Spooling for Minimum Line Twist – Spinning Reels

Discussion in 'Tackle and Rigging' started by pametfisher, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    I’m loading up some spinning reel spools soon but had several hours on a flight today to think about how to minimize wind knots when I do.

    Spinning reels easily develop “wind knots”. As most everyone knows, these knots are caused by an accumulation of twists in the line, leading to the line literally tying itself up in knots at times like slack line at the beginning or end of a cast. If such a “wind knot” has to be cut out and the line is then tied back together, the line is permanently weakened, unless it is hollow core line and is spliced.

    The conventional causes of line twist: spinning bait or lures; reeling against the drag; a foul-hooked fish; etc., can be fixed by letting out line behind a moving boat or dropping the line in deep water with a weight, and letting the line untwist itself. Once the line is untwisted, it gets reeled back onto the spool, laying on the spool with one twist per revolution of the bail.

    For new spools there are two primary methods:

    Method 1: Machine winding, rotating spool to rotating spool against drag. This system does a neat job and can be used to put the desired pressure on the line. With this method, the first time you cast the line (say 80 yards) (or drop a jig), there are about 360 twists in the line that’s in the water—one twist per coil of line that’s come off the reel. If you keep tension on the line, nothing bad happens. But if the line goes slack and some of the twists “stay behind” between the reel and stripper guide, you can easily get a wind knot. Also, as you wind the line back onto the reel, some of the twists can stack up outside the tip guide, leading to the chance of a wind knot near the tackle. Both have happened to me.

    Method 2: Use the spinning reel to wind line onto itself from a rotating spool (Shimano’s recommended method, they nearly insist on it). This technique results in one line twist per revolution of the bail as line is loaded but it involves extra steps if you want to tension the line (or it can unless you have a line dispenser with a drag feature, or use another reel, etc.). The twists on the reel are in the opposite direction of the twists that occur from casting and as a result, when the line is cast (or a jig is dropped), it lays in the water with no twists (other than the ones that get in it from the causes in the second paragraph).

    Method 2 is best until you hook a fish that can pull line against the drag with the bail closed. The twists that are on the reel do not untwist as the line is pulled off and those twists end up in the line that is outboard of the tip guide. As you reel the line back in, a lot of extra twists get created. Some of those extra twists go onto the spool and some are in the last 10-20 feet. I don’t know the exact distribution. (Of course if you turn the reel handle, pointlessly, while the fish is pulling line against the drag, that makes the problem worse.) What I do know is those twists are lurking, waiting to turn into a “wind knot”. How many twists get created if you pull 200 yards off a Stella 20000 against the drag? About 1,000! If the fish (or multiple fish) were to make 2 or 3 runs, the twists keep adding up.

    Hybrid Method: For new spools, my plan is to use Method 1 but wind the last 80-100 yards onto the reel by using Method 2. This should result in minimal line twists, at least initially.

    Untwisting the Line after use: I’ve noticed, even if the reel is fully loaded by Method 1, if I can get through the first couple days of use, the line seems to sort itself out. But it doesn’t always work out that way. In my pre-Bluefin life, even big Striped Bass didn’t take all that much line, and my bass jigging reels are conventional so they don’t really have the twist problem. It is now my thought that I will untwist the top 100 yards of my big spinners periodically if I’ve had a lot of line pulled against the drag. From time to time, I will untwist all the line at least as far into the spool as a fish has taken me.

    One line twist per bail revolution is my new plan. Your mileage may vary.
     
  2. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

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    wind knots suck! i tend to overfill my spinners which result in windknots for me. once i cut it down i rarely get them. another problem ive noticed is when i use an albright knot and cast with the knot having to pass through the guides. the knot hits the guides and jumbles up with some line still coming off the spool.the last time i did that was in december. i am going back to casting with all mono out side of the rod.

    ive also noticed the harder i throw a lure the more prone i am to wind knots. just an obsevation that ive been seeing with myself, since i like to launch my baits as far as possible.
     

