Guide on How to Prevent and Fix Carp Fishing Line Twist

One of the most frustrating things in carp angling is the dreaded carp fishing line twist. Carp anglers are more prone to carp fishing line twist due to the fact that we use reels with a free spool mechanism.

There are many possible causes of carp fishing line twist which will be outlined in greater detail below, but the most common is when the line is played out through the free spool action on our bait runner reels.

How to Prevent Carp Fishing Line Twist?

The primary way to prevent carp fishing line twist is to spool your reels properly and use the free spool mechanism on your reel as little as possible. Whenever you can, either open the bail arm or “back-reel” your line out, these simple tactics have reduced my carp fishing line twist by 90% since I employed them years ago.

As you’ve most likely read in my previous articles, I learned a lot about carp angling the hard way, through trial and error. Many of these carp fishing tactics seem commonplace with all the information found online, but to the beginner carp angler, this information is crucial to maximizing your fishing time on the bank.

Carp Fishing Tips and Tactics to Prevent and Fix Carp Fishing Line Twist:

What Causes Carp Fishing Line Twist and How to Prevent It

Most anglers face line twist in situations such as trolling or using spoons and spinnerbaits. Carp anglers face an entirely different set of causes to line twist because of the gear we use and the way we fish.

Some common causes of carp fishing line twist are:

1. Letting Line Play Out Through the Free Spool Action

As stated above these mistakes made up for the majority of the issues I had with line twist while carp fishing. I had no idea that this caused line twist but now that I think about it, I should have noticed this fact earlier.

  • It is inevitable that line will eventually be played out through your bait runner reels free spool action, just try to limit the amount each time you have a run.
  • I used to do all sorts of bad things with my free spool action such as wrapping the line around distance sticks, placing baits or rigs via a boat and pulling the line out to change rigs or bait up easier. I stopped all these bad habits once I found out this was causing the majority of my line twist issues.
  • Every spin of your spool, while in free spool mode, puts approximately one twist in your fishing line. Over the course of a few sessions, this can add up quite quickly.

Solution: Open the bail arm on your reel and allow the line to play out. Secondly, some anglers prefer to use the back wind option if their reels are equipped with it, they merely reel their handle backwards and allow the line to play off the spool that way.

2. Turning the Handle on Your Reel While a Fish is Stripping Drag

This causes line twist basically the same way it does through your free spool action, by turning the handle on the reel as the line is played out through the drag doubles or triples the number of twists put in the line.

Solution: Slow down and enjoy the battle with the fish. When the fish pulls and strips drag let your reel, rod and line do the work. Crank and reel in after the fish has tired, gently pull your rod back then quickly reel in as you move the tip back down towards the fish. If your reel has a back wind mechanism and you feel comfortable using it, fight the fish that way.

3. Using Cheap or Improper Use of Terminal Tackle

These issues can be remedied quickly, with minimal cost and effort.

  • Using swivels that are too large for the diameter of your mainline will add twists to your line as smaller diameter lines won’t have the strength required to turn the swivel.
  • It may be tempting to opt for cheaper terminal tackle but try to avoid the use of very cheap swivels, they tend to seize up and not work as they’re meant to. Spend the extra few dollars and buy premium terminal tackle.
  • Using the Swivel as a Stopper in a Running or Semi-Fixed Rig. I used to make this mistake as well until a fellow angler informed me it was most likely adding to my line twist problems. If the swivel is pulled inside of an in-line lead, it is unable to turn and do its job correctly.

Solution: Use quality terminal tackle and be sure to match it to the line you’re using. I also place a bead or tail rubber between my rig and leads when using running or semi-fixed rigs.

4. Improperly Spooling Mainline onto Your Carp Fishing Reels

Carp fishing line should be put onto your reels in the same direction that it comes off the spool it is supplied on. If this is done backwards, it will take a lot of effort to reverse the twists.

Solution: There are many tips and tricks used when spooling mainline onto your reels that will be covered in greater detail below.

5. Allowing Carp Fishing Line to Sit on Spools for Long Periods of Time

Certain types of lines such as monofilament and fluorocarbon are made of a single stand and have quite a bit of line memory, making them more susceptible to line twist.

Solution: Avoid purchasing large amounts of line that you won’t spool onto your reels right away. I only order enough line to spool the three reels that I use per season. If I need to re-spool any of them mid-season, I find it is better to buy a newer line than using an old spool that has been sitting around for years.

6. Type of Carp Fishing Reel

Some of the smaller 5000 and 10,000 carp fishing reels have very small spool sizes. The smaller size spool causes more wraps in the line as it is put on the reel, resulting in more twists in your line.

Solution: Purchase carp fishing reels with bigger spools. Big Pit Reels can greatly reduce carp fishing line twists. They are equipped with wider and longer spools that have larger bail arms. These characteristics aid in better line lay plus fewer wraps around the spool for the same amount of line.

How to Fix and Remove Carp Fishing Line Twist Once it Occurs

Some amount of line twist while carp fishing is bound to happen. I used to just re-spool my reels with new line when they got so twisted that I was spending more time untangling my line than actively fishing. Luckily there are a few simple ways to remove carp fishing line twist once it has occurred. Now I can solve the problem much quicker than having to re-spool my entire reel.

These tricks will save you both time and money:

Removing Line Twist From a Boat

If you’re lucky enough to be fishing from a boat this is most likely the easiest method to remove line twist from carp fishing line.

