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Are your backlashes the reason your fluorocarbon is breaking?

by Yoshinori Mitani
Are your backlashes the reason your fluorocarbon is breaking?

The dreaded backlash in a baitcast spool can end the use of that reel very quickly. Whether it is an errant cast into the wind, or a skip cast that didn’t go as planned, a bad backlash can require a scissors to get you up and operational again. This video quickly shows you how to dial in a baitcast reel, to help you prevent this from happening. No matter how good you are, that errant cast still happens to even top-level tour pros. Protecting your line while removing a backlash will help your fluorocarbon last longer and prevent critical break offs.

Anglers choosing to use fluorocarbon line with a baitcaster reel may experience backlashes or loops in their lines during use. Those errant casts cause the spool to overrun and that creates loops, kinks, and tangles in your line. Those overruns can cause a kink in the line when they occur or when an angler is working to remove them. You pull on the line when it is stuck, and a kink is created in the line in that spot. Those kinks can damage your fluorocarbon line and lead to failure later during your usage of that reel and line. The more kinks you cause in your line the more damage you are doing to it and the more likely it is that your line will break when casting or during hooksets.

You take the kink like the one above out of your line and it may seem ok, but the damage is often done by then. Sunline has 15+ employees that work in their R&D Department and they spend their days studying line and factors that impact the performance of line. The Sunline R&D team studied the impact that kinks can have on the performance of fluorocarbon line on a bait cast reel.

Below you can see a cross section image of two lines when viewed under an electron microscope. Line A is a normal fluorocarbon line that you can see has no defects. Line B shows an image of the same line where it had been kinked. You will see in image B that micro cracks are now visible inside the line at the spot where it was kinked. Those micro cracks weaken the line and lower the overall performance of the line.

These lines were also tested for straight breaking strength before and after the kink. The line that had been kinked showed a measurable decrease in breaking strength. The micro cracks from the kink had caused the line to break at a 5% lower strength on average after repeated testing. More kinks are only going to continue to weaken the line causing it to fail below the rated level. This can often be seen when fluorocarbon line unexpectedly breaks in the spool on a cast. The kinks from backlashes in your spool have weakened it, so that it breaks inside the spool on a random cast.

The line damage from kinks is also magnified on powerful hooksets where higher stress is placed on the line, and it breaks at the weakest point.

Having your reel dialed in with optimum settings for that lure and technique is the best way to avoid backlashes. No matter what, backlashes and tangles happen when using baitcast reels, just make sure to remove the tangles as carefully as possible to avoid any kinks in the line which will decrease the breaking strength.