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Fig. 1. This is a bunch of tangles that are the result of backlash.



Fig. 2. Here's another view of the same tangle after I've started taking it apart.




Fig. 3




Fig. 4



Fig. 5


Fig. 6







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FIXIT Q's & A's
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Okay, there are a number of things that come up with lure coursing equipment, and there are both obvious and not-so-obvious differences between continous-loop machines and drag lures.

First we're going to address drag lures because that's what most people buy - small portables that you can use with your dog at home.



Effective February 1st, 2011, we've designed and are now integrating a permanent device that eliminates all backlash (stay tuned for pictures on the "Machines" page).

If you have a machine without this device, you can order one from us and easily install it into your machine (call Pat or email her for details). For those of you who have machines without this device, the following discussion and and photos address how to fix the mess that backlash can cause.

Backlash is caused by the line getting tangled on the spool and creating a rat's nest. Backlash occurs because the line starts coming in faster than the spool is turning. The line flies in and, before it can be taken up by the spool, creates an arc or loop. The spool continues to rotate and captures the loop of line by pulling in more line on top of it.

The ensuing mess (see Figure 1) takes some time to untangle, but it does come apart - given enough patience. Here are a few tips on how to do it:


1. Preventing Backlash

There are a couple of things you can do to prevent this from happening. Your Lure Baby comes equipped with a tension bar to keep the line from grabbing the case as it exits or enters the case, but that doesn't always do the trick. You can try wrapping the line around the bar ONCE and see if that helps.

The most effective way of preventing backlash is to use your foot (PLEASE WEAR BOOTS!!) to move the string back and forth as it's coming in. That way you can watch your dog and move the line at the same time. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be fast, and you don't have to make it even. You just have to move the line back and forth.

If you have a helper, they can also do this by using their GLOVED hand instead of their foot (PLEASE WEAR LEATHER GLOVES), but using your foot is far easier. This is easier than it sounds and only takes a minute of practice.

The other effective method of prevention is to have a "levelwind" or string lead mechanism installed by us. It won't completely eradicate backlash, but it will keep it to a dull roar and keep the line from jamming during the runs. It may tangle up on the way out but it won't on the way in, which is more important (at least to your dog!). We're still developing this mechanism, and we'll let you know when it's available.


c. One other thing you can do is get a standard U-bolt from your local hardware store and stick it in the ground over the line in front of the case. The object here is to slow the line enough to prevent the backlash but not enough to slow the lure. Don't jam it in so the line doesn't move, just enough to put a slight amount of tension. Of course, this doesn't work with very fast dogs, so it's not a viable option for most situations.


2. Untangling the Mess

a. DO NOT PULL ON THE LINE. No matter how frustrated you get, pulling on the line will only make the tangle worse. Remember, this is not a knot - its a series of loops that are held down by string that has been wound over them. Check out the short video on the VIDEO page - it might clarify things. Please be aware that this video is really big (still working on sizing it...) so it will take a while to load.

Release some of the tension on the line and start lifting the loops and line away from the barrel of the spool. This will reveal where the line goes and you can follow it around the spool working backwards, untangling as you go. Once you start working, it will get easier. Figure 2 shows how the loops are revealed as you start the process.

Cutting the line is the option of last resort because even if you cut off one section, there will likely be more loops underneath. Just keep at it and it will come apart.



Your Lure Baby comes with the line already spooled for you but if, for some reason, you need to put all new string on the spool, here's how to do it safely and evenly.

a. Assuming you have a bench with a hole in it, stick a long screw-driver through the string-spool and into the hole in the bench (Fig. 3) so the spool will stay up while you're pulling line off of it.

Start by running the end of the line under the tension bar (Fig. 4) and into the spool area.

Next, push the end of the line through the keeper hole on the inside of the left flange of the spool and tie a knot in the end (Fig. 5 & 6). If you want, you can put a piece of tape over the knot so it doesn't cause trouble (Fig. 7). You're now ready to spool!

Unspool several yards at a time from the big spool onto the floor. Don't worry, it won't knot up. It does sometimes grab but you can control whether it will get pulled into the case with by just stopping the spinning.

USING HEAVY LEATHER GLOVES, lift and hold the line between the Lure Baby spool and the tension bar in one hand (Fig. 9) and start spooling by nicking the hand control in your other hand.

Do not keep tight tension on the line - taut is good but tight is very bad. You don't need to go 90 miles an hour to do this - slow is definitely better with this task.

As you're spooling, move your hand from left to right and back and forth while the line is coming in. This will make the line go onto the spool evenly (Figs. 10 & 11). Again, you don't need to go fast - you're not a fishing reel!

Voila! You've spooled 400-600 yards of line and you're ready to run again!


As usual, if you have questions just call Pat!


Lucy the Leaf Queen...

All photos this
page by Pat Bennett







Lucy is waiting for me to untangle this mess!



This is what your line will look like when you're UNspooling it - just don't step on it!.



A closeup of the loops, held down by strands of line.




Here's a short video that might help with untangling a backlash.








Fig. 7




Fig. 8


Fig. 9


Fig. 10


Fig. 11