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Boat Multiplier Reel

The multiplier reel has been with us for over 70 years. It is probably the most well developed reel that the angler will use. Initially the multiplier was popular in the USA for bait casting, but over time it has been developed into a reel suitable for boat fishing, big game fishing and beachcasting.

The multiplier is unique in that it is the only reel that is used on the top of the rod. In other words, the rod is held with the guides on the top rather than underneath. This facilitates control of the revolving spool by the thumb. The vast majority of multiplier reels are right handed, but manufacturers are gradually introducing left hand models.

The multiplier gets its name from the fact that there is gearing between the handle and the spool. This gearing multiplies the rotation of the spool in relation to the rotation of the handle enabling a much faster retrieve speed than a conventional reel.

For the purposes of this article we will ignore the big game reels design for blue water fishing, and concentrate on multiplier reels used for inshore boat fishing, beachcasting and baitcasting.

Casting Multiplier ReelCasting Reels < View Herehttp://www.tacklebargains.co.uk. >
Multipliers designed for casting tend to be wider and lower than boat fishing reels. These features make the reel more stable on top of the rod, and make it possible to control the revolving spool easily and sensitively with the thumb. More importantly, casting reels tend to have lightweight spools, made of aluminium or a strong plastic material. The lighter spool reduces the inertia and enables longer casting. Casting reels may be fitted with a level wind that automatically lays the line evenly across the spool as it is retrieved. A reel with a level wind might not cast quite as far as a reel without one, but having the line laid evenly automatically can be a distinct advantage.

Good quality casting reels may be fitted with either magnetic or centrifugal brakes that can be adjusted to help control the speed of the revolving spool during casting. It is possible to adjust or remove these brakes. However, they are there for a purpose, and until you are an extremely proficient caster it is better to have the assistance of the brakes to control the spool.

On the opposite side of the reel to the handle there is often a knurled knob. This is used to centralise the spool within the reel frame. However, it can also be used to control the free running of the spool. It is often advised to set your tackle up, then hold the rod our horizontally and release the spool. Adjustment of the knurled knob can speed up or slow down the rotation of the spool. For casting purposes it is often suggested that the reel is adjusted so that the lure or weight on the end of the line just pulls line from the reel. This is another method of controlling the speed of the revolving spool during casting.


Boat Fishing Multiplier ReelBoat Fishing Reels < View Herehttp://www.tacklebargains.co.uk. >
Multiplier reels designed for boat fishing over rocks, reefs or wrecks tend to be taller and narrower than casting reels. As the terminal tackle is just lowered over the side of the boat, there is less requirement for sensitive control of the spool, but please remember that the spool still has to be controlled. Pulling a decent fish like a pollack or a conger up from the depths of the ocean will put tremendous strain on the reel; especially on the spool, and it is for this reason that boat fishing reels are fitted with metal spools. There have been cases of metal spools exploding under the strain of line rewound under continuous high strain, so a plastic spool will stand little or no chance. Some boat fishing reels may be fitted with a level wind, but it is usual to control the lay of the line with the thumb during the retrieve.

More advanced boat fishing reels may be fitted with a dual gearing system to make the retrieval of a big fish easier. This lighter gearing will also reduce the compressional forces of the line on the spool. The best advice is to use it if you have it.

After a heavy day’s fishing it is advisable to put a light sinker on the line and lower it to the bottom, then retrieve it slowly, laying the line evenly on the spool as you go. This will reduce any built up pressure on the spool and put the reel into readiness for the next trip.


Loading Line

Multiplier spools can hold a lot of line; much more than the average fisherman needs. The spools also have a very narrow diameter that imparts memory to the line. It is always advisable to put a decent layer of backing on to a spool before loading it with your chosen fishing line. The backing builds up the diameter of the spool, reducing memory and increasing the retrieval rate per rotation of the spool. It also saves you money by reducing the amount of line you need to purchase. Backing also acts as a cushion when line has been retrieved under pressure. Backing should be soft and light. It should be loaded under a small amount of pressure, just sufficient to keep it in place on the spool. The main line should be tied to the backing (just in case). If you are loading braided line you must load backing. Braid is notoriously slippery and it will slip around the spool. A decent layer of backing will prevent this.

