Wind knots are a common problem with spinning reels, which frustrates all level anglers.
Simply put, a wind knot refers to a jumbled mess (tangle) in the fishing line that prevents you from casting and retrieving effectively.
It usually happens when you have a line twist and when the line passing through the tip of the rod is slower than the line coming off the spool.
On a fishing day, a knot can take a lot of time to untangle. Moreover, you may have cut off a lot of lines, causing line wastage.
A wind knot on a spinning reel is the same as the backlash on a baitcasting reel.
In this article, we will take a look at how to prevent wind knots and the easiest way to remove them once you get one.
But first, let's talk about what causes a braided line to tangle in a spinning reel.
Wind knots can form due to several reasons, but the most common are:
- Your spinning tackle
- Cranking to close the bail
- Loose coils on the spool
- Casting into the wind and too hard
- Over spooling and uneven line lay
- Line twist
However, 99% of the time, the issue is caused by the angler.
A wind knot is not 100% avoidable but lessened. The following tips will help you prevent wind knots, allowing you to enjoy more time fishing.
Note: Wind knots can form on any type of fishing line, but they are difficult to remove in braid line.
How to Prevent Wind Knots in Braided Line? (7 Tips)
A wind knot is a common problem with spinning tackles, and braided lines are more prone to line tangles compared to monofilament and fluorocarbon.
However, with the following line tangle prevention tips, you will be able to minimize it, ensuring more time fishing rather than untangling your line.
1. Invest in a quality spinning tackle
Your spinning tackle is usually where line tangle starts.
When you cast a spinning reel, the weight of the lure or bait pulls the line out of the spool to its destination. A good quality spinning reel comes with a perfectly shaped spool lip that provides friction to feed out the line at a controlled rate. Thus, preventing any chance of line tangle.
Your spinning rod, on the other hand, also plays a crucial role in preventing wind knots. The guides on the rod can obstruct the smooth flow of the line. Quality rods come with a specialized rod guide, which helps the line to pass through smoothly, shedding any chance of a tangle.
The quality of your fishing line plays an important role. A quality fishing line (braid and mono) is designed to be abrasion resistance, has superior strength, and can cast longer distances. Its uniform shape minimizes friction when passing through rod guides, thus reducing the chance of wind knots.
The last part of your spinning tackle is the lure you opted to use. If you make the wrong type of lure a part of your spinning tackle, it will create problems like a line twist. Lures like an inline spinner, soft plastic baits, a spoon, etc can start spinning as you retrieve the line, resulting in line tangles.
Now you have a quality spinning outfit, but keep in mind, this alone cannot prevent wind knots.
2. Check to see if you have a line twist
The line twist is a big reason why your fishing line might be tangling, and trust me, it will catch you off guard.
A fishing line can twist on spinning gear for a multitude of reasons. Generally, line twist occurs due to incorrect spooling of the line (monofilament) and trolling/retrieving a lure that spins in the water.
This twisted line is a ticking time bomb waiting for a little bit of slag in your line to tangle itself up. There are several methods to untwist a fishing line, but the one we will talk about is the easiest and quickest.
With your spinning rod setup and the mainline passed through the rod guides. Place it on the ground in a safe place with the bail of your reel open and no lure/bait attached.
Now, walk away from the rod holding the line until you have pulled off almost half of your line out of the spool. Leave the line on the ground and come back to the rod.
Hold your rod upright and putting little resistance on the line with your other hand, start spooling the line. This way any twists in your line will be removed, and you will be one step ahead in preventing wind knots.
3. Close the bail with your hand after a cast
I have seen many anglers, especially beginners, who crank the handle after a cast to close the bail. It is a bad idea.
Cranking to close the bail damages the bail system and helps initiate the knot formation. This is especially important for anglers switching from mono to braid.
When you turn the handle to close the bail arm, you are letting a few loose loops on the spool. Additionally, as the lure lands on the water, you are left with a few feet of the slackline.
Instead, make it a habit to place one hand to slow/stop the line as soon as the lure/bait hits the water. Flip the bail wire closed manually, pull out a foot of line with the drag engaged, making the loop tight on the spool, and start the line retrieve.
Closing the bail with your hand will not only prevent wind knots but keep your spinning reel in top shape.
4. Keep adequate tension when spooling or retrieving
A fishing line that is spooled too tight or loose can pose a lot of problems, from casting inefficiency to wind knots.
When you cast, the loose loops of the braid will come off quickly compared to the tighter coils around it. This will result in the line overlapping and tangling itself.
On the other hand, having monofilament and fluorocarbon spooled loosely will result in the line springing off the spool and creating a bird's nest. This happens due to line memory.
