Why Won’t The Spinning Reel Reel In? Most Common Problems Resolved

why won't the spinning reel reel in

Every angler has to face some sort of problem with their fishing reel from time to time. While most problems can be avoided with proper maintenance, one must know how to deal with the most common problem, i.e. “Why won’t the spinning reel reel in?”. 

Why Won’t The Spinning Reel Reel In?

No spinning reel is 100% perfect. So, eventually, you might run into the problem where your spinning reel is not reeling in. 

Most commonly, the problem can occur because of three major reasons:

Why Won’t the Spinning Reel Reel In? Probable Causes

Line Slipping

Line slipping is one of the most common issues you might face when using a braided line on a reel that is not braid-ready. 

Hence, when you tie the braided line directly to the spool, it won’t stick to the surface of the spool and the result will be the line slipping. 

Line Slipping

Regardless of whether you have an aluminum or graphite surface, the problem will occur in the same fashion. 

So, the bail arm will turn around the spool when you rotate the handle, but you won’t be able to retrieve the line because of the slippage. 

You may also like to check Why Does My Reel Keep Spinning?.

The Spinning Reel is Jammed

If your spinning reel gets stuck or locked or you find that you can’t turn the handle that means the reel is jammed. 

The jamming can occur because of a number of reasons, but the most common reason is not maintaining or cleaning the reel regularly. 

Hence, the dust and debris can settle inside the reel on gears and other components causing them to get jammed. 

The Spinning Reel is Jammed

Also, the problem is common with saltwater reels that do not have a sealing mechanism or advanced water-repellent technology. 

So, if you have been near saltwater recently or if the reel fell into saltwater, then the jamming is probably because of the salt settling in your reel.

This will cause the salt deposits to form on gears and other components, getting them stuck. 

Regardless of the reason, now you cannot move the reel handle, so you won’t be able to reel the spinning reel in. 

Check What Size Spinning Reel Should I Get

Line Not Wrapping Around Spool

This is more of a personal error that users commonly make in the beginning stages. While setting up the reel with the handles, beginners can forget to put the line under the bail arm. 

Line Not Wrapping Around Spool

Hence, no line will be wrapped around the spool when you turn the handle. Although you can see the bail arm moving when you rotate the reel handle, you still won’t be able to reel the spinning reel in. 

How to Fix Spinning Reel Not Reeling In Issues?

The issues we just discussed can be quite annoying and frustrating because none of them are caused by the spinning reel itself. 

How to Fix Spinning Reel Not Reeling In Issues,  

Why Won’t The Spinning Reel Reel In?

Your carelessness or mistakes lead to these issues, which could have been avoided in the first place. 

However, not that you have run into one of these issues, let’s discuss the possible solutions. 

Fixing the Line Slipping

There are two ways you can fix the braid or line slipping issue. The most effective way is to attach a monofilament line as a backing and then tie your braid line to that. 

Unlike the braided line, monofilament doesn’t have any problem with the spool’s surface, whether aluminum or graphite and sticks firmly to the surface.

Hence, it can be tied directly. 

There is also an easy method to do it. You can use some electrical tape to deal with the issue. Check How Do I Stop My Reel From Spinning Backwards?

Simply put some electrical tape on the spool surface before tying the braided line to it.

The braided line won’t slip on the electrical tape, so your reel will instantly become braid ready. 

Fixing the Jammed Reel

This one is not so simple. If you haven’t been maintaining your spinning reel, chances are the dust and debris have already settled in and caused the jamming. 

If the corrosion has gotten in, which comes from saltwater, then your reel is probably damaged beyond repair. 

However, if there is just dust and debris, then you can easily fix the reel.

You will have to open the reel, clean each gear and component and then lubricate them and put them back together. 

To do that, unscrew and take the reel apart piece by piece, cleaning with reel cleaner and using degreased to remove older oil and grease. 

Once you have completely cleaned out the dirt and debris, you can use the new reel oil or grease to lubricate the components, and then put them back together just in the order you took them apart. 

Remember to clean and lube your reel regularly from now onwards to prevent this issue from happening in the future. 

Also, if you are a beginner and haven’t done this before, then probably you should take your reel to a professional.

Taking apart the reel and putting it back together is a complicated process. So, it is not suitable for beginners. 

Fixing the Line Not Wrapping Issue

Unlike the previous issue, the line not wrapping around the spool is pretty easy to fix. Hence, if it happens you don’t have to worry much. 

Simply unscrew the drag knob at top of the spool, take it out and then take out the spool. 

Once you have removed the spool, you can open the bail arm and then put the spool back inside. 

Screw the drag knob back into its place. Now when you close the bail arm, the line will run under it. 

Hence, turning the reel handle will retrieve the line normally. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Most commonly it can occur because of three reasons. Either the line is not under the bail arm, the line is slipping on the spool or your reel handle is jammed. All of these problems can be fixed using proper methods. 

If you haven’t been cleaning and lubing your reel regularly, then your reel might be jammed because of dust, debris, and salt getting accumulated on the gears, bearings, and components inside the reel. Clean them up to resolve the issue. 

Your reel handle is stuck because the gears, bearings, and components have been jammed with dust, debris, or salt. You will have to open the reel and clean it up and then lubricate it to get it back to normal. 

Yes, you can. But you will have to make some adjustments to make it possible. You either have to use a monofilament backing or electric tape on the spool surface to prevent line slippage from happening and use the braided line. 

Wrapping Up!

If you are unable to reel in your spinning reel, you might have run into one of the three common issues we have discussed above. 

Now that you know why it happens, you can be more careful about your spinning reel and pay more attention to its maintenance. 

Proper maintenance, cleaning, and handling of the reel will prevent these issues and allow your reel to function normally with long service life. 

Got any questions? Drop them in the comment section below and I will get back to you.

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