How to NEVER Get Spooled By A Fish [Video]
Did you know it should be virtually impossible to get spooled by a fish?
Let me explain…
One of the best things about saltwater fishing is that you never know what type of fish will be on the end of your line next…
And since some species get incredibly big and are very strong, some simply will be too big to land if you’re using gear for smaller fish.
So it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself battling a fish that will simply not stop taking line out because it’ll most certainly be a death sentence for the fish if it’s dragging around 100+ yards of line…
And having all that line out will not be good for the environment since other animals could get tangled up in it, too.
Fortunately, there is a very easy way to ensure that you never get spooled… no matter how big the fish is or how small the reel.
Never Get Spooled Case Study [VIDEO]
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Here are some tips to follow to make sure that you never get spooled by a fish no matter how powerful it is or how light of line you’re using:
1. Tighten the Drag
As soon as you start running low on line and believe that the fish cannot be stopped, you should first tighten the drag to put as much pressure as possible on the fish.
Note: If your reel’s max drag is less than the line’s breaking strength, then be sure to be ready to quickly move to the next step (manually add pressure) to ensure your reel’s drag doesn’t get compromised.
2. Manually Stop The Spool
When a fish cannot be stopped by maxing out drag, then you’ll have to manually apply pressure to the spool so it stops allowing line to leave the spool.
Below you’ll see how to do that with both a spinning reel and a bait casting reel.
For spinning reels, this is very easy because you simply grab a hold of the spool to stop it from spinning…
Watch the video below to see this step in action where I hooked a bull shark that was just too big for my small snook setup!
Bait Casting Reel
And for bait casting reels, it’s not quite as easy but still isn’t difficult. You’ll simply need to apply pressure on the spool with your fingers (I use both thumbs as shown in the video below).
Note: If using line that has a breaking strength above 20 lbs with a big fish on the end of the line, the friction from the line on the fingers could hurt… so having gloves or something else to take the brunt of the friction would be needed.
When forcing the spool to stop spinning, one of two things will happen…
Either the added pressure will turn the fish back so you can start gaining line back.
Or, the tension on the line will cause the weakest point to give out… and that typically will be the knot that connects your line to your leader.
So even if you do break off, you’ll at least get your main line back and you’ll have saved the fish from having to drag 100+ yards of line around.
How To Never Get Spooled [Lesson]
Watch the video below to see how it is done with both a spinning reel and a bait caster:
So if you ever find yourself in a one-sided battle with a beast of the sea, make sure to never let it take all of your line.
Given that it only requires two simple steps (tighten the drag, and manually apply more pressure), the “getting spooled” phrase will never be part of your fishing stories.
And if anyone of your friends or family has ever told you a story about getting spooled, please be sure to send this article to them because it can save them from it ever happening again.
P.S. – If you think any of your angler friends would like this post, please Tag them or Share this with them. It would mean a lot to me.
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I think a better way not to get spooled is not to be out matched. A good fisherman should know the proper fishing gear for the fish specie that they’re targeting. For instance: I wouldn’t use a 4000 spinning combo to target gags or tarpon.
Very true, but there will often be times like the video shown above where the target fish (snook in this case) gets eaten by a much bigger predator. So knowing how to get the line back can help save money and the environment.
Good stuff Luke. I got spooled for the first time a few weeks ago, surf fishing. Of course there’s a mental element where I’m thinking I don’t want to lose this fish. At some point though you realize there’s no way I’m going to win this fight. I just had no idea of how best to handle the situation. I was spooled before I knew it. It is amazing how fast 150 yards will run off of a reel. I was concerned about 150 yards of braid out there being dragged around by this poor fish. I will certainly keep this in mind for the future.
These are the tips that really set Salt Strong apart. It’s not glamorous or exciting just good knowledge that a fisherman needs. I appreciate it.
Could you please send me the specs for the rod you were using in this video?
It’s a 7’6″ G. Loomis E6X – Heavy power.
