Evolution of the Straight Line Reel: From Beginning to Better

The Frabill Straight Line 371 is one of the most technologically advanced reels of its kind on the market today.

By Brian “Bro” Brosdahl

I’ve always found it interesting to watch how fish react to my bait when I’m ice fishing. I began noticing a trend – my lure was spinning when I fished with regular spinning reels and as big bluegills approached, they were getting spooked away. This was true for other fish, too.

Line Twist and Spinning Lures

So, what was the problem? My spinning lure was caused by line twist. Spinning reels retrieve line by spinning it onto an arbor. After several drops and retrieves, the line starts to get twisted on the reel. It’s only natural for this line twist build-up to unravel at the lure. Not good! When you pause your lure for the fish to strike, it spins. This spin is unnatural and scares the fish away.

It became obvious that the ice fishing world needed a solution. When a fly-style inline reel was incorporated into ice fishing, the Straight Line was born. With Straight Line reels, line feeds straight off the spool, eliminating line coiling and spinning tackle.

Frabill engineers continued to make improvements to this concept. The Frabill Straight Line 371 is the result of several generations of Straight Line reels and is one of the most technologically advanced reels of its kind on the market today.

3 reasons why the Straight Line 371 is a must-have in my ice fishing arsenal:


Fish any water depth with speed. The 371 picks up an amazing 22 inches of line for every turn of the reel which is faster than most reels on the market.


Size matters with Straight Line reels and the spool on the 371 is huge. I use heavier backing on the inside of the reel with a fluorocarbon leader on the outside of the spool to keep the business end of the line fresh without changing the whole spool of line.


Avoiding lure spin is good for any type of ice fishing. While Straight Line reels were originally developed for small lures and light line, the 371 can be used with heavier line for jigging spoons and jigging lures for walleyes with the same positive results.

Click here for more rod and reel ice fishing tips from Bro.

Brian Brosdahl ice fishing for walleye with the Frabill Straight Line 371 reel.


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