Spooling braid too tight will result in the line digging into the already spooled line on the spool. This can cause casting difficulties and may result in the line to tangle up.
On the other hand, mono and fluoro lines should be spooled tighter than braid to prevent it from jumping off the spool.
To prevent the problem, make sure you have the right type and size line for your spinning reel. Use adequate tension on the line so that the line tension on the spool is balanced (not too tight or loose).
To maintain the right line tension while spooling, pass the line through a wet cloth or a phone book.
Note: Don't run the line between your dry fingers, as this will result in your finger cut or burn due to friction.
If there are a lot of slack lines when retrieving, make sure to use a finger or point the rod tip up to reduce slack and maintain the line tension.
5. Avoid the following when casting
There are a few aspects of casting we need to talk about that could result in your line tangling if you don't follow them.
To begin with, casting into the wind is one of the most common reasons for line tangle in the braid. Thus the name Wink Knot.
When you cast into the wind, your lure and the line behind it lose speed rapidly. However, the line peeling off the spool is still accelerating. This causes line collision, which results in a backlash.
On a windy day, position yourself in a way so that the wind blows from behind you. This will help you avoid unnecessary line tangles and increase casting distance with minimum effort.
Additionally, try casting low close to the water surface if casting with the wind isn't an option.
Secondly, casting using brute force to reach great distances. A common misconception among most beginner anglers. Even I have suffered from this problem for years.
When you cast hard, the line near the reel travels faster than the line at the tip of the rod. This inconsistency in the line speed causes the line to overlap and tangle.
Therefore, keep in mind, casting is about technique, not how hard you can swing the rod.
Another issue that can quickly escalate to form a wind knot from the very first cast is the knot that connects your leader to the mainline.
When the knot bumps a guide on your spinning rod, it slows down the line in front of it. However, the line behind the knot is still traveling at its desirable speed.
The fast-moving line peeling off the spool catches up to the slower line ahead and creates a jumbled mess of line tangle.
To avoid this, make the leader only as long as you need it. This prevents the connecting knot from passing the first guide to casting comfortably.
Additionally, you can use an FG knot that has a smaller footprint. However, use an Albright knot if you fish from a kayak as it is easy to tie in such a confined space, where FG knots are tough to tie.
6. Keep an eye on the line on your spool
Having a reel over spooled with braid is a silly mistake most beginners make. Keep in mind, you don't have to cast miles deep into the water.
When you fill-up the spool past the lip, the coil will simply fall off the spool and make Hakka Noodles on the very first cast. This may force you to cut off yards of your expensive fishing line.
To prevent this, be sure to spool the line up to the line capacity mark (usually marked on the reel).
A simple trick to check if you have too much line spooled is to look from behind the reel to see the spool lip. If the lip is visible, you are good, else you know what.
Another problem with the spooling reel is the uneven line lay on the spool.
After a fresh spool of line or long retrieve, check if the line is evenly laid on the spool. If it is, you are good.
However, if the line is more on one part and less on the other, your line will not feed out evenly. Thus resulting in a wind knot.
The uneven line lay on the spool can be easily solved by adjusting the washers on the shaft the spool is sitting on.
A simple trick to check if you have an even line lay is to hold the rod vertically in front of you and check to see if both sides of the spool look parallel.
7. Use line lubrication to prevent wind knots
As a final tip to prevent your fishing line tangles is to use a quality line lubricant.
A good quality fishing line lubricant like the Magic Aerosol is designed to reduce line friction and memory, reducing tangles and other line related problems. It also makes removing wind knots easy when they happen.
Apply the lubricant on a freshly spooled line and before every fishing trip. The older your fishing line gets, the more mandatory the line lubrication becomes.
How to remove wind knots from Braided Line?
The wind knot prevention tips we discussed on the post can help you minimize the problem. But, line tangles are not 100% avoidable.
Let's discuss how to remove a wind knot easily when you tangle your line up.
The easiest way to remove a knot is to cut the line off where the tangle started. This is the easiest method but a substantial waste of your precious fishing line.
Here is what I like to do (and suggest you do) when I finally end up getting tangled.
With the bail arm in the closed position and minimum drag applied, pull off the line with one hand until you have reached the knot or the loose coils. If the knot is too tight and doesn't untangle with little force, make the knot wet and pull slowly.
The line will get untangled.
After the loop is removed, re-spool the reel while holding the line with one hand to avoid loose coils.
Wind knots are very frustrating and will happen with spinning tackle no matter your experience level. However, you can prevent wind knots by following the tips we discussed above.
No preventive measures can entirely remove wind knots from the equation but can minimize it from happening. Allowing you to spend more time fishing and less untangling your fishing line.