An improperly working bail system on a spinning reel can make for a frustrating day and sometimes take the reel out of commission until repaired. A few things to keep in mind concerning spinning reel bail systems. A great rule to follow and to put into practice is to always close the bail with your hand. Yes, the bail will close if you turn the handle, but developing the habit of closing the bail with your hand will prolong the life of the bail, reduce wear, and puts less stress on the whole system. There are other parts involved such as the friction ring, the bail trip lever, and the ramp that trips the lever which all play a part when turning the handle to close the bail. Another great habit to get into is to make sure the line is seated in the line roller after your cast and you close the bail. This can completed in the same process. Close the bail with your hand, pull the line into the line roller, and begin your retrieve. This will eliminate the chance of the line not being seated in the line roller, the line opening the bail when you set the hook, and causing unnecessary damage to the bail system. Once you develop this habit, it becomes second nature and you don’t even have to think about it.
I have seen many people who like to make a hard cast with a spinning reel and close the bail while the lure/offering is in mid flight to stop the cast. This is not a good idea as this puts undue stress and shock on the bail system. If you wish to control the distance of a cast or stop the cast altogether, a better practice is to put a finger on the lip of the spool to feather the line/slow/stop the line coming off the spool. Once the lure/offering hits the water, close the bail with your hand and begin your retrieve.
Be mindful of the bail wire and bail arm. This is an easily damaged and relatively fragile part of a spinning reel. An impact to the wire itself (stepped on or dropped) can deform the shape of the wire and cause it to be ineffective. An impact can also damage/break the bail arm/spring connection, cause mis alignment, and can render it useless as well.
Photo showing the Bail Wire, Line Roller, and Bail Arm:
By practicing and applying the above techniques, you will preserve and get more life of your spinning reels.