Tackling the Tangles: Why is My Fishing Line Curly?

brown rope on blue and red rope

Every angler, whether seasoned or novice, has experienced the frustration of dealing with a curly fishing line. A tangled, twisted line can not only hamper your casting distance and accuracy but can also lead to annoying snags and knots. But why does fishing line become curly in the first place? In this blog post, we will explore the common causes of curly fishing lines and provide some tips on how to prevent and fix this common issue.

Common Causes of Curly Fishing Lines

Line Memory

Line memory refers to the tendency of a fishing line to retain the shape it was stored in, usually wrapped around the spool of your reel. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines are particularly susceptible to line memory, which can cause them to develop coils and curls when you cast. This is because these materials have a higher degree of plasticity, allowing them to retain their shape more easily than other materials like braided lines.

Overfilled Spool

An overfilled spool can cause your line to come off the reel with excessive twists and curls. When the spool is too full, the line has nowhere to go but off the sides, causing it to twist and tangle as it leaves the reel.

Improperly Wound Line

If your fishing line is not wound onto the spool correctly, it can lead to twists and curls. This can occur if the line was wound under tension, wound too loosely, or wound in the wrong direction relative to the direction of the reel’s rotation.

Line Twist from Lures and Techniques

Certain lures and fishing techniques can cause your line to twist as you retrieve them, leading to curls and tangles. For example, using spinning lures or employing techniques like drop-shotting can introduce twists to your line, which may accumulate over time and cause curling.

Tips to Prevent and Fix Curly Fishing Lines

Choose the Right Line Material

Using a fishing line with low line memory, such as braided line, can help reduce the likelihood of curls and tangles. Braided lines have minimal line memory, making them less prone to retaining their coiled shape when cast.

Properly Fill Your Spool

To prevent overfilling your spool, make sure to fill it to the recommended level, usually about 1/8-inch from the edge of the spool. This will allow the line to come off the reel smoothly and reduce the risk of twists and curls.

Wind the Line Correctly

Ensure that your fishing line is wound onto the spool correctly by applying even tension and winding it in the same direction as the reel’s rotation. You can also use a line-winding tool or ask a professional at a tackle shop to help you wind the line correctly.

Use a Line Conditioner

Applying a line conditioner to your fishing line can help reduce line memory and make it more manageable. Line conditioners are specifically designed to reduce friction and soften the line, making it less likely to retain its coiled shape.

Check and Untwist Your Line Regularly

Regularly inspect your fishing line for twists and curls, particularly after using spinning lures or techniques that may introduce twists. To remove twists, simply hold the line with a slight tension and use your fingers to work the twists out towards the end of the line.

Practice Proper Line Management

Good line management practices can help prevent twists and curls in your fishing line. When reeling in, ensure that the line is under tension and entering the spool evenly. Additionally, avoid reeling while the line is slack, as this can introduce twists and tangles.

Use Swivels When Appropriate

Swivels are small, rotating connectors that can help prevent line twists when using certain lures or techniques. By allowing the lure to spin freely without transferring the twisting motion to the line, swivels can help reduce the risk of developing curls and tangles.

Replace Old or Damaged Line

Fishing lines, particularly monofilament and fluorocarbon, can degrade over time due to exposure to sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and general wear and tear. Replacing your fishing line regularly, or as soon as you notice signs of damage or excessive curling, can help ensure optimal performance and reduce the likelihood of tangles.


Dealing with curly fishing lines can be a frustrating experience, but understanding the causes and taking steps to prevent and fix the issue can help you enjoy a smoother, more successful fishing experience. By choosing the right line material, properly filling and winding your spool, using line conditioners, and regularly checking and untwisting your line, you can minimize the chances of developing curls and tangles in your fishing line. A well-maintained line will not only improve your casting distance and accuracy but will also reduce the risk of frustrating snags and knots that can hinder your fishing experience.