Capps & Coleman on Mastering The Long Rod
Phillip Gentry
When other anglers were crappie fishing with shorter rods, crappie icons Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman were mastering the use of long rods and racking up wins on the crappie circuits.
Capps points out that mastering the long rod isn’t nearly as difficult as mastering the line used with the rod.
Line spools onto a spinning reel in a counter clockwise direction. Make sure it comes off your supply spool in a clockwise motion to load without twist.
Even on the water, anglers can relieve twist by cutting off the bait and allow the line to trail behind the boat, then slowly reel it back in, re-tie the bait and continue fishing.
Two anglers who learned this valuable lesson early on were crappie icons Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman. They topped the charts using 12 foot rods while other anglers were still using 8 and 9 footers. When the crowd finally reached 12, Ronnie and Steve were pushing 14 and were hard at work helping the folks at B’n’M design a 16 foot rod.

Ronnie Capps was quick to explain that mastering the long rod even took he and Steve some time to get used to.

“Handling the long rod isn’t nearly as hard as handling the line on a long rod,” said Capps. “You just need to get your boat set up to where you can transport and fish with the big boys correctly. After that it’s all downhill except for managing the line. There’s just no place to go when you get line twisted around the end of your pole 16 feet out over the water in front of you.”

Both Capps and Coleman agreed that line twist gave crappie anglers more frustration than any other feature of crappie fishing with long rods. The duo also agreed that prevention before you hit the water would save much anxiety later on.

“Line twist will definitely give you a problem, especially on a high wind day,” said Capps.  “What happens is the wind will blow the line to the pole and it’ll stick or wrap up. And, a pole that has a lot of  dirt or scratch damage to it, one that’s been beat around and never wiped down, is going to be harder to deal with than one that’s slick and polished with something like Armor-All.”

Even rods that are well kept and maintained in the best of condition may produce some line twist problems during a hard day of fishing, especially with trolling rods where the line has a tendency to spin while baits are being trolling. As expected, Capps and Coleman have tons of experience with this dilemma as slow vertical trolling using long rods is their bread-and-butter tactic. Also as expected, they’ve worked out a solution.

“Don’t try to get your line untwisted with your pole pointed into the wind,” began Capps.  “Whatever jig or rig you’re using, turn around downwind,  and drop the bait in the water.  With the bait in the water, you’ve got more friction. Use that to pull the line through the eyes.”

Capps also uses the water to help with problems at the tip of the rod. 

“The number one thing, if the bait won’t pull the line through the guides, is to put the pole tip in the water.  Get it wet, lube it up, so to speak, then grab the line at the reel, put the pole tip in the water with the bait down in the water, and give it a little shake. Even if it’s twisted two or three times, it’ll work itself loose.”

Having the experience of both designing fishing rods as well as developing several brands of fishing line to use with them, Capps and Coleman are quick to point out that a number of line twist problems are prevented by the way the line is spooled on the reel.

“First thing, if you’re going to be fishing vertically for crappie, there’s no need to have 200 feet of line on your reel,” said Capps.  “Fifty feet is plenty, even 25 foot works a lot of times for us because we change our line so much and only put a minimum amount on there.”

Capps points out that most anglers load twist into their line when putting it on the spool simply because they don’t understand how the line is spooled on at the factory. All line is loaded in the same direction, re-spooling it in the same direction will automatically cause the line to twist.

“Line goes onto a spinning reel in a counter clockwise direction,” said Capps. “ Make sure when you spool it on that it comes off the supply spool clockwise so it will go back on clockwise without twisting.”

Even with the inevitable twist that occurs during fishing, Capps and Coleman have a final suggestion for freeing the line on the water.

“If you’re on the water, it’s really easy to cut the bait off and just put the pole tip in the water and pull a little line out till you get enough friction, the line will unspool itself,” said Capps. ‘Then,  crank the motor and motor down the lake until the line is extended all the way.  Let it untwist and reel it back in slowly and tie your bait or minnow rig on. Then get back to fishing.”

Here at B’n’M we not only make fishing rods, we also know how to use them. For other valuable tips on how to catch fish with B’n’M products, visit our website at and view our Free Articles and Tips From Our Prostaff Team.