what is line counter reel and how it works

What is line counter reel and how it works?

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The more accurate your line-counting reel is the more accurate angler you will be. Line counter fishing reels are a must-have item for fishermen who are serious about trolling. Measuring the amount of line in the water permits you to accurately determine the depth of your fishing lures.

Line counter reels are reels that are capable of precisely measuring the length of line cast by the angler when the reel is released. The exactness improves the angler’s ability to replicate a cast to appropriate measurement, leading to greater accuracy during casting. Recently I wrote an article about The Best Line Counter Reels, You can check that.

If you’re trolling in deep water, line counter reels helps you to better understand the amount of line you’ve let out so you can reach exact depths. When you know both the speed your boat is travelling and the amount of line you have off the reel, ascertaining the depth you are fishing at becomes much easier. When you are fishing alone, you can set multiple line counter reels at different depths, allowing you to run various rigs together without worrying about snagging your own line.

Types of Line Counter Systems

There are two types of line counter system:

  • Manual line counter systems:  Manual line counter systems record the number of rotation made by the spool and compensations caused by variations of spool diameter is determined by preset calibrations.
  • Electronic line counter systems: Electronic line counter systems are more developed and can be calibrated to any line that is used. Though the manual line counter systems have the advantages too because of its maintenance, the electronic line counter systems are more accurate and specific.

Electronic line counter systems help you to make understand the desired fishing range accurately. But you have to spend money for its batteries because of periodic replacement. There have some chances of getting frustrated if display screens can develop faults.

How to Calibrate Line Counter Fishing Reels

Any line counters are often calibrated to any line type/diameter. Measure off and mark a known reference distance. Most use 100 feet because it represents the mid-range in common trolling leads. Two small stakes set exactly 100 feet apart works well.

Once a surveyed distance of 100 feet is marked off, load your line-counter reel with the selected line type/diameter. Fill the reel to capacity, but don't cut the line from the filler spool. Attach the line to at least one stake (planer board line releases work nicely) then zero out the line counter and walk until the rod tip is simply touching the second stake. If the reel’s digital counter reads but 100, it's an excessive amount of line loaded and line must be far away from the reel. If the counter indicates variety 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 completed. 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 excuse the reel. This process takes a couple of minutes per reel and ensures all reels during a trolling setup are speaking an equivalent language.

Recommended Line Counter Reels

We are going to introduce you with some line counter fishing reels you may try out.

  • Okuma Magda Pro
  • Okuma Cold Water Line counter Trolling Reel
  • Shimano TLD 2-Speed Conventional Reel
  • Penn Squall Level Wind
  • Daiwa Lexa LC300
  • Sougayilang Conventional Level Wind Fishing Reel


Advancements in science and technology have benefitted actually every sphere of human life and the fishing industry is not left behind. When there was no presence of line counter reels before advent, anglers had to measure their casts based on a number of turns made by the spool. So it came with great blessings for the anglers.

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