Friday, August 3, 2012

Bait Casting Reels, Line Pawls

The other day Rylan, Amanda and I fished the Ohio River from 5:30am to 12:30pm. I initially tossed out two catfish rods just before daylight, two Abu Garcia 6500c3's paired with 7' medium heavy Shakespeare Ugly Stick Catfish Series rods. After a few casts I noticed that my level wind was getting caught on the right side of the reel. I had this happen before so I knew what the problem was. I quickly set the rod and reel aside and started re-tying my bass rod for bottom fishing.

As mentioned, I've had this problem before and I knew it was a line pawl issue. Line pawls are the pins that fit into the worm gear that cause the level wind mechanism on baitcasting reels to function. The line pawls are made from a softer metal than the worm gear so the line pawl wears out before the worm gear does. The line pawl moves vertically across the worm gear and it flips as it gets to the end of the worm gear, and then it repeats the process. Line pawls wear out when long hard casts are made, when reeling in heavy weights, and when the worm gear collects sand/dust.
Worn out line pawl on the left and new line pawl on the right.

Pictured above is two line pawls side by side, one used and one new.
Line pawl and worm gear.
Above is a picture of my old Abu Garcia 6500c3. The worm gear can be seen above the reel seat, and the line pawl fits into the cap on the worm gear. To replace the line pawl, remove the cap with a flathead screwdriver and pull the line pawl out with pliers, replace pawl and cap.
The next day I stopped by the local bait store and bought 2 line pawls for 6500's/6000s and 2 line pawls for my 7000's, so when this happens again I'll be prepared.


  1. hey i got one heck of a problem with my abu garcia 6600 cl rocket it first strted by making a weird noise when reeling well i continued t use it I caught a striper on it next thing i know the line pawl is stuk now and the line keeps reelign on one siude it still makes an awful noise when ireel though.If i just pull line off the reel the line pawl works just fine but as soon as i start reelign once it gets to that one side it stuck again also when it sticks the handle feels just a tiny bit stuck also but quickly comes unstuck with very little pressure what could this be

  2. Your line pawl has wore out. Its very common and easy to fix. There are a few places online you can order them....some baitstores even sell them. If they dont they can order them. All you have to do is un screw the cap and switch out the line pawls.

    I almost junked my reel when this first happened to me. Im glad it was just a 5 dollar fix.

    1. so a bad line pawl can cause the rattlew noise to?

  3. It will sound more like a grinding. ..its just the line pawls teeth jumping the tracks on the worm gear. If you fix the line pawl and the noise persists send me a message and we can go from there.

    Typically the next step would be to re grease the gears.

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