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Prevent twists with spinning reels

By By Ben Norman
Outdoors Columnist
One of the best things that has happened to fishermen was the invention of the spinning reel. Modern spinning and spin-cast reels are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, even for young and first time spin fishermen.
While bait casting reels are notorious for back lashes (line tangling up on reel spool) and fly fishermen have to contend with wind knots getting in their leader, spin fisherman's number one enemy is line twist. Spinning gear by its very design is prone to line twisting. Even the monofilament line used in spin fishing lends itself to easy twisting. Monofilament line develops a condition called "memory". That is it develops a "set" to the spool that it is installed on.
The spinning reel bail that winds line on the spool creates a certain amount of twist. Although some twist is unavoidable due to design, proper spooling and changing line often will minimize the natural twisting tendency of spinning reels. Line twist can become severe if the reel handle is cranked while line is being pulled off the reel as often happens when a fish is on line. A properly set drag can minimize this problem, but if the reel is cranked as line is stripped, a severe twist can result. Wait for the fish to pause and lift the rod slowly, without reeling in line and then by reeling line as the rod is lowered.
Line twist can also happen when certain lures are used without a swivel or when fishing in a swift current such as when cat fishing below large reservoir dams. Most lures such as plugs, spinner baits and jigs do not rotate unless something is wrong with their action. However, some spinners and spoons tend to rotate on retrieve, creating line twist. Using a good quality snap swivel that will allow the lure to rotate naturally can reduce line twist resulting from lure action.
Even with proper line installation and using swivels, some line twisting is going to occur on your spinning reel. Fortunately, this inevitable twisting is relatively easy to correct. One of the best ways is to let the line out (without a weight attached) behind a motorboat; or allow the line to float downstream in a good current and reel in while maintaining a moderate pressure with your fingertips.
Severe line twisting problems can be prevented by watching your lure as you take it out of the water. If it spins, the line is beginning to twist. Allow the lure to spin out, then fix the lure action or attach a swivel. Another little used method of preventing line twist is to take the spool off and soak it in warm water to soften up the line.
Preventing line twist will give you more fishing time and save you the wrath of your little darling when Junior comes in and repeats the words you used when you got a "birdnest" on your spinning reel.