How to Fix a Backlash

How to Pick Out a Backlash

The “professional overcast”, aka the common backlash is one of bass fishing most common nemesis. You can be having the time of your life out on the water, chucking and winding and catching big ones. Only to have it all come to a screeching halt as your spool explodes into a bird’s nest big enough for an eagle to take up residence.  

It happens. And though there are some ways to prevent a backlash, today we’re going to talk about how to rectify the situation if a backlash does occur.

Line backlashTake it slow

First thing’s first, take a deep breath. Try to control your temper and don’t let a backlash turn into a broke rod and a hissy fit. Take your time to assess the situation. Sometimes, when a backlash isn’t all that bad, you can simply pull gently on the line between your reel and the first eye of your rod and the spool will still spin slowly without catching. (Make sure the thumb bar is pressed and the reel is disengaged so the spool can turn freely). 

The key here is that you don’t snatch on the line and cinch it down into the reel. This will make a backlash almost impossible to pick out. Instead, if a gentle tug keeps the spool turning, keep making repetitive gentle tugs. If however, you get to a point where the spool stops turning, then you want to move to step two.

Fishing line backlashLook for a point in the line

If a gentle tug will no longer spin the spool, turn your attention to the spool itself. The tugging will typically create a sharp point in a loop of the line. Roll the spool back a bit so that you can find this pointed loop of line, then gently tug on that loop. This is often all it takes to free up the loop in the line that was stopping your spool from spinning.  

Now you can return to gently tugging on the line above the reel, and the spool should begin to spin again. Don’t be surprised or dismayed if you have to repeat this process every few tugs. It’s not uncommon for you to have to do this a half dozen to a dozen times before you’re able to pick the whole backlash out.

Fix fishing line with a line pickLine pick

Sometimes you’ll run into a particularly difficult backlash that will require the use of a line pick. A line pick is a tool designed specifically for the purposes of picking out backlashes. This tool has a super thin, strong hooked point that can be used to tug on tiny loops that you can’t take hold of with just your fingertips.  

A word of caution here though, it’s easy to do more damage than good with a a line pick. You have to be very careful not to damage the line as you work the pick into the spool in search of a loop to tug on. The sharp point can scrape fluorocarbon and monofilament and even separate the fibers of braided line. It’s best to make every effort to pick the backlash out with your fingers first, and save the line pick as a last resort.

Using a line pick for fishing line tanglesIn conclusion 

The best way to deal with a backlash, is to do your best to prevent one ever taking place. Because once one happens, you’re presented with very few options. In event that a backlash does occur, you can increase your odds of successfully picking out a backlash by being patient. Take your time and you’ll have a shot, most of the time. 

Make gentle tugs on little loops, keeping the line pulled through the reel guide and out of the reel little bit little as you go. Repeat this process every time the reel stops spinning. Occasionally, you’ll come across a backlash that is beyond saving. In that unfortunate situation, you’ll just have to cut the line off your reel and start over. But most of the time, this simple process will help make up for the mishap and get you back to fishing in no time.  

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