  1. If in a boat simply cut off your rig above the swivel and play out as much line behind the boat as you need to until it stops twisting.
  2. Once you have enough line out, pinch the line between your fingers (a glove or cloth are optimal to prevent line burn) and reel in the free line. As it is pulled in through the pressure of your fingers the twist will move down the line and spin the loose end.

Removing Line Twist Near a River

This same “boat method” can be used if you’re near fast-flowing water.

  1. Again simply cut your line off above your rig. The next step is to play out your line and allow the current to take it downstream.
  2. Once you have enough line out that it stops twisting, complete the same steps as above and reel in the line. When necessary, repeat these steps two to three times until your line plays freely off the spool without twisting.

Removing Line Twist on Shore

This method requires large open spaces such as parks or fields, it also requires the most walking.

  1. Tie your line to a tree, bank stick or heavy lead.
  2. Open the bail arm on your reel and walk backwards, stop when you notice the line is not twisting anymore when it comes off of the spool.
  3. Walk back to where you left the end of your line and untie it or cut the lead and swivel off leaving a loose end.
  4. Stroll back to your rod, pinch the line in a cloth and reel your line in through the pressure of your fingers.
  5. Complete these steps three to four times or when you notice the line is not twisting anymore when it comes off the spool.

Removing Line Twist by Casting from Shore

This method uses PVA Mesh or Bags. (Preferably PVA Mesh) More costly than the method above but it can also save a lot of walking.

  1. Cut off your rig above the swivel leaving a bare line.
  2. Find a rock that you can cast a fair distance.
  3. Tie one end of your PVA mesh closed.
  4. Drop the rock into the mesh then tie the other end.
  5. Attach your mainline directly to the knot on one end of the PVA meshing.
  6. Cast the rock out as far as you can then allow enough time for the PVA mesh to dissolve.
  7. Once again reel in the slack line preferably through a cloth or gloves keeping the line taught by pinching it with your fingers.

If you’re tournament fishing and have somehow forgotten your spare spools for your reels at home, these are a few quick tricks that will save a lot of lost time due to re-spooling.

How to Properly Spool Carp Fishing Line onto Your Reels

There are varying ways to spool line onto your carp fishing reels. Some people swear by certain techniques and if they work for them that is fine by me. I am going to list the methods I use as I have not experienced very much line twist since spooling my reels this way.

  1. Remove new spool from packaging and let it sit in a bucket of warm water for approximately five to ten minutes. This helps in a few ways:
    1. Warms the line up, in the case of nylon and fluorocarbon, it will make the line a bit more supple to reduce the line memory.
    2. During the manufacturing process grease may adhere to the line, letting it soak in warm water will help remove any grease or debris.
    3. It also allows for better line lay when it spools onto your reel, especially in the case of braided lines it helps to bed the line down smoother and tighter.
  2. I have found many carp anglers approach step 2 differently.
    1. Some anglers remove the line from the pail and put a pencil through the middle to hold it while they reel it onto their spool.
    2. Others prefer to leave the spool of line loose in the pail to float around as they put it on their reel.
    3. Many anglers insist on taking the spool of line out of the water and laying it on the floor either label up or down depending on which direction the line peels off of it.
    4. I use a sort of hybrid method to these. I leave the line in the water but, I have a screwdriver that is slightly larger than the diameter of the pail. I place the screwdriver through the spool and wedge it halfway in the water. This ensures that the spool has a bit of resistance and tension from the water so the line doesn’t pop off the side.
  3. Attach your reel to the butt section of a fishing rod. Any rod will do and only the bottom half of the rod is required. No extra tips about this step, very straightforward, if you disagree you’re full of it!
  4. Take the free end of the line on the spool in the bucket, run it through the bottom eye on the butt section of your rod and tie it to the base of the spool on your reel with a clinch knot. (Or any knot of your choosing that will suffice.)
  5. I use a dry rag to pinch the line just below the first eye on the butt section of my rod. The rag will wash off excess debris and water plus avoid burning your fingers if spooling braided line. I apply slight pressure, not too much and not too little. Too much will wrap the line very tightly on your spool, not enough pressure will leave loose loops.
  6. Finally, I fill my spools to within about 1/8 of an inch to the lip of the spool. Some anglers fill their spools right to the brim but I like to leave a bit of a lip to prevent the line from slipping off when on the reel.
  7. Once you’ve spooled new carp fishing line onto a reel it is a good practice to cast out five to six times with a decent sized lead to help set the line on your carp fishing reels spool.

I usually re-spool my reels once or twice a year depending on how often I fish. In Canada, our fishing season is shorter as in the winter months our lakes and river freeze over. I tend to do my re-spooling in the spring just before the main carp fishing tournaments.

If you re-spool for a tournament or event it is even more important to set the line and test it to be sure it is spooled properly and not twisting in any fashion. You wouldn’t want to just hope that your line has gone onto the spool properly and lose vital time at the beginning of a match trying to fix line twist.

In my experience every fishing line I’ve used has had different effects of line twist, some more so than others. If you’ve applied the tips and tricks found in this article and are still having a lot of line twist don’t be afraid to experiment with different types and brands of line. It can be quite a daunting task to find a line that suits your needs and maximizes your fishing time on the bank.

My hope for this article is that it will save some beginners a lot of time when they are on the bank and maximize the amount of time they spend catching lots of fish! For more information on different carp fishing lines be sure to read this article on What to Look for in a Quality Carp Fishing Line.