If you use gel-spun, or Spectra type braided line, make sure to back the line by winding a few layers of tape around the spool arbor before filling your reel with braided line. If you have your reel professionally spooled by your dealer, please specify that the braided line must be backed with tape. Cloth surgeon’s tape, tacky elastic finger tape, or double sided cloth hockey friction tape works the best. This will give the line something to dig into and grip, and prevent the line from slipping on the spool. A small amount of mono-filament underneath braided line WILL NOT eliminate braided line slip!
The use of "super-braid" gel-spun Spectra based line has gained popularity over the last several years and has now dominated the fishing line market, and for good reason. Its ultra small diameter to strength ratio equates to more line capacity, the use of smaller, lighter reels, and less line drag cutting through the water while battling fast long running fish. Its zero stretch properties increase sensitivity, especially dropping deep. Wear resistance, UV resistance, and rot resistance also makes it very economical over the long run, it can last many seasons. To most anglers, the advantages of super-braid line far exceed the disadvantages. There are however, 3 easily fixed/preventable issues to be aware of before spooling your reel with braided line: line slippage, line "burying", and exceeding the drag capabilities of a reel. All 3 of these issues are simple to avoid and easy to correct.
Braided line has a tendency to suddenly and unexpectedly slip on the spool when heavy drag is applied. Here's why:
Spectra line has no stretch or elastic memory, is very slick, and doesn't compress and grip the spool arbor like mono-filament does, causing the line to slip under moderate to heavy drag settings. This erratic slippage is felt while fighting a fish and is usually mistaken for the drag slipping, when in fact the drag isn't even moving, its simply the friction of the line rotating on a stationary spool. Nylon and fluorocarbon lines stretch slightly as its wound onto a spool...even under light tension. As line builds onto the spool, the light tension is multiplied by each revolution, and can build up an incredible amount of pressure, similar to wrapping a rubber band around your finger. For example, if you applied 1 lb. of tension to mono line as you wind it onto your reel, and it takes 5,000 revolutions of the spool to fill the reel, the elastic compression memory of the line can generate 5,000 lbs. of pressure distributed along the arbor and sides of the spool. This is why graphite and plastic spools often break or deform by simply winding mono line on them. This elastic memory and incredible pressure is why mono will never slip on a spool. Braided line has no elastic stretch, and has only a tiny fraction of the pressure to grip the spool, and will most likely slip at some point.
Different materials also expand and contract differently with temperature change. An aluminum spool shrinks with cold and expands with heat. Braided line isn't as thermally affected dimensionally as metal and will not expand and contract as much as an aluminum spool. In contrast, braided line can swell when fully saturated with water, and can shrink when it dries out. With that said, line is typically wound onto a reel in the comfortable room temperature of a home or tackle shop. Actual fishing conditions could be significantly colder or warmer than the temperature that the line was initially wound onto the reel. If the spool grows or shrinks a few thousandths of an inch with temperature differences, and the the braided line stays relatively inert with no elastic memory or resilience to absorb the change, then the potential for the line to slip is a near certainty. We have placed reels with spectra line on them that do not seem to slip at room temp, into the refrigerator for a few minutes, and the line will then nearly free-spin with full drag applied! This applies to ANY reel with an aluminum or metallic spool. Here at Avet, we are seeing an increasing volume of calls, emails, and reels sent in for assumed drag issues, including:
These issues are all because the line is slipping on the spool, not a problem with the drag system in the reel. This is a very common issue and has been proven time and time again, and anglers who have had this explained to them, and then seen it with their own eyes, are routinely amazed. One simple solution ELIMINATES the possibility of braided line slipping. A spiral of tape applied to the arbor of the spool before the line is installed. This anchors the bottom layer of line by giving it a soft substrate to bite into. With the bottom layer anchored, subsequent layers of line may slip over themselves under load to a certain point, but the entire mass of line on the spool will spirally constrict and grip tighter, the harder the line is pulled against the drag, and will not slip on the spool. The tape will also supply some compression and resilience to compensate for any expansion and contraction of the spool or line mass. The tape backing method has been proven over and over again to be the most effective and simple solution to line slippage, and is quickly becoming standard practice in tackle shops and retailers that frequently spool braided line.
