How do I stop excessive line twist while fishing?

A small brass swivel, when properly used, is a very inexpensive and efficient way of keeping a fishing line in good condition. Besides side casting, curls and twists can appear in a line from many causes. These can be quickly alleviated by the correct use of a swivel.

The swivel must be on the line, above any rig or attachment to the line. That is, the first item on the line, after it passes through the rod runners is a swivel. It must be as small as practical.

Suggested swivel and line combinations:

  • No. 14 swivel – up to 5kg line
  • No. 12 swivel – up to 5-8kg line
  • No. 10 swivel – up to 8-15kg line
  • No. 8 swivel – up to 15-20kg line

While the sizes may seem small to some fishermen, they are manufactured from a brass wire with a diameter in excess of the diameter of the nylon monofilament to which they will be matched, and consequently have a far greater breaking strain than the line.

Many Anglers use a mistaken theory that a large swivel will perform better, however, in practical use it is just the reverse. When light lines are matched with heavy swivels, there is insufficient strength in the line to cause the swivel eye to spin freely, and a build-up of twist occurs in the line.

Similar trouble exists when the swivel is fouled with seaweed or sand, or has been allowed to become corroded and hard to turn. Using a swivel under the lead sinker as a stop on the line will also restrict its action, and this rig should be avoided, unless a second swivel is attached to the line in a workable position.


How do I tie the line off when storing my reel?

The Alvey Reel does not have a line clip but this simple knot works well.
Is easily tied while the reel is still on the rod.

Wind a loose coil of line over your finger and around the reel’s line
surface so the tag end comes back to your finger.
Tie a half hitch around the line that is over your finger, pull up and
the knot will tighten on the line surface.
Pull down and the knot will release.

Please do not clip the line under your release lever. This may damage the rivet causing the lever to become loose.

What is the most suitable line for an ALVEY?

A stiff line is better than a soft line because it does not tend to absorb the twist from the casting action. This can be checked by winding some line around your finger and releasing it , a stiff line will unwind quickly back to a semi straight format where a soft line will not unwind easily and will retain some of the coiling from being on your finger.

A smaller diameter line will always cast better than a thick line so always use the thinnest line you can get away with. If fishing around rocks you will need to use a thicker line to avoid damage from sharp rocks and oysters etc.

Breaking strain of your line is dependent on your rod size and action and the weight of rig you are casting. Most rods usually are marked with the maximum breaking strain of the line recommended by the manufacturer. It is also common to use a “leader” which forms your rig of a heavier grade line than your line on the reel basically to protect the rigs near obstacles on the bottom where you are fishing and from the fish’s teeth should they bite above the bait.

When casting very heavy weights on a strong rod some times a “shock leader” is used which means the first say 10 meters of line off the reel will be a heavier line to get the cast away but after that you go back to a thinner line to get the best distance into your cast.

Please also read our comments on the web site about the correct use of swivels to avoid excessive line twist.

How do I wind line on to the spool?

Always take the line from the front of the dispenser, never the side.

Wind line firmly and evenly onto the spool, spreading the line with your fingers to give a smooth casting base.

Never stretch a nylon monofilament onto a spool; when it goes back to its original length it will exert strong enough crushing action to damage your spool.

Never allow loose coils to develop on your spool through careless uneven winding.

Adopt the habit of applying light finger tension when retrieving line and spread evenly over its bed.

Can I use braid on an Alvey reel?

Braided lines can be used on Alvey Reels, but due to their ferocious ability to slice fingers, they should always be used with caution! Pumping and winding is imperative when winding line to reduce the line pressure across the guiding finger.

The following points are also worth considering if using braid lines on Alvey Reels:

  • Braid can be very difficult to tie, especially when night fishing.
  • Because braided lines tend to hold water and are lighter than monofilament lines, they often catch the breeze making a large ‘bow’ when used with long surf rods. This can make feeling bites even harder than with ‘mono’ line.
  • Tying a good length of monofilament line as a wind on leader avoids the braid cutting fingers when casting. This will also make knot tying easier when changing rigs.
  • An alternative to braid is the new Platypus Lo-Stretch monofilament line, which has very little stretch and an extremely fine diameter.
  • Braided lines are best used on non-cast Alvey boat reels. Because these reels have a straight edge spool to maximize line capacity, the line does not need to be guided on when retrieving.
  • We strongly recommend the use of a finger stall if using Braided lines.

What is better for maintaining my reel, oil or grease?

Although grease will stay on the reel a lot longer it does have the disadvantage of ‘gumming up’ after time, making the reel harder to wind and can stop the drag pawl engaging. It also collects sand and becomes more of a grinding paste than lubricant.

