How to Calibrate Line-Counter Fishing Reels

Line counters are inherently inaccurate. Here's how to get your walleye bait in the zone.

How to Calibrate Line-Counter Fishing Reels

The more accurate your line-counting reel is, the more walleye trollers you’ll catch. (Shutterstoick image)

Most anglersthink a line-counter reel is the most accurate way of monitoring trolling lead lengths. Actually, line counters are inherently inaccurate; they’re factory calibrated with only one line diameter and type. Anglers using different line diameters will see false data.

Luckily, any line counter can be calibrated to any line type/diameter. Measure off and mark a known reference distance. Most use 100 feet as it represents the mid-range in common trolling leads. Two small stakes set exactly 100 feet apart works well.

Once a measured distance of 100 feet is marked off, load your line-counter reel with the chosen line type/diameter. Fill the reel to capacity, but do not cut the line from the filler spool.

Related: Deep Thinking for Fall Walleyes


Attach the line to one stake (planer board line releases work nicely) then zero out the line counter and walk until the rod tip is just touching the second stake. If the reel’s digital counter reads less than 100, it has too much line loaded and line must be removed from the reel. If the counter indicates a number greater than 100, then the reel doesn’t have enough line and more line must be added.


This is why the line isn’t cut from the filler spool until calibration is done. Achieve calibration by adding or removing line from the reel until the line counter says 100 feet when exactly 100 feet of line has been let off the reel. This process takes a few minutes per reel and ensures all reels in a trolling setup are speaking the same language.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them. Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing How-To

Try these basic approaches to catch river-dwelling smallies this summer. Playbook

Top Tactics for River Smallmouth Bass

Jeff Knapp - June 17, 2020

Try these basic approaches to catch river-dwelling smallies this summer.

Flexibility in natural bait and artificial lure presentation brings more red drum to the boat. Saltwater

Two Ways for Redfish

Jimmy Jacobs - June 22, 2020

Flexibility in natural bait and artificial lure presentation brings more red drum to the boat.

Some of the best trout-fishing action can be found in tiny trout streams and runs. Here's how to catch them. Trout & Salmon

Size Doesn't Matter; Go Small for Trout

Al Raychard - June 10, 2020

Some of the best trout-fishing action can be found in tiny trout streams and runs. Here's how...

There aren't many better ways to spend a summer night than skewering fish in the shallows. Playbook

Bowfishing from the Bank (Video)

Game & Fish Staff - June 24, 2020

There aren't many better ways to spend a summer night than skewering fish in the shallows.

See More Fishing How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now