Backlashes – Birds Nest – &%#$@

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Backlashes – Birds Nest – &%#$@

An angler’s worst nightmare that often shows up at the worst possible time!

Ever wondered why your fishing reels get backlashes. I thought for years…if you fish… you get them and it was something anglers just lived with. However once you understand the theory behind this hair pulling little aggravation it’s really pretty simple to eliminate.

Bait casters are probably the worse… especially older models. The whole thing starts during a cast when the spool over runs the line. In other words when casting the lures weight plus forward motion causes the spool to spin. As line is pulled off the spool it overcomes its stationary position and natural inertia and begins accelerating. As the lure or bait slows or lands in the water the spool continues spinning at this accelerated speed. Therefore, some type of control is needed is needed to first slow… then stop the spool. If control is not exercised at this point the line continues unraveling causing loops and twist and there it is… a backlash.

The control needed to overcome the spinning spool can be anything from your thumb on older model reels to the latest technology which involves integrated braking systems or adjustable mechanical devices that enable the user to set and control spool speed in relation to lure weight. Some even go so far as manufacturing reels with miniature computer boards that automatically control the spool.

This new technology doesn’t mean reels do it do everything for you. Even with the new controls compensating for spool speed it’s still a mechanical device requiring human input. A good starting point when adjusting bait casters is to begin with a completely rigged rod, reel and the lure you’ll be casting.

Here is the basic setup for spool adjustment:

1. Gently tighten the adjustment control until the spool does not turn when the release is pushed.

2. Hold the lure off the ground at about 45 degrees loosen the adjustment control until the lure starts dropping.

3. Finally, adjust the control to stop the spool as the lure hits the ground.

While this is a good starting point every angler has their own preference depending on their experience. These adjustments aid in preventing backlashes but remember… nothing works like practice.

Spinning tackle is relatively easier. However backlashes do occur, especially using the newer braided lines. Not the over-running spool scenario we’re accustomed on bait casters it’s more a series of twist and loops associated with “loose wraps” on the spool. Avoiding this especially when using braid is fairly straightforward:

Following these few steps should help:

1. When making your cast… stop the line just as the bait hits the water.

2. An easy way to do this is placing you index finger on the spool.

3. Close the bail manually making certain the lines in the line roller.

4. Finally, always lift the rod to take up any slack before starting to reel.

Using these suggestions should improve your anti-backlash ratio. However, sooner or later you’re going to encounter that dreaded backlash or birds nest as often referred too. To get them out, start by gently pulling on the loops. You’re looking for that specific one that caused this disaster. Continue lightly pulling and untwisting the loops, you’ll soon begin separating and untangling the line. It takes patience but given the cost of braided line a little patience is worth it. Your worse case scenario means cutting the line. However, a simple double Uni-knot gets you back fishing in no time.

Accurate casting using either a bait caster or spinning tackle comes with practice and no one likes to do it. However becoming proficient and consistently placing a lure or bait in an area the size of a basketball takes some effort and doesn’t happen overnight.

Well that’s about it for backlashes hopefully this gives some insight into what causes them and what you can do to correct them.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com