Hand Reels

The current edition of sea kayaker magazine shows a wooden hand reel that you can use for trolling, then “walk” in the line with one hand to reel in your catch.

Anyone use this type of rig for trolling? Any tips? I have plenty of light tackle for fishing, but this intrigues me…

Okeydokey… so nobody uses these?

Hand Reel
I use hand reels for kite flying and used to use them fishing. You need to use braided dacron “squiding” line when fishing as mono WILL cut right in to your hand. It is much easier to use a light weight rod and reel. I have several reels made by Boone Bait Co. from Winter Park FL and some made/sold by Premier Kite Co. They come in several sizes and most specilty kite shops sell them.

Hand reels need heavy line

– Last Updated: May-09-06 12:35 PM EST –

Haven't seen the hand reel that launched this thread, but have done a lot of hand line fishing, and so have used hand reels a lot. Wrapping it by one hand "walking" sounds inefficient compared to just holding the "reel" in one hand and wrapping line on it with the other, but as said, I haven't seen this one.

Also, it is usually inefficient to put hand line back on a reel as you bring in a fish and doing that will cost you some fish, unless they are very small. (I hand line in the ocean mostly, big fish). As you pull line in, just drop it in the bottom of your canoe or on the (uncluttered) deck of your kayak. If the fish runs, let him go. He can pull out the naturally coiled line without tangle. With line on a hand reel, he will be snubbed up solid, and usually something breaks or tears out.

A rod allows us to use light line because the tip flexes and cushions any hard pull on the line, rather than snubbing it up hard with no give. I have hand lined fished for trout through the ice (rainbows to ten lbs.) and you simply have to go to heavier line or you break it off when the fish darts a run and your hand doesn't give with enough quickness and finesse.

Also, as said, light line cuts into your hand.

Hand line in Pacific coastal waters usually runs 200-300 lb. test mono, not so much for strength as for ease on hands when handling fish of 20 lbs or more.

A board the size of a cedar shake, with a deep notch in each end makes a good hand line holder. The best, as I posted in another thread, is an Australian hand reel. It is shaped like a plastic doughnut a foot or larger in diameter, with a flanged rim that holds the line as you wrap it on. It is sort of like a giant open faced spinning reel, so that line comes off a lower rim or lip on one side of the flanged reel. It has a cross member across the middle of the doughnut, to hold in your hand.

I’ve never seen the Austrailian reels
I don’t know where you get an Aussie reel, but the “Cuban Yo Yo” type is availble at most tackle dealers and some coastal Wal-marts.

gave a full explanation here (read later posts):


Take a piece of 4" PVC pipe about 7" long. 2" from one end drill a 7/8" hole through both sides. Glue in a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe and smooth over. Tie your line on through the 1/2" pipe and wrap onto the 4" pipe. You place your hand into the 4" pipe and hold onto the 1/2" pipe. You can cast with this rig as it works like a spinning reel. Attach a float or make the pipe a couple inches longer and put foam in the end so you dont lose it. I have seen a lot of people using tin cans the same way. The PVC wont rust. Use heavy line like dacron not spectra.

Cuban Yo Yo looks good
Franknc, the Cuban Yo Yo looks like the Aussie reel except that it doesn’t have the beam across the middle of the donut ring. The cross beam gives another option for a way to hold it, especially good when casting. Thanks for the post. I’d never heard of the Cuban Yo Yo, and it is easier to get it in N. American than it is to buy the Aussie reel. The yo yo would work well, and I’ll bet a guy could glue or attach a cross beam handle easily if he wanted.

I spent about 20 minutes surfing the net and never could come up with a link to the Aussie reel. Aussie sports stores online sell higher end stuff rather than the ubuiquitous cheap local reels. A guy could e-mail an Aussie fishing tackle store and ask about getting one. Wish I’d bought several and brought them home in luggage.

Bohemia, thanks for the link to our earlier hand line discussion. Hey, I drove over the Deception Pass bridge a few days ago and thought of your upcoming paddle adventure in the San Juans. I want to paddle through the Pass, poke around some of the cliffs and eddys behind the center island under the bridge, just to do it. The view is stunning from on top, must be better from way down at water level.

For those not familiar with Decption Pass, a two lane highway through old growth forest shoots onto a bridge deck several hundred feet above salt water surging with the tide between cliff walls. The bridge spans to a tall rock pinnacle 3/4 of the way across the chasm, where the road turns 45 degrees onto a second bridge that arches onto a forested cliff wall on the other side.

New hand line reel in the market
Folks, I grew up handlining with the classic cuban fishing yoyo, these are very capable reels, in fact they were popular in south florida during the 50’s for swordfish.

We decided to re-invent the the yoyo to address some of its shortcomings and I believe the resulting product (the yoyito) is probably the ideal fishing device for kayakers, canoers and paddle boarders. At 3.5in it fits on the pockets of your PDF or any little cubby hole on your vessel. With 250+ft of 20 lbs premium monofilament your fingers won’t get cut like when you use dacron braid, I purposely selected various lines like Sufix Siege and Ande Back Contry because of their smoothness and ease on your fingers. Trolling is a perfect use of the yoyito, but you can also easily cast and it has enough line to land big fish like reds, snook, trout, bass, etc. I’ve caught just about everything with these over the past two years in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

For more information please visit our website at http://www.fishingyoyito.com

Hope this helps,