At the best of times, twisted monofilament can severely shorten your cast. At the worst, it can wrap around the tip of your rod, breaking it when a fish hits. Then there are the countless problems in between. Here’s why line twist happens—and how to fix it. 

Poor spooling: Typically, anglers will stick a pencil through the middle of a spool and have someone hold it while they wind the line directly onto their reel. This method works for a level-wind reel, but when loading a spinning reel this way, the mono has to turn 90 degrees from the manufacturer’s spool onto the reel, putting several hundred annoying full twists into the line. Instead, load the spool using an axis-to-axis machine or lay the spool label side up, so that the line feeds off counter-clockwise when you turn the reel handle clockwise.

Operator error: Another culprit can be a defective swivel—or not using one at all. This is especially true with spinner blades retrieved or trolled too fast. Check your swivels from time to time to make sure they’re working smoothly. One way to do this is to attach a spoon and run it close to the boat—it should wobble and flutter, not spin. Mono will also develop a bad twist if you crank the handle of your spinning reel while the fish is taking line. When the drag kicks in, be sure to stop reeling immediately and wait until the fish tires. 

Twist fixes: For stubborn twists, remove the terminal tackle, and while trolling, feed out the line and let the water resistance caress the twist out of it. If you’re on shore, feed out all the twisted monofilament in a straight line, then spool it back onto the reel, all the while pinching the line between your thumb and index finger. But beware: badly twisted mono develops weak points and it should be replaced.