I’ve been thinking about something lately. It’s not the biggest thing in the world but it is important, and it comes up often enough that I think we should talk about it. Too many anglers don’t put enough line on their reels and they don’t spool them correctly. I see it often in the little bit of guiding I do these days. That tells me it’s pretty common.
The reasons anglers do that vary but two of the most common are that they think they’ll get backlashes if their baitcasting reels have too much line on them and they do it to save money. Both of these problems can be easily solved.
To begin with it’s important to fill your reels full. Casting reels should be between an eighth of an inch from the top and all the way to the top. If you get too much line on them, you’ll get a weird sound when you cast. Spinning reels should be all the way full, right to the top. If you get too much line on them, the line will jump off the spool in coils.
You can stop backlashes with baitcasters by adjusting your reels properly. Start with the Spool Tension Knob. This controls how easily your spool will rotate. The rule of thumb is to tighten it just enough so that your lure drops slowly when you release the Thumb Bar. Once you’ve done that adjust the Brakes. That’ll keep the spool from overrunning.
Make your adjustments a little tight if you’re a novice or new to baitcasting tackle. As you gain experience you can loosen them up. You want to get as much distance and accuracy with as little effort as possible. At the same time, though, you don’t want to waste valuable fishing time picking out backlashes.
A spinning reel is even easier to fix. Fill it full like I just said and you’ll be able to cast it easily without the line getting all twisted up into knots that’ll make your next cast impossible. There’s nothing difficult about it.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of having a full spool. Neither a casting or a spinning reel will make a long cast if it doesn’t have enough line on it. If you can’t make long and accurate casts you’ll clearly be at a disadvantage against the fish and other anglers.
The money issue is even easier to solve than the backlash issue. I put monofilament or fluorocarbon backing — old line — on my reels before I spool the braid. I do this on both my casting and spinning reels. It keeps the braid from slipping and cutting into itself so much and it saves expensive line. We all know that good braid like the Seaguar I use isn’t cheap. It’s worth the cost, for sure. But there’s no reason to spend more on it than necessary.
This whole topic fits in nicely with another column I wrote about the importance of precise lure placement. In fact, that’s what got me started thinking about it in the first place and why I think it’s so important. There are a lot of variables in bass fishing. Reel performance shouldn’t be one of them.