After a days fishing a quick rinse in fresh water and the application of our Alvey Oil (or sewing machine oil) on moving parts such as the spindle, casting mechanism, handles and drag pawl and lever, will ensure your reel is ready for any action on the next fishing trip.

My drag reel 'clicks' as I turn the spool even though the fish alert is off.

The most common cause of this is the silent drag mechanism.

Remove the spindle screw and ‘D’ washer, then remove the spool from the back plate.

On the back plate you will see a bronze or brass drag pawl with a pin protruding.

Underneath the spool you will see a cam with a slot.

When assembling the spool to the back plate ensure that the pin on the drag pawl fits into the slot on the cam. This is best done with the drag in the ‘OFF’ position. Now engage the drag in the ‘ON’ position and wind forward. If assembled correctly the reel should now be silent. It may take a couple of goes to correctly assemble.

Now replace the ‘D’ washer and spindle screw.

I can not get enough drag tension on my lever drag reel.

You can increase or decrease the amount of drag tension available on this style of reel by rotating the handle plate.

To do this first remove the spindle screw from the front of the reel, and then remove the ‘D’ washer.

If you now undo the top handle plate lock nut whilst holding the handle plate, you will be able to remove the handle plate. Take note of the current position of your handle plate.

You will notice that the friction tube where the handle plate was located has 3 slots.

To increase the amount of tension you can apply through the drag advance the handle plate 1 slot in an clockwise position.

To reduce tension rotate 1 slot in an anti-clockwise position.

Replace the handle plate lock nut finger tight only to check your drag tension. If satisfied tighten but take care not to over tighten as you may damage the friction tube. Replace the ‘D’ washer and the spindle screw.

How do you locate the drag pawl springs?


How do I restore my wooden spool?

The vast majority of wooden spools were Cedar, some were Silky Oak, and very early models may have been Camphor Laurel. Boat reels were manufactured from Marine Ply. If the spool is a reddish colour, the spool is Queensland Red Cedar timber.

The original reels had a Rosewood stain applied to add colour, over a Mahogany grain filler which was applied to the bare timber. To restore the final finish any clear lacquer used for timber floors is suitable. These are usually a two pot mix to achieve a hard surface and are usually UV stabilized to withstand sunlight (Polyurethane is one example). Sand between coats with a very fine sand paper or use Scotchbrite pads to achieve a fine finish. To achieve the best finish, the reel should be rotated while being painted then left to dry thoroughly between coats. The more coats applied, the deeper the finish.

Can the chipped edge on my spool be fixed?

If your spool is a yellow DMC spool this can be patched with Plasti Bond compound or Araldite available from your local hardware.

Slightly over fill the chip and allow compound to set then sand back to shape with very fine sand paper (minimum 240 grit) or file.

Bakelite spools can be patched with Araldite using the same method and you may even glue a broken section back into the spool.

Later spools are injection moulded and any rough surface areas can usually be sanded back to be smooth or again use Araldite if required.

How do I tie the line off when storing my reel?

The Alvey Reel does not have a line clip but this simple knot works well.
Is easily tied while the reel is still on the rod.

Wind a loose coil of line over your finger and around the reel’s line
surface so the tag end comes back to your finger.
Tie a half hitch around the line that is over your finger, pull up and
the knot will tighten on the line surface.
Pull down and the knot will release.

Please do not clip the line under your release lever. This may damage the rivet causing the lever to become loose.

How do I register for warranty of an Alvey reels Product?

To register a product warranty, please click here.

Do Alvey make reels with left hand wind?

Yes most models will have a left hand retrieve version. The exception being some of the deep sea winches and smaller boat reels. Please check on our products page, these exceptions are noted.

The Turbo Cast reels are only available in right hand wind.

Can an Alvey Reel be used for fishing with Soft Plastic lures?

Alvey Reels are ideal to use with soft plastics. Because the Alvey Reel offers a 1:1 retrieve ratio and provides positive feel through your index finger, you will feel the slightest bites. Soft Plastics are usually fished slowly and the Alvey 1:1 ratio means you know exactly how quickly your plastic is ‘swimming’. The other benefit is that once connected you will have maximum winding power. Alvey recommend the use of a small swivel a short distance from the plastic to reduce any tendency for line twist.

A tip when fishing plastics is to always keep the line tight (no bowing). This means that when you lift the rod tip to provide lure action, always wind up the slack as you drop the rod tip for next movement. Always ensure you are fishing the lightest possible jig head for the prevailing conditions.

Because the styles of Soft Plastics vary considerably it is advisable to ask your local tackle shop about rigging at the time of purchase.