Stop! 'R.T.F.M.' (Read the 'friggin manual) Most
new fly lines come with a few words of writing
calculated to instruct one on the deeper aspects
of unwinding a fly-line from a spool. Now, one
would not think of this as a major event, worthy
of drawing crowds and charging a fee for viewing.
But, often it is just that, however not for
children under twelve and old people with bad
We of the fly-fishing propensity are often want to
deplore such useless scribing's and dispatch them
with no mind immediately, if not sooner, to a
circular file or the floor. I mean, we have a
new fly-line; exciting stuff, heady indeed. By
this time we should have made a decision on backing,
that skinny string that ties to the center spindle
of the reel and serves somewhat to fill up the bottom
space, thusly bringing the fly-line nearer to the
top of the reel so it will be in bigger coils and
even bump onto the cross members of the reel itself.
This is not a planned situation, but, trust me,
it happens more often than one might imagine.
Backing comes in mostly two size spools, not enough
and too much. Fifty yards might fill up the reel
enough, or not. And two of the fifty yard spools
(if they can be purchased connected) doubles the
expense. Life is a struggle, deal with it. Use as
much as you need, I have no idea how big your reel
is, soon, you will know.
Having secured the backing to the center spindle
of your reel with a trusty 'Arbor Knot' and taking
two turns around the spindle (secret only us
old-timers know) and having figured out how much
backing will be somewhere near the point of a bit
too much or not quite enough, tie a big loop in it.
By a big loop I mean big, about ten inches long.
Use the surgeons knot for this. Having a loop here
will allow you to remove the line at some time in
the future for what ever reason you may dream up,
justified or not. The reel will pass through the
loop if you also put a loop on the end of the new
fly line. (We experts call this "Loop-to Loop.")
Make it a fun time, find information on how to
form a tiny loop on the end of your new fly-line.
There is a lot of information available, and some
of it really works, enjoy.
You have now entered the scary part, the 'main'
event as it were. The 'moment of truth.' How the
hell to get the line of off that stupid spool with
out screwing it up like the last (few, several,
every) times. You should not now pursue medication,
liquid or otherwise, a clear head and delicate
dexterity are required, and even with all of that
going for you, the results are still a gamble.
Fly-lines come in level, double-taper and weight
forward, they all have two ends. The end of the
line which you seek should (operative word here
is, 'should') have a little gold sticker on it
reading such as, "This end to reel." It may have
been lost. If so, give the line to someone you
don't especially like, a brother-in-law for
instance, belated birthday gift etc.
Or, you can carefully peek at the coils and try
to determine if the end you are looking at is on
the top coils or not. If it is (while the small
bits of pipe-cleaner are still holding the about
to explode coils, gently inch the end backwards.
Under first one of the pipe-cleaners, then a bit
farther, under the next one until you have been
able to convince yourself that indeed you have
the end destined for the reel. Time now for that
Tiny loop? Yes, on the end of the fly line. Some
tie the fly-line directly to the backing (if so,
use the Albright knot) Neatness counts here, the
only time this connection will go out through your
rod guides is when you have a nasty fish on it, or
have snagged a bus on your back-cast. Either way,
be tidy, you will thank me, do a good job of the
loop. To assemble, stick the end of the big loop
through the tiny loop on the fly line and poke
the reel through it. Pull.
You can now try to fill an inside straight, or cheat
and slide an ace from the bottom, since you are the
dealer, make your choice. So far, I believe I have
made every mistake possible trying to remove a
fly-line from a coil and am therefore eminently
qualified to give advise. No one with only twenty
or thirty years of experience should ever be
considered for even an opinion on this subject.
My choice is to cheat. Get help.
I (mind you, I have two line winders on location
at all times) call my wife. She verrrrry carefullyyyyy
takes the coil of line from the package and unties the
pipe-cleaners. Then, while breathing very shallowly
and controlling her pulse rate, without ever taking
her eyes from the coils, turns the coil and feeds
the line inch by inch toward me (who is now reeling
very carefullyyyyy.) Her assistance is often rewarded
with a dinner out, but that is a small price considering
she lets me go along too.
There will be those who will try to remark about
this on the bulletin board with surefire ways to
transfer a fly-line without any troubles, but
they will lie. Pay no attention to them. They
are just trying to mess with your head. We can
put a man in space, but there is no fool-proof
method of spooling a fly-line. Period.
~ James Castwell