How to Avoid Wind Knots with Spinning Reelsby Capt. Terry Rand
Spinning reels are a necessary tool to fishing success. The spinning reel can handle light lines extremely efficiently as opposed to baitcasting reels. Spinning reels will also allow you to cast the lightest lures with ease. They also require the least amount of practice to master.
To begin with, spinning reels work on the principle of a fixed spool that is encompassed by a spinning rotor. Attached to the top of the rotor is the bail which guides the line on to the spool while the rotor is spinning during the line retrieval process. When casting a lure or bait, the weight of the lure and the power behind the casting motion determines the distance of the cast. The weight of the lure essentially pulls the line off of the fixed spool during the cast. Other variables can also affect the distance of the cast like the amount of line on the spool and the diameter of the line itself. When you cast a spinning reel there will be some amount of friction created by the line coming off the lip of the spool as well as the with the lines contact with the rod guides. The more line you have on the spool, the less friction will be created when the line comes off the spool. Also, a thicker diameter line will create more friction during the cast than a light line. This can be compensated for by using heavier lures when using heavier diameter lines.
One issue that is sometimes experienced when casting spinning reels is what is referred to as a wind knot. The wind knot is created by slack in the line during the line retrieve. A loose coil of line will get wrapped back on to the spool during the retrieve and during the next cast the tightly wrapped line grabs that coil of loose line, creating a knot as the line is coming off the spool. Usually, that loose coil is created by turning the reel handle to flip over the bail when beginning the line retrieve. This can be easily remedied by flipping the bail over manually with your hand. It may seem cumbersome to do this but with a little practice it will become second nature and you will significantly reduce the number of wind knots that you experience.
Another cause of wind knots is casting too light of a lure when using heavier lines. For example, if you attempt to cast a 1/16 oz. crappie jig on 10 lb. test line, you will notice that you will not be able to cast very far. In addition, when you engage the reel and start your line retrieve, that 1/16 oz. jig will not put enough pressure on the line to stack the line coils on to the spool tightly which will create a wind knot on subsequent casts. This can be fixed by spooling your reel up with 4-6 lb. test line. This is one of the reasons why many anglers own many rods or take a few different rods with them on a fishing trip. That way an angler can be prepared with reels loaded with different line weights to accommodate for various lure weights.
As you can see, spinning reels are a true asset to fisherman, allowing them to broaden their lure presentations effectively and efficiently. And, with minimal practice you can get the most out of your spinning reels and avoid those nasty times wasting wind knots!