Fishing Line Tangled: How to Avoid that Problem? [Fix]

Fishing Line Tangled

Every angler, no matter the experience level, will sooner or later have fishing line tangled ...

This occurrence is annoying and usually happens in the worst possible moment.

Luckily, there are ways to resolve (fix) this issue, and even steps to take to prevent it. To avoid it, you will have to adjust your casting and reeling technique.

Replacing some parts of your fishing gear could help too.

Some fishing lines are advertised as tangle free, but even those are not completely resistant.

Here I will explain more about the causes of this problem, and how to resolve it, in the following chapters:



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Why Does My Fishing Line Get Tangled When I Cast?

Line tangles, also known as wind knots, frequently appear when casting into the wind.

Braided lines are more prone to this problem than monofilament ones. It is true that some lines have a better tangling resistance, but the thing is, line is not the problem.

Mostly, tangled lines are caused by the angler and the mistakes that he does.

When casting into the wind, you will make a certain move (as you always do, even when casting downwind) and the line will “fly” out at a certain speed. As the line passes the tip of your rod, the wind will start slowing it down. However, the line coming off the reel will still travel at the initial speed.

Line that travels between the reel and the first guide will have the highest velocity. As the line slows down between every other guide and even more when it leaves the rod tip, tangles start occurring because the fast part is catching the slower part and they start overlapping.

This occurrence causes loops and knots and soon it becomes a nightmare which is hard to fix.

Another problem when it comes to line tangling is a slack line.

When reeling it back, you should always have some tension to the line that enables tight and even coils on the spool (you can even use your hands and fingers to do so). Slack will result in loose coils and when casting a line like that, loose parts will travel at greater speeds than those tightly “packed”. This will result in knots and tangles forming close to the reel.

Anglers who use baitcasting reels will encounter backlashes more frequently. When they cast, the lure will slow down at some point, especially when casting into the wind, but the spool will not. Knots will form in the same way as knots form on spinning reels.

And lastly, overfilling the spinning reel with fishing line - this will also cause tangles!

Which Line Types are More Prone to Tangling?

I already said that braided ones are more prone to tangling but let’s see here how all line types contribute to tangling issue.


Mono lines may tangles as frequently as braided to some anglers; however, mono tangles are easier to resolve. Mono lines are stiffer than braided and have a bit of stretch so untangling them is easier.


Fluoro lines are stiffer than mono, and they won’t tangle as much as mono lines, despite that they are made from a single strain of nylon.


When tangled, braided lines are a nightmare. They are very hard to untangle. Low diameter, no stretch, and low stiffness of the line make it a very tedious task.


Copolymer is a relatively new line type made from two different types of nylon. When it comes to tangling, it sits somewhere between mono and braided.

Fishing Line Tangled - Braided

How To Untangle A Fishing Line in Reel?

Getting your fishing line tangled is easy, but untangling it can be quite a challenge ...

First of all, try not to apply tension on the line because the problem will get even worse.

If you are using spinning reel ...

STEP #1: Gently pull the line to pull out untangled parts to see where, and how big, the problem is (make sure that the drag is locked).

STEP #2: Press the spool and turn the handle just a little bit.

STEP #3: Try to pull out a bit more line.

STEP #4: Repeat as many times as necessary.

This procedure will work for smaller tangles. And moving the spool will loosen the knot ...

However, if you have a bigger problem ...

... and you don’t want to cut it off, you will have to sit down and start picking trough the line with your fingers, locating a problem after a problem, and untangling a knot after a knot.

It is a tedious task and it may not end up successfully. Do everything slowly and don’t force anything because it will result in a bigger mess.

Anglers who use baitcasting reels ...

STEP #1: Hold the reel from the bottom and press the release button. The goal is to get access to the spool and that the spindle can turn.

STEP #2: Pull the line coming out of the spool to locate the problem and see which part is wrapped around.

STEP #3: Take small pliers and hold the knot (be careful not to cut the line). Knots are usually wrapped by loose lines. 

STEP #4: Pull the knot to remove it from the spool.

STEP #5: Try to gently untangle whatever came off the spool.

STEP #6: Keep pulling until you get the mainline off, and repeat the process for every knot.

STEP #7: When you untangle everything, check for twists and reel the line back.

STEP #8: When reeling, make sure everything is nice and tight.

Same as with spinning reels, this method will work when the tangle is not too large.

Sometimes, if the damage is large, you will have to cut it off. Unfortunately, it is not possible to fix every tangling problem.

Fishing Line Tangled - Dont Panic

Which Fishing Reels are Most Prone to Tangling and Backlashes?

Both spinning and baitcasting reels can encounter this problem. It is usually due to your inexperience or improper handling.

I would say that baitcasters are worse when it comes to backlashes. Backlashes can be caused by casting into the wind, or with improper settings on your reel (brakes and spool tension). In addition to that, if you don’t know how to control and slow down the spool with your thumb, problems may become even worse.

Those who use baitcasters know that the worst tangles are so called birds nests. Those annoying tangles can form around the spool when the spool rotates too fast and releases a lot of line that can’t “escape” from the rod. Common causes are wind, too light lures, and inability to control the reel.

Unfortunately, it can happen even to the most experienced anglers.

Best Ways to Avoid Tangling Fishing Line!

Having your fishing line tangled is a nightmare, so try to do everything you can to avoid this problem.

Here are a few tips on how to do so:

Tip #1: Avoid casting straight into the wind – as already mentioned, inconsistency in line speed will cause wind knots.

Tip #2: Never cast the leader knot trough the guides – knots will cause friction when passing through the guides and it will slow down the line. Rest of the line behind it, coming off the spool, will still have a higher velocity and knots will form.

Tip #3: Cast gently – to achieve great distances, you will have to learn a proper technique. Casting very hard will cause the line to come off a spool at a higher speed but it will slow down when it leaves the rod tip. Same as all the previously mentioned mistakes, this one will also cause tangles.

Tip #4: Avoid cheap and flimsy rods – rod tip is very important in preventing line twists. Flimsy tip will slow down the line. Maybe you should think about getting a proper fishing rod.

Tip #5: Check the line when spooled – the line should be evenly distributed over the spool. If the bottom part holds more line than the upper part or vice versa, something is wrong.

Tip #6: Avoid casting too high – making your lure fly high will result in speed inconsistency and line tangles. This is especially important if you have to cast into the wind. Try to cast low. When you learn the technique, you will be able to cast quite far.

Tip #7: Avoid using heavy leaders with lighter lures – don’t be lazy. If you decided to take a lighter lure, change the leader too. Heavy ones will slow down the line and again, cause knots.

Fishing Line Tangled - Double Check


If you get your fishing line tangled, calm down and try not to force the knots to untangle. Slowly remove those knots one by one.

Practice all the prevention methods and you will be able to avoid this problem.

And one more thing, if your line gets tangled frequently and you are doing your best to avoid it, maybe the problem is the line itself. Fishing lines should be replaced once in a while and by doing so, you could make a difference.

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