The line on a multiplier reel comes off the top of the spool, and through the level wind if fitted, so whilst the handle is rotated in a clockwise direction to retrieve, the spool actually rotates in an anti-clockwise direction. When casting of course, the spool will revolve in a clockwise direction, paying line out at the required speed. Most manufacturers suggest that the line is loaded to within 3mm of the top of the spool. If you are beachcasting, remember that you will also have to add a few metres of 50 pound test shock leader.

If your reel does not have a level wind, use your thumb to lay the line evenly across the full width of the spool. The line should be loaded under pressure to keep it in place, and to restrict layers of line bedding into the layer below. Keep the pressure constant throughout the loading process.

Controlling the Spool
Regardless of whether you are dropping a pirk over the side of a boat, casting a lure for pike, or casting 100 metres into the surf, you will have to control the speed of the spool in order to avoid the dreaded overrun (birdsnest). As your bait drops to the bottom or your lure or weight travel through the air, they will lose speed, however, the spool of your reel may continue to revolve at a more constant speed, and there will come a time when your reel will pay out line at a faster rate than you pirk is dropping or your lure is travelling through the air. Certainly, when your pirk hits the bottom or your lure hits the water it will stop travelling altogether, and you must be in a position to stop the spool of your reel revolving instantly.

It is for this reason that you set up your reel before fishing to balance the weight of the terminal tackle against the resistance of the spool, but this is not enough. It is necessary to use your thumb to feather the spool in order to match the speed at which it pays out line to the speed at which your pirk or lure needs to take line. Gradually through the casting process you will apply increasing pressure to slow the spool down until when the lure hits the water the spool is revolving slowly enough to be clamped firmly to a stop by your thumb. Magnetic and centrifugal brakes are only an aid to casting; they do not control the speed of the spool for you.

It goes without saying that this process takes some practice, and in the case of beachcasting it can involve some lessons from a professional instructor. He best advice is to start with a light weight and practice lobbing it 30 or so yards, then gradually increase the weight and the distance over a period of time.


The Drag
Before you start fishing take time to adjust the drag on the reel. This is often adjusted by rotating the star shaped drag immediately behind the handle. However, on more advance boat fishing reels it can be a lever situated on top of the reel casing to the right of the spool. The drag will avoid you putting excessive pressure on the line whilst fighting a fish. If you hook a big fish and it runs hard, the drag will pay out line under pressure. This will avoid the line breaking. The drag can be adjusted during the fight if necessary so that more pressure can be applied as the fish tires. If you do this, please remember to slacken the drag off as the fish is brought over the net or gaffe, as the final lunge of a fish will often be enough to snap a tight line.

At the end of a day’s fishing, release the lever or star drag. Don’t leave it under pressure.


Advanced Casting
There are many extremely proficient anglers using multiplier reels for pike and salmon fishing as well as beachcasting, but it is the beachcasting fraternity that has become obsessed with distance. There are a few fishermen who can cast over 270 yards, however don’t be misled by these accomplishments. In truth the average fisherman using typical fishing tackle with a fully baited rig will struggle to make 100 yards. It is very easy to watch your tackle hit the water after a good cast, and announce that it must be 100 yards. Try the same thing on a level field, then measure it.


Good equipment plays a large part in successful casting, a balanced outfit (reel – rod – line – weight) is important. Check the guides on your rod to make sure that they are not damaged; make sure that your reel fitting is secure; balance the strength of your shock leader against your terminal weight (10 pounds breaking strain for every ounce of weight is a starting point); make sure that your reel is in good condition. It is necessary to service a reel to keep it in good condition, and it is also possible to tune a reel in order to improve performance. If you don’t know how to do this, go to someone who does, and get them to show you.


The multiplier reel is a wonderful invention, but it is also one that requires some practice before it is mastered. Our best advice to you is to ask for help and advice from a more experienced friend. There is nothing wrong with having a few lessons from a professional instructor. A few pounds spent now will avoid hours of frustration later.


Buy the Best
If you can afford to buy a decent quality multiplier reel, then do so. The quality of the gearing, the strength of the frame and the balance of the spool are critical factors that determine the performance of the reel. Once you have invested in a decent reel look after it. Keep it lubricated, keep it clean and either service it yourself or have it serviced professionally. A decent multiplier reel will give you years of service, and it will be backed up by a sensible warranty and a good spares service.

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