Reels, Reels, Reels…

A mess of winter crappie caught through the ice using K&E Stopper Lures inline reels and Whip'r Rods

A mess of winter crappie caught through the ice using K&E Stopper Lures inline reels and Whip’r Rods

There are many different styles of fishing reels in the industry today. All of which have their place or function in one way or another. I would like to discuss a certain type of reel that faded throughout the years and has been making a strong come back, especially in the circuit ice fishing ranks.

Of course I am talking about the inline reel. Inline reels were extremely popular back in the 70’s and were one of the first “ice” reels ever developed. Throughout the years, the technology in spinning reels improved, offering spectacular performance in a smaller frame reel. The age old plastic inline reel became all but extinct.

Now, with more and more people discovering the importance of zero line twist while jigging through the ice, especially when fishing for panfish, these reels are back in action, both the classic plastic models, but also growing with technology and now available in aluminum with line drag systems.

The science behind these reels is simple. Line transfer from a vertical rod directly onto a vertical reel offers minimal line twist. By having a larger spool, you can also achieve a lot less memory in your monofilament line as well. A spinning reel transfers line from a vertical rod onto a horizontal spool on the reel, which in turn, twists the line up to a full rotation with every crank.

Line twist, for those readers who don’t know, is the enemy. It causes your bait to spin like a helicopter blade under water. This, of course, is not a natural movement to almost every aquatic animal, and the fish know this. Granted, you may still catch fish with this action below the surface, but the larger, educated fish, know that this movement should not be there and more times than not, will just sit back and watch the show and move on.

We spool our inline reels a little differently as well, putting in extra care and attention to all but eliminate line twist completely. We do not fill our reels directly from the manufacturer’s spool, rather, we draw the amount of line off the spool we want to use, usually on a windy day outside, let the wind drift the line in front of you, and then spool our reels. The wind works out any pre twisting that may be in the line from the manufacturer.

While we spool our line, we drag it between two tightly pinched fingers. This pre-stretches the line which also helps not only solve the twist problem, but helps against memory in the line, and can also make the line more sensitive to the bite.

Ice Fishing ReelThere are many different styles and manufacturers of inline fishing reels. We prefer the classic plastics by K&E Stopper Lures. They work great, are easy to install, and won’t break the bank so you can easily rig as many rods as you want at a minimal cost.

The next time you are out chasing those massive slabs, give running inline reels a try, follow the simple rigging steps shared hear, or experiment with your own. I can promise you will see the difference in these reels compared to spinning reels, and with any luck, begin to up your bag while out on the ice.

Good luck and be safe!

Filed Under: FeaturedIce Fishing TipsK&E Tackle


About the Author: Raymond and Mandolyn Tiffany are a professional husband/wife ice fishing circuit duo who live in Kaukauna, WI. Avid conservationists and sports-persons whose primary focus is children and helping them to be involved in the outdoors and ice fishing. K&E Stopper pro staff, Clam Corp pro staff, Strikemaster pro staff. Team quote: "Learn what you can, teach what you know." NAIFC competitors. WIFL competitors. Open to fish with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Let's go fishing and make your new fishing partner a "MANIAC!"

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