Bob Maindelle Guide Lines Aug. 9

An underfilled spool, left, robs the angler of casting distance and smooth drag operation. Spinning reels should be filled to within 1/16th of an inch of the spool’s lip, as shown on the reel on the right.

On July 28, I made available to the public for the first time a new lure designed specifically for summertime white bass and hybrid striped bass, called the MAL Lure, short for Maindelle’s All-Purpose Lure.

Thanks to the efficacy of Facebook, word about this lure, which had been in development for right at two years, spread quickly. By Friday, nearly 300 of these lures had been purchased either through the products page on my website or in-person.

One of these in-person purchases took place at the courtesy dock following my guided trip Tuesday. A gentleman, whom we will call “Tom,” had learned of the lures via my reports which I post on my website, on Facebook and on Twitter. He saw my clients using these lures on both topwater white bass early in the morning and on bottom-oriented fish late in the morning, and decided he needed to have a few for his own arsenal.

Tom had been through my on-the-water sonar training, and for his wedding anniversary one year, he and his wife booked a fishing trip with me. Being retired, he fishes Belton Lake regularly.

As I handed Tom the lures, I sat down on the dock with my legs hanging over the gunwale of his boat so as to hold his boat tight to the dock so we could converse a bit.

He commented how he saw my clients really catching fish on the MAL lure, and he asked about any tips I could offer for presenting the bait effectively in various scenarios.

I shared with him about the importance of keeping his retrieve speed high for both topwater fish and bottom-huggers.

Next, I began to share with him the importance (regardless of lure choice) of making long casts to fish feeding on topwater. At this point, I asked him which of his several rods he intended to use the MAL lures on. He pointed to two spinning rods. This is when I noticed a glaring error in his setup.

His two spinning reels were woefully underfilled. There was a roughly half-inch gap between the top layer of line on his spool and the lip of the spool.

An adequately filled spinning reel (or casting reel, for that matter) will perform much more satisfactorily than an underfilled spool in several ways.

Now, to some of you reading this, this will seem very fundamental, but Tom, who has been fishing for many years, had never heard of such a thing, so that convinced me to address this topic this week.

So what does a well-filled spool do for you? First, your casting distance will instantly improve. As a spinning reel spool is filled to capacity, the circumference of the line spooled onto the spool increases with each additional layer of line reeled onto that spool. The closer to the lip of the spool the line comes, the less friction occurs as the line exits the spool. The less friction encountered, the further the lure will go during the cast, all other things being equal.

Next, a well-filled spool helps your drag function more effectively. Reels’ drags are designed to work with a spool filled to capacity. If, for example, five pounds of force is exerted pulling line against a reel’s drag with a full spool of line, the spool will counter-rotate smoothly. If that same five pounds of force is exerted on a partially filled spool, the line will come off more stubbornly, thus increasing the overall strain the line is experiencing.

One of the situations I see regularly when anglers pursue topwater feeding fish is the tendency for anglers to get too close to the fish, thus spooking them as they chase after those fish with a trolling motor set on high. This pushes fish down and away. Instead of insisting on getting so close, anglers will do well to allow some standoff distance between their boat and the fish. Having a well-filled spool helps accomplish this and will allow the angler to catch more fish because more fish remain visible to the naked eye when not aggressively pursued.

To this point, I have spoken in general terms about having a full spool. To be specific, a full spool is a spool filled to the fill line engraved near the lip on many spinning reels. If such a fill-to line does not exist, then filling a spinning reel to within 1/16th of an inch below the lip will be adequate.

For casting reels, a bit more allowance is advisable. If a casting reel has no fill-to line, leaving about one-eighth of an inch is a good choice. The line on casting reels has a tendency to bunch on the far left side of the reel if the rod is held at an angle such that the line lays to the left of the rod’s tip throughout the retrieve, and vice versa. This is particularly true on long casts.

The casting reel can therefore be evenly filled before a cast is made, only to have bunching occur to such an extent that the line overflows the spool and begins to rub up against the inside of the reel’s frame.

This makes reeling more difficult and can damage the line. It will also decrease casting distance on the subsequent cast due to the added friction of the line being in contact with the immobile reel frame.

Some people will assume that if filling a spinning reel’s spool to within 1/16th of an inch is good, then filling a spool to level with the lip or even over the level of the lip is better. This is inaccurate.

Doing so invites tangles, and in the case of braid, invites wind knots which can be difficult, if not impossible, to get out of wet line, depending on how tightly the line is cinched before the knot is detected.

Back to Tom. The next day following our talk at the dock, I saw Tom at a distance out on the water. Judging by the number of fish he was catching and the way he was catching them, I just knew the combination of a full spool of line and the MAL lure was working well for him.

Since we had launched at different boat ramps, we did not have a chance to compare notes after we concluded our efforts that morning. As I arrived at my home office and checked email, I grinned when I saw an online order for three more MAL lures had been placed by him less than an hour after we had both departed the lake. Tom used the right lure with the right equipment in the right manner and went home a successful angler.

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