  3. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    pamet - i've spooled many spinners with braid and have no reported wind knots thus far. we spooled with a ton of pressure so perhaps that was the reason. your thoughts are always interesting.........but this time i hope i never prove you right :)
     
  4. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    pamet - i've spooled many spinners with braid and have no reported wind knots thus far. we spooled with a ton of pressure so perhaps that was the reason. your thoughts are always interesting.........but this time i hope i never prove you right :)

    Over time, the twists do seem to work their way out, as I mentioned. Which method do you use, machine wind spool to spool or do you use the reel to wind it on?

    In the past, I've gotten better results winding the line on myself but I wanted the first few hundred yards packed on.
     
  5. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    wind knots suck! i tend to overfill my spinners which result in windknots for me. once i cut it down i rarely get them. another problem ive noticed is when i use an albright knot and cast with the knot having to pass through the guides. the knot hits the guides and jumbles up with some line still coming off the spool.the last time i did that was in december. i am going back to casting with all mono out side of the rod.

    ive also noticed the harder i throw a lure the more prone i am to wind knots. just an obsevation that ive been seeing with myself, since i like to launch my baits as far as possible.

    I think if you pull the first hundred yards out, get it twist free, and then reel it on by hand, your wind knots will go away. The key is, one twist per revolution (in the right direction!) on the spool. If you wind a twist free line onto a spinning reel, it does the twisting for you. (For better or for worse.)
     
  6. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    old school tried and true method. get someone (generally my dad but have also gotten girls and i've done this with txcards for a couple reels) to hold the spool putting a dowel or screwdriver through it and apply proper pressure. normally its approx 15lbs of drag, give or take. then thread through a rod, tie to spool and reel. honestly i think conventionals are a bit tougher.
     
  7. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    old school tried and true method. get someone (generally my dad but have also gotten girls and i've done this with txcards for a couple reels) to hold the spool putting a dowel or screwdriver through it and apply proper pressure. normally its approx 15lbs of drag, give or take. then thread through a rod, tie to spool and reel. honestly i think conventionals are a bit tougher.

    Sounds like a great way to do it. You end up with a twist per turn on the spool. I think the thing to pay attention to is a spinning reel where the spool gets loaded up on a machine. Puts the line on nice but I believe the top 100 yards need to be reset.
     
  8. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    One point that may be lost in my long description, is that with a spinning reel,

    If you pull line off the reel and then wind it back on, every time you go through the pull-wind cycle, you add twists to the line.

    Jerry Brown's site mentions that you shouldn't reel while line is being pulled against the drag but that is not the whole problem.

    If you pull 200 yards of line against the drag once, you add about 1000 twists to a Stella 20K, more if the diameter of the reel is smaller. At first this is only one twist per 8 inches.

    If you do this 10 times (over the course of a trip), the twist spacing could get to 1 per inch (10,000 twists in 200 yards). I know this sounds extreme and yes some of the twists will come out naturally if you have a swivel in the leader.

    If you don't believe this, try pulling 5 yards off against the drag with the bail closed and winding it back on, ten times.

    Also if you make a 40 turn Bimini Twist, 15 twists stay under the top wraps, there are 25 top wraps and you get 25 twists in the last 10' of line.
     
  9. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    Here is a picture perfect example of what I'm writing about. And what can happen.

    Line Twisting
     
  10. Pametfisher,
    Could you please clarify a "rotating" spool? I have a stella that was just spooled on a machine. Should I pull off the top 100 or so yards and wind it back on applying tension to the line by pinching it above the reel?
    Thank you,
    Al
     
  11. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    Pametfisher,
    Could you please clarify a "rotating" spool? I have a stella that was just spooled on a machine. Should I pull off the top 100 or so yards and wind it back on applying tension to the line by pinching it above the reel?
    Thank you,
    Al

    Al, Yes, all machines I know load the line by rotating the spools around their center axis that's what I meant by rotating spool.

    The key is to NOT open the bail and pull the line off, that will put twist into the line that you don't want. Either:

    1. With the bail closed and the drag at zero, pull the 100 yards off to another spool (or across a field). or ...

    2. Unload 100 yards rotating spool to rotating spool.

    3. With spool on reel, close bail, set drag tight, pinch line near stripper guide (gloves?) and use the reel to load line onto spool.

