic bead on the mainline between your swivel and sinker to prevent issues.
Keep the Lure from Spinning in the Water to Minimize Line Twist
If your fishing lure is spinning in the water, you’ll have a line twist that goes deep inside your reel in no time.
An artificial fishing lure is designed to move in a specific way at a designated speed. Some are designed to spin, others to wobble and dance.
No matter the type of lure, here are a few reasons your lure is spinning:
- Higher retrieval speed
- High trolling speed
- Baiting the lure
- Attached debris on the lure
As a beginner, it’s fun to crank your reel with all your might when retrieving. Add a reel with a high gear ratio, and your lure is moving like an Olympic swimmer.
As the speed increases, your lure starts to behave unnaturally. This unnatural lure behavior not only scares the fish away but also makes your lure spin.
This results in an awful line twist that reaches deep in your reel within a few casts.
The same is true when you’re trolling at a higher speed.
Your lure may also start spinning if it goes off balance due to added weight put on by baiting and debris attaching to it.
Apart from the causes, preventing your lure from spinning and ultimately twisting your line is easy. Just use a swivel to counter the spin, and you’re all good to go.
But, if the lure is spinning too fast, it will be difficult for your swivel to cope. On the other hand, a lure spinning in a wide arc will make the swivels completely ineffective.
To prevent this, put all your lures through a speed test, both by retrieving and trolling. This will indicate the maximum speed you can move a specific lure through the water.
Similarly, check your lure after every cast to prevent it from collecting debris. Keep an eye on your rod tip, check for unusual feels when retrieving.
Immediately remove anything other than a fish that got caught up on the lure.
Improve your Gear Handling Technique to Reduce Line Twist
As you know, a line twist is more pronounced in a spinning reel compared to a baitcasting reel. Paying attention to these small details can drastically minimize the chances of a line twist.
I have seen many beginners making beautiful cast yards into the water, and as the lure hits the water, they start reeling.
If you do the same, you have just added a line twist.
As you crank your reel handle to close the bail arm, the roller bearing doesn’t catch the line in the first turn of the handle. Moreover, if you use a reel with a high gear ratio, a single turn of the handle rotates the bail multiple times before winding the line on the spool.
As a result, you’re adding multiple twists on the line on every cast and turn of the handle.
This is a habit you need to get rid of ASAP to prevent line twist and to keep your bail arm safe.
Now let’s talk about the second problem.
Avoid cranking your reel when the fish is taking line off the reel. Let it fight your reels drag system and wait for it to slow down.
Never reel in your line when your drag is screaming.
When you reel against an eloping fish, you’re putting twists in your line with every turn of the handle.
Instead, engage the baitrunner and back-reel to allow the fish to take the line. As the fish slows down, start your retrieval.
A line twist is a by-product of a spinning reel, and there is no full-proof way to avoid it. It will come sooner or later.
However, the tips we discussed in this post will help you cut down its occurrence.
But don’t panic if you get a line twist for some reason. As getting rid of the line twist is very simple.
Let me show you.
How to Untwist a Fishing Line?
There are many ways anglers use to untwist a fishing line when it happens. But here we’ll talk about the easiest and the most effective way to remove line twist.
You can very easily remove line twists at home before you head out to the water. Select a place in front of your house or the garden and keep your spinning tackle on the ground.
With the bail arm open and your lure removed, hold the line and walk away from the rod tip as far as possible. Leave the line where you stopped and come back to your rod. Now, hold the line with a wet towel just above the reel and start spooling it, maintaining tension on the line.
Repeat it a few times, and your line twist will vanish in thin air.
This method also works for surf fishing, bank fishing, etc.
Now you may ask, what if I have to untwist my line on the water?
Well, it’s very simple if you’re fishing from a boat or kayak. First of all, remove all terminal tackles off the line. With the bail-in open position, feed the line behind your boat or kayak. Keep the speed to about 5 mph.
As you let loose line drag in the water, the water will remove all/any twist that is present.
On the other hand, on a river, stand in the current. Feed the line out in the direction of the current. The force from the water current will untwist your line.
A fishing line twist is an unavoidable problem that is associated with spinning tackles. They are caused due to a lack of attention to minor details.
However, with the above-discussed methods, you can effortlessly reduce the frequency of its occurrence and enjoy your time on the water. After all, it’s better to prevent fishing line twists than to sit on the water and untwist it.