Are you an avid angler who’s been stymied by the stubborn problem of your fishing line tangled under reel? Well, you’re not alone. This issue has been a perennial thorn in the side of fishermen worldwide, causing much lost time and opportunities for potential catches. But fret not! We have curated an extensive guide to help you deal with this vexing issue once and for all.

Fishing Line Tangled Under Reel: Why it Happens

Understanding why a fishing line tangles under the reel is the first step towards preventing it. The phenomenon occurs due to a variety of reasons, each of which can contribute to a knotty and frustrating fishing experience.

Overfilling the Spool

Fishing lines tend to loop and get tangled under the reel if the spool is overfilled. Imagine a spool as a cup; when overfilled, the line, like liquid, spills over the edge, causing loops and tangles.

Incorrect Line

Using the incorrect type of line for your reel is a major culprit behind tangles. Every reel is designed to accommodate a specific line type and weight. Using incompatible lines can cause the line to loop and tangle under the reel.

Incorrectly Set Drag

The drag system on a reel should be set properly to handle the weight of the line. If the drag is set too loose, it can lead to the line unspooling, resulting in tangles.

Common Causes for the Line Tangle

Identifying the cause of the tangle is paramount to solving the problem. Once you have identified the root cause, you can take appropriate steps to untangle the fishing line and prevent future tangles.

Wind Knots

Wind knots occur when the line is cast out and the wind causes it to loop back on itself. These knots can quickly become tangled under the reel if not addressed immediately.

Slack Line

A slack line or loose line can easily twist and turn, leading to tangles. Maintaining a tight line while reeling in can help prevent this.

Dirty Reel

A dirty reel can lead to the line not spooling correctly, leading to tangles. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your reel can prevent this issue.

Methods to Untangle Your Fishing Line

Once a tangle occurs, it’s crucial to know how to untangle your fishing line properly. Using the wrong method can make the tangle worse or even damage your line and reel.

Gentle Untangling

The first method is gentle untangling. Use your fingers to gently unravel the tangles and loops. Patience is key here!

Cutting the Tangle

If the tangle is too severe to untangle by hand, cutting it might be necessary. Use a pair of sharp scissors or a fishing line cutter to carefully cut away the tangled part of the line.

Replacing the Line

In cases where the line is badly tangled or damaged, it may be necessary to replace the entire line. This can prevent further issues and save you time in the long run.

Preventive Measures Against Line Tangles

The best way to tackle the issue of a fishing line tangled under reel is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some preventive measures that can help you avoid tangles.

Proper Line Loading

Make sure the line is loaded onto the spool correctly. Overfilling the spool or using the wrong type of line for your reel can easily lead to tangles.

Regular Reel Maintenance

Keep your reel clean and well-maintained. Regularly check the spool and drag system to ensure they’re functioning correctly.

Practice Casting and Reeling

Improving your casting and reeling techniques can also prevent line tangles. Practice casting and reeling in a straight line to prevent wind knots and slack lines.


Why does my fishing line keep getting tangled under the reel?

The primary reasons for your fishing line getting tangled are overfilling the spool, using incorrect lines, setting the drag incorrectly, and poor maintenance of the reel.

How can I prevent my fishing line from tangling?

Preventive measures include proper line loading, regular reel maintenance, and practicing good casting and reeling techniques.

How do I untangle my fishing line?

Gentle untangling with your fingers, cutting the tangle, or replacing the line are effective methods to untangle your fishing line.

What type of fishing line is least likely to tangle?

Braided fishing lines are known for their resistance to tangling. However, choosing the right type of line depends on your reel and fishing conditions.

How often should I replace my fishing line?

You should replace your fishing line at least once a year, or whenever it shows signs of wear and tear, like fraying, discoloration, or frequent tangling.

Can a damaged reel cause my line to tangle?

Yes, a damaged or poorly maintained reel can cause line tangles. Regular maintenance and inspection of your reel can help prevent this.


A fishing line tangled under reel can be a headache for any angler. But with the right understanding and preventive measures, you can reduce its occurrence and improve your fishing experience. Remember, maintaining your equipment and mastering your techniques are the key to a tangle-free fishing adventure!

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