    Now when you cast, the line will have one twist per turn around the spool which will be canceled when the line is cast out. It will not have twists.

    If you tie a Bimini in the end of the line, it will add some twists when you spin the top layer on the knot, take these out after you make a Bimini. Also, if you pull line off against the drag (like a fish running) it will add twists, 8 or 10 cycles of pulling line off and reeling it back on will lead to twists that you want to remove.

    By the way, I just had a Stella spool loaded and will have to do the above.
     
  12. Grescobia

    Grescobia Senior Member

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    Do you recommend trailing line off the back of the boat and reeling the line back on the reel after trip? (100 yards or so)
     
  13. alimufti

    alimufti Member

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    Ive had terrible issues with wind knots, and have observed the following:
    - issues only happen with braid, rarely or never with mono. Sucks, cause other than for trolling all my casting, jigging, popping, bottom fishing and everything else is with braid line.
    - Older model spinning reels i.e shimano aerocast 4010, and shimano speedmaster 4, seem to spool line through the bail unevenly. I always seem to get more line on the higher part of a spinning reel (near the front drag) and less at the back end of the reel. WHY???
    - this does not happen with a shimano sonora on which I have 300 yards of 10lb spiderwire. Have reeled against drag, casted all nite, landed mangrove jacks that ran into snags, and still no wind knots.
    - I spool line onto my reels from another reel (usually a multiplier) so that I have alot of tension. This still does not help.

    Till now I am running with the assumption that these older reels, before the widespread use of superbraid, are just not that efficient with these new lines? Or else I am clearly doing sumthing wrong.
     
  14. DenisB

    DenisB Senior Member

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    spinners not designed for braid tend to fill with a gap at both the front & back of the spool as a result of the thinner braid diameter on the bail .
    spools that fill preferentially to either the front or back of the spool are inadequately spaced behind the spool .
    You can rectify the fill on both of your reels that are filling at the front of the spool by taking the spool off & adding a thin washer on the shaft
    ( usually behind the washer already there.........not on the spool side of the existing washer).

    Many spinners are supplied in the box with a washer or 2 to achieve this.

    Not every spool is EXACTLY the same as they are not all made on the same machine............which is why the manufacturer supplies spacing washers to align the spool when necessary.

    Spool spacing washers can be obtained from the reel distributor if you don't have them yourself.............they are only thin shims as a small spacing adjustment has quite a significant effect on the line fill .
     
  15. alimufti

    alimufti Member

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    I sent my reels to singapore and had them spooled by machine. they have returned perfectly even and I cant wait to get offshore with them. Also got me a Sahara 4000 with 20lb braid. The sahara does not look like it will give be this problem. Cant wait to get out and rip a metal spoon across the surface for longtail, narrow barred mackerel and trevally. Matched to a 7ft medium heavy rod I might even try some light popping with it.
     
  16. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    I sent my reels to singapore and had them spooled by machine. they have returned perfectly even and I cant wait to get offshore with them. Also got me a Sahara 4000 with 20lb braid. The sahara does not look like it will give be this problem. Cant wait to get out and rip a metal spoon across the surface for longtail, narrow barred mackerel and trevally. Matched to a 7ft medium heavy rod I might even try some light popping with it.

    Machine filled spools, unless filled with a method that produces one reverse twist per revolution, are HIGHLY LIKELY to produce wind (twist) knots the first few days you use them.

    Basil at BHP Tackle in NJ uses the Streamline Method to machine load spools so that they don't have this problem but it is a proprietary process.

    Have a look back at the beginning of this thread here and use one of the methods to get the correct twist in the top 100 yards. You will be very glad you did.

    PF
     
  17. DenisB

    DenisB Senior Member

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    You describe the mechanics of twist perfectly Roger.
    The advantage of machine spooling is high tension with filling ease and tight packing as there is minimal amplitude to the spiraling as the line is guided on, so maximum line length is achieved.
    The downside is that there is no twist in the line on the spool as filled but twist when the line is in the water.