- The reels drag pressure will not change when the lever or pre-set knob is adjusted.
- The reels drag pressure suddenly changes, or the drag setting at strike or full changes for no reason.
- The drag pressure suddenly drops as more line is pulled out by a running fish.
- The reel will not achieve the drag pressure it is supposed to at strike or full.
- The drag feels jerky, inconsistent, or makes a strange noise.
- The reel will not go into free-spool when the lever is backed off to "free". (This happens when the line slips and the angler tries to increase the drag pressure by increasing the drag pre-set knob in vain until the drag is beyond it's designed working range and free spool range is lost.)
Line Burying Into Itself Under Load (aka: Spectra Wedgie)
It is important to wind braided line as tightly as possible onto the spool. Spectra line is very thin, strong, and very slick. When wound loosely on the spool, the line will bury into itself several layers deep into the parallel coils of line on the spool when pulled from the reel under moderate to heavy drag pressure. As the line is pulled from the spool in this condition, it will feel erratic and jerky from friction as the line is pulled from wedges several layers
deep in the spool. This erratic fluctuation in pressure is often blamed on a faulty drag, when in fact the drag will be functioning perfectly. The effect and feel of this condition is similar to a line under-wrap that every angler has experienced at one time or another. Wound onto the reel correctly, the line won't bury into itself. Correctly packed onto the spool, the braided line should be hard to the touch. If you can compress it with firm pressure from your thumb, it isn't wound on tight enough.
Loss Of Free Spool
Complaints of no free spool when the drag lever is backed all the way to the free position is also attributed to braided line slipping, as well as attempting to set the drag to the actual rated breaking strength of spectra line.
If the line is slipping on the spool, you will not seem have any drag adjustment once the actual drag disc friction matches the friction slip of the line on the spool. This is because the drag isn't even turning if the line is slipping. In this case, an attempt to increase drag pressure by increasing the drag adjustment is a normal reaction to increase drag, but you will feel no pressure increase, because the "drag" you are feeling is simply the friction of the line slipping on the spool. Once the drag adjustment is increased beyond the drag range the reel is designed to handle, the reel will loose free spool capability when the lever is backed off to the free position. Simply remove the line, apply tape to the spool arbor, and re install the braided line as tightly as possible.
With the growing popularity of super-braid lines, anglers world wide have taken advantage of the increased line capacity and ability to use a smaller, lighter, cast-able reel to do the job of a much larger, bulkier reel. Because braided line is much thinner and considerably stronger than comparable nylon mono-filament line, anglers tend to fish smaller reels to their maximum drag capabilities and beyond. A good example is the Avet LX reel. The Avet LX is designed to put out 15 lbs. of drag at strike, which makes it comfortable as a 30 - 40 lb. line class reel. Because this reel will hold significantly more 65 - 80 lb. class braided line than it will the much thicker 30 - 40 lb. class mono, anglers tend to attempt to set the drag to match the braided line class, maxing the drag adjustment beyond the free-spool capability range. This is why the LX Raptor was created..twice the drag capability to match up to the potential of super-braid lines.
Due to the volume of reels we see returned with slipping line, Avet will no longer be responsible for return shipping for reels returned solely and specifically for warranty claims regarding faulty drags, if we determine the line is slipping or burying, and the drag is determined to be functioning properly. The cost of return shipping will then be the customers’ responsibility. Before returning a reel for suspected drag issues, please check the following to confirm that the line isn't slipping or burying:
- Using only the reel (no rod), attach the line from your reel to a post or solid stationary object.
- Move the drag lever to the full position for maximum drag.
- Using a grease pen, marker, or a small sliver of tape, mark the visible edge of the aluminum spool.
- Pull the reel against the drag so line comes off of the spool while looking at the mark. If line comes off of the spool and the mark doesn't rotate in sync with the rotating line, THE LINE IS SLIPPING on the spool.
- If the line doesn't appear to slip, saturate the line and spool with water, or place the reel in the refrigerator for a few minutes to simulate actual "on the water" fishing conditions and re-test (steps 1 - 4).
- Also check to ensure the line isn't burying into itself under drag load.