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Spin Fishing


Spin fishing tackle (meaning rods, reels, lines and lures), first came on the scene soon after World War II, opening up the sport of angling to more people than any other type of tackle in history. Suddenly millions of people, many of whom had never tried fishing, began heading to the water en masse. Spin fishing is by far one of the most popular methods of recreational fishing in the world today. Some good reasons for this are:

  • The gear is remarkably reliable and economical.
  • You can learn to use spin fishing tackle in a matter of minutes.
  • Spin fishing tackle is relatively inexpensive.
  • Spin fishing tackle is highly effective for catching many freshwater, estuary and deep water fish.
  • The better the quality of your spinning gear, the better the quality of your fishing experience.

What is Spin Fishing ?

Quite simply, spin fishing refers to fishing with spin fishing tackle as opposed to tackle for hand-line fishing or any other method humans have concocted to catch fish.

The simplest spin fishing setup includes a rod, reel, line and a lure. When spin fishing, you use the rod as a lever to fling the weight of the lure. This lure, is attached to your rod and reel with a relatively weightless monofilament fishing line.

Spin Fishing Reels

Spin fishing reels differ from overhead reels in that they have a stationary spool rather than a rotating one.

Since the spool is fixed, spinning reels utilize a mechanism called a bail arm to manage the line. The bail is a wire hoop that the angler can open, allowing the line to freely come off the reel. When the angler closes the bail arm and cranks the handle of the reel, this mechanism rotates around the spool, wrapping the line back onto it. Reel manufacturers have designed spinning reels to oscillate in and out during retrieval. This action returns line to the spool in a front-to-back criss cross pattern, helping prevent tangles.

When casting with spin fishing tackle, the angler flips open the spring-loaded bail arm with a finger, and then pins the line against the rod with the same finger. Next, the angler casts the rod forward, releasing his finger from the line at just the right moment, allowing the momentum of the lure to pull line from the spool.

At this point, the lure sails through the air and plops gracefully into the water. As soon as the angler begins turning the reel crank, the bail snaps shut. As the angler cranks the reel during retrieval, the bail arm collects line back onto the spool and pulls the lure through the water.

Spin Fishing Rods

Spin fishing rods have a number of features. Most of the higher-quality spinning rods are made from graphite or fibreglass. Quality spin casting rods are lightweight, strong and remarkably sensitive.

When choosing a spin fishing rod, you should consider a number of factors. These include weight action, length and materials.

Benefits of Spin Fishing

As mentioned earlier, spin fishing tackle is easy to use. The fact that the gear is physically easy to master doesn't mean that you'll be winning fishing tournaments your first day on the water. The primary factor in successful fishing is understanding your quarry's behavior. A few ways to acquire this knowledge include time spent on the water, reading fishing books and getting pointers from experienced anglers.

Spin fishing can be an incredibly effective means of catching fish. Spin fishers go for trout, salmon, tuna, kingfish, cod. No matter what species you choose to chase, you'll find spin fishing gear to suit your needs.

How to Choose Line for Spin Fishing

After grabbing your lure, a fish will usually take immediate evasive action. It may run your line against a jagged rock or it may plunge down to the depths of the river, lake or ocean. To successfully land a fish in such a situation, you'll need to have your reel rigged with a reliable fishing line.

Quality spin fishing lines are engineered to withstand lots of abuse. Before spooling a couple hundred yards of the stuff onto your reel, give some thought to how it will serve you on the water. And, of course, make sure you've chosen the right line for your particular fishing circumstances.

  • The most common type of spin fishing line is made of nylon monofilament. Many anglers refer to this material as "mono."
  • A line's pound-test rating tells you how many pounds of pressure it can sustain before breaking.
  • Consider factors such as limpness, diameter, stretchability and color when choosing spin-fishing line.
  • Heat, sunlight and other environmental factors can damage mono. Store it in a cool, dark place.

Types of Spin Fishing Line

These days manufacturers make spin fishing lines from several materials, including nylon monofilament, braided monofilament, Dacron, Kevlar and metal. However, nylon monofilament, or just plain old "mono," is by far the most common type of line used by spin fishers. Mono will adequately cover almost every fishing situation you encounter.

Understanding Test

"Test" (or "pound test") is probably the single most important term to understand when choosing a line for spin fishing. This term refers to the amount of weight a line can handle before it breaks. For example, an 4 kg test line shouldn't break with anything less than 4 kg's worth of pressure.

While test is important, it's not the final word on a fishing line's strength. A few other factors, such as a line's "stretchability," make a difference in how much pressure it can handle. In addition, tiny nicks or abrasions can seriously reduce a line's strength.

What Test Line Do I Choose?

If you already own a spin fishing rod or reel then this choice should be relatively simple. Your rod and reel are designed for a specific range of pound-test lines (say 4 kg to 10 kg test, for example). Make sure you choose a line with a pound-test rating that falls within the specification of your rod and reel.

Match Up Lines and Lures

Your line should match well with the size lure you plan to use. Tiny lures won't have enough momentum to pull heavy test line off the reel when you're casting. Cast too heavy a lure with light line and you may end up breaking the line and hurling the lure into oblivion.


In general, the thinner the line (and therefore the lower pound-test of the line), the better. Thin line cuts through the air better than thick line, allowing you to cast further with less effort. Thin line travels more quickly through water, getting your lure down in front of fish more quickly. Thinner line is also a lot less conspicuous in the water and therefore much less likely to spook fish.


When fishing lures that require a delicate action, you'll want thin, limp lines that won't interfere with the lure's movement. Heavy lines can sometimes drag lures through the water with very "dead" actions.


Nylon monofilament stretches. This is a good thing since most anglers (especially those new to the sport) tend to set the hook too hard. When this happens, a little stretchability goes a long way toward preventing you from snapping your line.


Choosing a line color, like many fishing tackle decisions, is a matter of personal preference. Clear lines are always a good choice since they're relatively invisible in the water and are therefore not likely to scare fish. Bright lines, however, will help you see the line above the surface and possibly give you a jump on detecting strikes and setting the hook. Experiment a little until you find a line color that you can fish with confidence.

Wear and Tear

Stand guard against line abrasion when you're on the water. When you fight fish they will often drag the line against rocks, sticks and other submerged structures. All this action takes its toll on line. Nicks and abrasions will make your line highly susceptible to breaking. Make sure to check your line often while fishing. It's a good idea to cut off the last 10 feet of line or so after every couple of fish and re-rig your lure.

Storing Line

Sunlight and heat damage fishing lines. Make sure to store your lines in a cool, dark place when not in use. Keep in mind that few things degrade fishing tackle faster than saltwater. Make sure to rinse down all your tackle, including your line, after a day on the saltwater.

You may also want to read up on some other articles I have written about Casting, Lines and Lures.

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Comments to: Copyright © 1996-2007 Disclaimer Page last modified: 7th of July 2002.