Needles in the Nest

We've got tips for clearing the dreaded backlash.

Every fisherman who has used a bait caster or other revolving spool reel has experienced the dreaded backlash. Get a little careless while casting and … oh, boy. The line overruns the spool and puffs up into a big ol’ bird’s nest. Worse, your cast invariably falls short of the mark — and you get to spend quality time trying to clear a snarled mess.

Even the best sticks suffer from an occasional “professional overrun.” There’s an easy way to free the inevitable tangles, and with minimum damage to the line. Carry a small crochet needle in your tackle box. Its small head and hook allow you to work the needle deep into the bird’s nest and quickly loosen jammed line.

Available in craft stores, a size 4 crochet needle is a good choice for monofilament from 12- to 30-pound test, or Spectra lines testing 50 pounds or more. A size 2 needle gets the call for heavier line, while anglers using 10-pound test or less will find a size 8 needle more effective. Try this simple solution to a needling problem, and you’ll think the old way is for the birds.