This always work out for the best. That is proven facts. Because been doing this for last 50’s plus years. Sometimes doesn’t matter what you do they are going to take it all.
If you grab the spool before it’s too late, it will guarantee that no more line can go out which will ensure that a fish can’t take out all of the line.
while fighting a fish stick the end of the rod into the water let the fish fight the drag of the line under the water.
Yes, the water drag on the line helps put more pressure on a fish. But in cases like the video above where the 10 lb line was no match to handle the large shark, having the extra ~100 ft of line in the water would not have changed the outcome of having to break off.
Really valuable piece as many might not know what the outcome does to a fish or our environment.
Thanks. I just spooled up a fairly old reel (if 30 years is old) with mono. Just 200 yards. Got me thinking maybe I should have used braid over the top for extra yards. What would happen if it looked like I’d be spooled. It had me concerned for all the reasons you gave. Big helping tip on adding pressure to reel.
I always load braid on top of mono in my reels because the mono can be used to fill up the bottom of the spool that never sees the light of day while the more expensive braid can then be used where it counts up top (I use a minimum of 100 yards of topshot braid to make sure the mono doesn’t go out unless I think I can land the fish… once that knot goes out of the spool, then it could be the breaking point if you can’t stop the fish and have to break it off). Here’s a video showing the spooling process that I use: https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/how-to-spool-a-spinning-reel-with-braid/
Great subject and video! It’s something that I would bet 90% of fishermen never think of ahead of time. Especially with braid, hundreds of yards of line in the water is DEADLY to wildlife! With the advent of braid, most people are using much lighter tackle than years ago, so hooking a fish you can’t stop is a real possibility. ( Yes the braid can be much stronger than mono for its size, but most small REELS can’t utilize the extra pressure.)
Suggestion… use a small length of wood dowel, broom handle, or a knife handle to wrap the line around to break it off with. You can seriously damage gears, bail rotors, and conventional/baitcasting spool spindles trying to use the reel to pull with. And don’t use the rod to pull with! Same deal regarding pressure. Point the tip at the fish.
Most modern small reels can exert vastly more pressure than the reels of old.
A small Penn Torque has a Sunset setting of 33lbs.
You should have bought new gear for the modern braids or upgraded you’re stacks.
A Penn 113H pulls 19lbs out of the box, a 114H 21lbs. My 113H, even with higher gearing will pull 40lbs and my 114H, also higher geared pulls over 50lbs.
All settings off the top.
Stars can be banged down hard without probs. Lever drags are more picky.
Hey Raleigh, great advice my man! About ten years or so had some “leviathan” smoke my ambassador bait caster… was never the same afterwards! Great tip for the community!
That is useful information for those who have no clue and just let the fish take out all the line until it hits the spool knot and breakes there at the knot that is much weaker than the line. However, there is still a risk that, at least for a spinning reel, that the line will break where it goes around the bail roller. To minimize that chance, the fisherman can thrust his/her arm along the line between the reel and the first guide, and then make one or two twists of the arm to take some pressure off of the line at the bail. This is the same thing that can/should be done to break off a snag so that the line does not break at the reel and lose line all the way to the reel.
Obviously this should only be done with lighter line, maybe 15-lb or less. Also the other hand must be in full control of the spool, because the last thing one wants is to have 15-lb braid zipping out against your arm. If, however, you have control of the spool, there will only be a slight tightness around your arm, and that extra tightness will insure that the line does not break at the bail or at the spool.
Thanks for making time to leave the comment Randy! If using braid, that move should only be done using a glove or else there will be a high risk of getting cut by the line.
Never get spooled by attaching another line from ( a second rod and reel ) to the rod and reel getting spooled. When the fish tires out, you reel both rod and fish in.
I have heard of that for offshore fishermen where this is very little (if any) risk of the rod/reel in the water getting snagged on underwater structure. For inshore fishing, the rod/reel in the water would be most likely be dragging on the bottom which would put it at a high risk of getting stuck resulting in a very bad situation.