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All about wind knots

Page history last edited by Todd 14 years, 5 months ago

Wind knots are the bane of the spinning reel surfcaster.  They put a screeching halt to fishing and if they cannot be picked apart cause large amounts of line loss.  They occur when using BRAID line because it is very limp.  Actually, the term wind knot has become a garbage can term for several types of knots that occur during the cast. 


The most common wind knot appears as a series of long twisted loops occurring in the middle of the cast length of line.  They look like this:



If you are paying attention a wind knot can be heard zipping through the rod guides.  Sometimes an outgoing wind knot will catch one of its loops on a rod guide and the line will abruptly break.  The knot will often be on the lost end of the parted line and then the fisherman is mystified why the line broke but it all was a result of an outgoing wind knot.


There are two major and very effective ways of eliminating the occurance of wind knots.  The first concern is to avoid spool face line crosssings.  The second concern is to avoid tensed line from digging down next to the spool flanges.  If you can be aware of these two things you will eliminate wind knots.


                             SPOOL FACE LINE CROSSINGS



Here is a photo of a spool face crossing:



The outgoing line will snag and catch the crossing line at the point where it lies on the spool edge.  The out going line will then prematurely pull the underlying line wraps off.  This results in a messy knot that sails out with the rest of the line.  The solution is to avoid spool face crossings.  They can happen for two main reasons.



On the previous cast, during the midst of the bail closure, the line is often slack and it might not be immediately guided into the bail roller.  The line can randomly lie across the spool face before it is guided into its proper position.   A wind blowing in the wrong direction in relation to your bail trip can exacerbate this.  This happens most often when using the automatic bail closure to close the bail.  


1)  Don't use the automatic bail closure (flip it shut by hand) or better yet DISABLE the automatic bail closure.  Automatic bail closures inaccurately pick up the line (esp. with slack line) and cause spool crossings.  You can disable the auto bail closure on most reels by removing the small plate on the side of the bail arm and removing the linkage.  


Removing the auto bail closure linkage.


Daiwa Emcast Plus:



Tica GX Scepter:



Shimano Stradic:



The bail will still be spring-loaded and you can flip it over with a touch of the finger.  If you cup the line with your hand when you flip the bail you can also remove line slack and actually place the line into the bail roller.  Another LARGE advantage of disabling the auto bail closure is it will never snap shut during the cast and crack off your lure!


Proper hand position during bail closure.  A touch of the fingers closes the spring-loaded bail and the hand cups and places the line in the roller under tension.





Tall, squared eared, and broad drag knobs can snag the line during bail closure like this: 


Good drag knobs are low, rounded, and small (away from the spool lip).


Here is a drag knob that is very wide, tall, and with fairly square ears.  It has a tendancy to catch the line:


Here is a drag knob that is tall and the shroud from the spool itself adds to its high and broad profile.  However there are no square ears and this helps significantly:


Here is a drag knob that has square ears but they are sloping.  The knob is of a fairly low profile.  It is of small diameter and away from the spool edge.  Not so bad:


Here is a drag knob that has square but sloping ears.  Significantly, the knob is of very small diameter and away from the spool edge.  It is also low in profile.  Pretty good:


It's of significant benefit to grind off square drag knob ears and fair things out with body putty or epoxy putty.  Like so: 


The ultimate thing that can eliminate wind knots due to spool face crossings is to always visually or tactilely check for a crossing right after your bail closes and before every cast.  This takes just a second and it must become religious through lots of repetitious engraining.  As fatigue or distraction (exciting fishing) increases you will find spool face crossings also increase.  Never try to cast out with a crossing.  Always lay your lure on the beach and walk it out.





Some reels exhibit a “shoulder” or “gap” in the spooled line.  This can be at the top of the spool, the bottom of the spool, or at both locations.  This is a sign that the spool stroke (up and down travel of the spool) is insufficient for the height of the spool.



The line at these shoulders frequently tumbles down the slope creating slackness of the line in this area.  Here is a freshly spooled Stradic with a "shoulder gap" at the bottom



Can you see the loose line that has tumbled into this area after use?



And also at the bottom of this spool?



During the act of casting, the line from the casting finger to the reel spool is under significant tension.  If the first wrap of the line is located against the spool flange it can dig and bury between the metal flange and the loose (tumbled) line.  Then, when the line flies out it can prematurely pull these loose wraps off the spool creating wind knots.  Worse yet, a sloping “shoulder gap” can cause the tensed line to slide down the slope and place it against the spool flange. There are several things you can do to alleviate this.



Some reels have larger “gap shoulders” than others.  If the gap is located at the bottom of the spool you can add some thin washers under the spool.  This will raise the spool and lessen the spooling gap at the bottom. 




However, you might find that you are creating a “gap shoulder” at the top of the spool as a result of trying to eliminate the one at the bottom.  If this happens I would try to make the top and bottom spooling gaps approximately the same.



If you think about it, narrow spools increase the odds of being against the spool flange.  Long (tall) spools decrease the odds you will be against the spool flange. The ultimate good technique is to not cast with the first line wrap at the top or the bottom of the spool. 


Not here:


And not here:


Try to cast with the first wrap somewhere in the middle of the spooled line.  If you are ready to cast but the first wrap is not in a good position…just raise the lure off the ground and bump the bail open and shut quickly.  This should allow a few feet of line to come off the spool.  When you reel this back up (to your preferred line drop length) the line will come off the spool in a different position.  Alternatively, if you fish with a loose drag, you can pull a few feet off and the first wrap will then be in a different position.



In summary:

1) Prep your reel by removing the automatic bail closure linkage. 

2) Prep your reel by adjusting any “shoulder gaps” with spacer washers added (or removed) under the spool. 

3) Prep your reels by modifying tall and/or square drag knobs. 

4) Visually of tactilely check for spool face line crossings before casting. 

5) Do not cast with the first spool wrap against the spools flange.


I hope someone finds all of this useful and here’s to no wind knots!!

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