What Causes Line Twist & How to Prevent It

Posted by nick under Line, Tips and Tricks

Line twist is can be caused by several things. Two things that will create line twist, no matter how well you cast are:

If your line is loaded correctly and your outfit is properly balanced then look to the following line twist culprits:


Swivel Problems

  • Swivel Too Big
    Your swivel wire diameter should be about the same as main line on the the reel. If the swivel is too big for your main line, then the line cannot produce enough torque to turn it.
  • Cheap Swivel
    Use a high quality ball-bearing swivel – some cheap swivels just don’t swivel smoothly or at all.
  • Using Swivel as a Stopper
    A common mistake is to use and oversized swivel as a stopper. You would do better to use the correct sized swivel and a glass or plastic bead between the main line and the swivel to keep your sinker from moving up the line.

Retrieve Problems

  • Retrieve to Fast
    If you are using a spoon or a spinner, remember that they are designed to wobble from side to side to varying degrees. They should not be spinning widely. If you retrieve these too fast, the rotation of the lure will be too much for the swivel to cope. It only takes a few of these casts to quickly twist your line deep into your reel. Test the retrieval speed before you start fishing. If you are trolling on a boat, run your lures next the boat so you can see how the lure react to your speed. If you are on the bank, retrieve horizontally to the bank a few times and watch the lure until you figure out how to elicit the right action.
  • Snagged Debris
    Check your lure for debris after every cast – Weeds, bark or other debris caught on your lure will cause your lure to stop running properly and start to spin widely. If you pay close attention to the feel of your retrieve and watch the rod tip carefully, you can usually tell when something has interfered with the lure. Remove it immediately.

Bad Technique

  • Turning the Reel When a Fish is Running
    You must never reel in against the drag when a fish is taking out line. If you turn that handle when a fish is taking line out you can expect to put 4 to 6 twists in the line per turn before the fish breaks off (and it will break off.)
  • Engaging the Bail Automatically
    Always use your hand to close the bail. When you are ready to retrieve use the index finger of the line holding the rod to capture the line between your finger and the rod. Then use your free hand to manually close the bail and turn the handle until the line gets on the bail roller. Now you’re ready to retrieve. Do not use the handle to engage the bail. This usually reduces line twist significantly.

If you find this helpful, leave a comment and let me know.

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9 Responses to “What Causes Line Twist & How to Prevent It”

  1. Jim Jones Says:

    I am a beginner. Clear as a bell and very helpful.


  2. Fluke and line twist. Says:

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  3. Davethewave Says:

    With a fixed spool reel every turn of the handle puts twist into the line as it is constantly being turned through 90 degrees as the bale arm rotates. Bale arm rollers may help a little but won’t solve the problem. That twist does not disappear when cast out and is added to again when you reel in. There are other factors which exacerbate the problem such as playing a fish off the clutch, rotating lures, baitrunner facilities etc.
    Nor sure about the advice given on loading reels as the diameter of line on the line spool and the reel spool is different and is constantly changing. You automatically put twist in line when loading a fixed spool reel – there is no way around it. If you don’t believe me then try loading a flat profile braid and you will see it clearly. Remember those kids toys called “Slinky’s” – coils which walked down stairs – stretch one of them out to see line twist up close.
    Line twist causes greater issues the stiffer the line is – ie Flurocarbon causes more issues than braid although the actual amount of twist remains the same.
    Get a Gardner spin doctor to temporarily eradicate twist – that is the best you can do. These gizmos deliberately impart twist in the opposite direction to the bale arm. However, as soon as you cast and wind in again the twist will start to build up again.
    No way around it with fixed spool reels.

  4. Mark kendra Says:

    Line twist is generated on the cast. Check out the Straightcast reel on YouTube or go to http://www.kendragear.com

  5. JayZs Says:

    Davethewave writes the most common sense here.The original article contains misleading information. As Dave says ANY use of the clutch will impart line twist, one twist per rotation of the spool. Bait runners similarly add twist in exactly the same way. Reeling backwards when playing a fish is a way to go. Line is loaded onto a spool by the manufacturer without any twist. If the diameter of that and the reel spool are the same, and you load the right way, then there will no twist in the line on your reel. But that is NOT what you want: you want no twist when the line is cast out, which means feeding line onto the reel of the spool by allowing that spool to rotate on say a pencil. So the line twist that is built up as you load the reel, is then removed on the cast Mark K. the difficult twist is not getting any twist whilst fishing, rotating baits and end tackle etc.

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  8. Dennis Says:

    Can line twist be limited by crank engaging the bail as lure hits the water as to keeping line taught?

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