    The images I posted of my line filling jig shows a spinner being filled as per "Bret" style by cranking the handle ............the line is twisted as stored on the spool , but twist free in the water.
    The downsides are that there is a little loss in max line capacity due to the amplitude of the spiral produced by the bail rotation and spool oscillation .
    and mostly the physical effort required to crank the handle.

    A little twist causes no trouble the twist becomes a problem when it has built up to the point where the braid has twisted & packed all the fibres to their maximum density where there is no "elasticity" ( for want of a better word) in the ability of the braid to accept any more twist & the braid becomes more rigid ( stiff) ............the braid then expels excessive twist by throwing loops around itself..........as soon as it has some slack & loss of tension to "trap" the twist in the braid wrapped on the spool.........as that twist is held there by the tension in the line.
    Every twine/rope has this issue with twist. Softer materials absorb more twist before it becomes a problem ,stiffer materials absorb less twist before they try to expel it when they are not under tension.
    For any angler with reasonable skills the primary cause of stored twist is line lost under drag recovered via bail rotation winding it back on & losing it under drag again repeatedly.
    A single long give & take fight with a large fish rarely generates enough twist for the braid to reach the point where it 'expels' excessive twist in the cast.
    It typically takes a few such fights to generate enough twist .
    The practical issue is line maintenance after a couple of long hasrd fights to de-twist the line on the spool that has been out in the fight.
    I use braid on some of my Alvey reels they create twist in every cast & wind line back on the spool like a centrepin reel..............every single cast creates more twist. I make more casts in a day than you will ever have a fish pull a section of line in & out in a fight.
    I can fish 3-4-5 days before I have to dewist my line to avoid 'wind knots'.
    I detwist my braid using a cup hook in a portable drill after running out the line length used in the street or local park...........its actually easy to see the lay of the braid when it is straight again.
    I am pretty sure I deal with more twist than any spinner enounters.
    On my spinners I prefer to fill the spool under tension by winding the handle .
    I built my line filling jig to do just that.........not because I couldn't build a mechanical spooling rig, but because I wanted to end up with no twist in the line when it comes off the spool as a starting point for my line fill.
    IF I was going to mechanise the system I would mechanise the handle winding not just spin the spool in a separate drive.

    Having said all of that .............its quite a good compromise to simply run 100yds off a mechanically filled spool & wind it back on under tension by cranking the handle .
    From a realistic practical perspective the amount of additional twist the line can absorb before starting to the throw 'wind knots' is little influenced by how the spool was filled .
    The important bit is doing line maintenance on at least the length of a cast after a day of major fights with large fish before your next outing...........as its typically when you don't make that effort that twist builds up to problem levels.
    a spinner induces 1 twist per 200mm or so..........in my experience ( it may be brand influenced ), IF I had to put a figure on it, it takes at least 1 twist per less than 20mm to throw any significant wind knots...........and I have seen my Alvey's with at least 1 twist per 4-5mm still casting well.
    Lastly , new fills of coated braid will experience twist issues before uncoated braid does ( its the stiffness of new coated braid thats the issue)...........when it softens from being used a bit it will handle more twist before giving trouble.

    take it from there guys...........thats my experience with twist.
    nobody particularly wants it.............but we all live with it.
    The trick is simple regular line maintenance along with mechanical reel maintenance ..........to keep everything ticking along trouble free.
     
  18. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    DenisB, Good stuff.

    What I've seen is that the first few casts of a machine loaded spool can be deadly. All the twists end up laying out in the water except for a few dozen that seem to hide behind the stripper guide. Then you close the bail and boom, instant wind knot. Or you reel in the lure, and not all the twists outside make it back onto the reel (or lurk between tip and swivel) and again boom tip wind knot.

    I have developed a machine loading protocol for Basil at BHP tackle that delivers the tight loading of the machine with a one reverse twist per turn for the top 100 yards. The best of both worlds for a fresh spool.
     
  19. Courtland

    Courtland Site Sponsor

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    You can see the twists on the outside of the spool at the end of the day. I peel off the twisted line with the bail open and put the end in the chuck of my cordless and pull it tight. Then one of my kids can sit there and hold the trigger for a minute or two till it unwinds. I find overfilling the spool to be the biggest culprit for wind knots, for me.