|Spinning Line Twist: EXPLAINED|
Use a spinning reel enough, and eventually your line will look like an old phone cord. If you just said “What’s a ‘phone cord’?” then you’re probably too young to read this, but try to keep up. Anyway, it happens because of the mechanics of loading and unloading line onto a spool. A good way to understand how string gets twisted on a coil is to look at a garden hose on a spool, preferably one of those hoses with the stripe one it. Starting with the hose in the yard, if you turn the spool, the hose goes on neat and clean, and the hose in the yard is drawn in untwisted. However, if you wind the hose onto a fixed spool, by swinging your hand around the spool from the end, the hose becomes terribly twisted.
Imagine we got the hose on the spool by the first method, so everything is on the spool nice and neat. Now we’re going to unspool it. We can pull the string off the spool in the reverse manner that we put it on. That is, perpendicular to the axis of the spool and the spool turning. The hose will come off clean, just as we started. This arrangement is represented in A.) of Figure 1, and is analogous to that of a baitcast reel. Alternatively, we can pull the hose parallel to the axis of the spool, with the spool fixed. Because the spool does not move, there is no compensation between the hose being on the spool and being off the spool; the coil, or twist, remains on the hose. This arrangement is represented in B.) of Figure 1, and is analogous to that of a spinning reel. In both systems, there is a component of twist going from straight to coiled or visa versa. In A., the spool turns, in B. the line turns. You can experiment with string and prove this arrangement to yourself very easily.
We have made the point that there is a component of twist to the line when loading and unloading parallel to the axis of the spool, as in a spinning reel. Now consider how that twist moves on and off the spool. In Figure 2 below we have a string tied to two fixed points, and the string has twist in it between the two points, as shown in A.). If we were to now pinch this line and push the coil to one side, we can effectively move the coil to one side or the other, as shown in B.) and C.), where the line is twisted on one side and straight on the other.
Let the left side of the pinch “dot” in the figure represent the spool, and the right side represent the line out in the water. In B.), the string is coiled nicely on the spool, and nicely straight out in the water. In C.) the twist has moved out from the spool, resulting in more twist needed (on the left) to put the string back on the spool, then a segment of string twisted the other way to compensate, then the original twist back the OTHER way out in the water. Note that the pinch “dot” in the figure is analogous to the bailer on the reel, rod guides, or your fingers as you try to put tension on the string entering the spool.
In reality, the right side of Figure 2 is not fixed, but rather allowed to uncoil. In reality, the coils do not go on and off the spool the same way every time, but move slightly up and down the string. What happens is that the lure is loaded to “unravel” this twist whenever it can. And this happens between the time you pull the lure out of the water and make a cast---ever notice that your lure spins in the air? It also happens in flight during the cast. In some cases, it may also happen when the lure is in the water. This “unraveling” at the lure must result in “raveling” elsewhere upstream on the line.
There is another major source of line twist that is often overlooked. Given Figure 1, can you guess what it is? Consider that you have to twist the line to load it on a spool. Normally, when you pull from the end of the spool, the line is un-twisted to lay straight in the water, because it was twisted to be put on the spool. However, when the reel lets out line via the drag system, the spool is turning, and thus twisting the line. But don’t cinch the drag down to prevent line twist---you’ll loose the fish of a lifetime! You can recover correct twist on the spool by the methods described in Part II.