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