Line Winding Tip: How to Avoid Braid Slipping on the Spool

Whenever you sell a baitcasting reel, explain to customers why tape should be used to avoid braid slipping on the spool.

Line Winding Tip: How to Avoid Braid Slipping on the Spool

As an employee of a fishing retail store, I’ll never forget the day an angry customer entered through the front door. He slammed a box containing a new baitcasting reel on the counter and said, “This reel’s drag doesn’t work. And I bought it from you guys just a couple days ago. It’s a piece of junk. I want my money back.”

I hadn’t sold the reel to the gentlemen, but the model was the exact one I used for my own muskie fishing, so I was shocked to hear it had failed. In fact, I owned three of them and had sold dozens, maybe a hundred of them over the years, and I’d never heard of a drag failing on one.

I unboxed the reel as he went on to explain how it had cost him a muskie. “I set the hook and line just peeled off the reel. The drag is cranked to the max, so I don’t know what to tell you.”

As I examined his reel, I verified that he did indeed have the drag set to the max, which I don’t recommend, but that’s a topic for a future article. I pushed the free spool to let out 18 inches of line, then engaged the spool, wrapped the heavy dacron muskie line around my hand and tested the drag.

Sure enough, just as the man claimed, the line peeled off the spool. “See, I told you so,” he said. 

As I looked at the rotating line on the spool, I noticed something odd: The line was moving, but the spool wasn’t. And then the lightbulb went on: The customer, who had loaded the dacron line himself, didn’t tape the knot to the reel’s spool to anchor it. Because dacron line has a clothlike exterior, it can slip on the spool. This isn’t a problem with mono, but it can happen with any braided line.

“Sir, let me show you something,” I said, and I went on to demonstrate what was happening with his reel. “We’re still to blame, though,” I said. “Whoever sold this reel to you should have explained the need to tape the line to the spool before filling it. For that I’m sorry.”

He quickly changed his tune. “No, don’t worry about it. There’s a chance the sales guy told me what to do and I didn’t listen. It’s probably my fault. Thanks for showing me the problem so I don’t make the same mistake again.”

I quickly removed the line from his baitcasting reel and then firmly pressed a 1-inch-long piece of electrical tape over his knot on the spool. I was also careful to keep significant tension on the line as I filled the reel. When finished with the job, I demonstrated to him that the reel’s drag did indeed work perfectly.

A 1-inch-long piece of electrical tape pressed over the spool knot prevents braid from slipping on the spool.
A 1-inch-long piece of electrical tape pressed over the spool knot prevents braid from slipping on the spool.

To avoid a similar uncomfortable situation in your retail store, be sure to instruct your sales team on how to properly load braid on fishing reels. An inch-long piece of electrical tape over the knot is preventative medicine for misdiagnosed problems with a reel’s drag. Be sure any customer who leaves your store with a new baitcasting reel understands the “braid slipping on the spool” scenario and how to prevent it.


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