Friday, January 27, 2012

Let's UN- Do The Twist

If you have ever sat directly over your ice hole in shallow clear water (sight fished) and noticed how your lure and bait is presented to the fish then chances are you have noticed your lure will spin as you stop it or maybe even jig it. It causes a very negative reaction from the fish, more often if it is a very tough bite situation.

The occurrence of line twist is frequently in users of spinning reels, which revolutionized ice fishing over a decade ago, but some experts are questioning if they are a good choice for use while fishing for panfish.

The reason for the twist is simple to explain, as the line is wound around the spool by the bail, it twists it as to avoid a reversed coil on the spool. The problem then is the coil is much more pronounced as the line is released, and it must work itself out, starting at the end of the line, your bait. Much hype is give to fishing line that hold less memory, due to the fact that many anglers use these spinning reels and these coil create large problems.

Anglers have gone to interesting lengths to avoid line twist at the bait, the most common technique is adding a swivel to the line 18-24” up from the bait. For very obvious reasons this does not seem like the greatest idea when fishing with small jigs for panfish. The addition of the swivels is two-fold problem. It is two extra knots between you and the fish and a significant weight between the rod tip and your bait. This causes the action of your jig to be dramatically reduced. When you jig with a swivel on the line your jigging the swivel much more then you jig the lure.

Other ways anglers have attempted to reduce line twist is to “pre-stretch” the fishing line. It works to an extent, if you’re using Monofilament. With the introduction of Fluorocarbon, and other polymer line, the “pre stretch” method is much less affective due to the fact that these lines have virtually no stretch. It in fact can have the opposite effect on some lines by expanding the molecules and making it curl up causing all kinds of tangles.

The easiest way to avoid line twist is to use a reel that allows the line to roll on and off the spool straight. Many fishermen today have begun to use Fly Fishing reels on their ice rods to allow themselves to have a drag system and take advantage of the straight on and off action of the line. The styles of fly reels are virtually never ending but ones I enjoy using are the Okuma SLVs in 4/5 weight. The weight sometimes is an issue, and you will have to learn to grip the rod differently than you would an ice rod with a spinning reel.

The best way I have found to avoid line twist, keep the weight on the combo down and still give me the versatility of fishing water 5-40’ is using the old standard ice reels. Yup, those old plastic ones found on ice fishing rods for the last 60 years. Simple, cheap and highly affective. In fact many of the top anglers on the North American Ice Fishing Circuit use these ice reels. The ice reels are easy to use, light weight and readily available, any box store with even a limited selection of fishing equipment will have them for sale.

Nearly all my rods are set-up with the HT Enterprises ice reels, modified to fit the way I would like to fish. I modify them slightly to allow me to reel in more line per turn. I start with a standard ice reel, wrap 3/16” wide closed cell foam (weather stripping) around the reel 5-7 times, filling it nearly to the top. Then I take a good electrical tape, you don’t want “Cheap” stuff for this, and begin to wrap the foam with the electrical tape, applying quite a bit of pressure so that I have a solid base for my line to rest on. When completed I end up getting 8-9.5” of line spooled onto the reel every turn. That’s as good as a spinning reel with a 5:1 ratio and I don’t worry about line twist.

There are ice fishing reels available that are specifically designed to have a large arbor, wrapping as much line as you can to allow you to fish fast and in deeper water comfortably. There are also manufactures offering combos that are equipped with a small fly reel specifically designed for ice fishing.

Get rid of the spinning reel, certainly get rid of the darn swivel and go back to basics. Line twist hurts your presentation and hurts your fishing. Let’s UN-do the twist!




1 comment:

Top Spinning ReelS said...

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