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Loading a Reel With Fly Line and Backing
By James Castwell

The little tag on the fly line says, "this end to reel." You can do it that way. Just tie that end to the reel. Better than that though is to have some backing on the reel, first. Most reels seem to have room for fifty yards or so of twenty pound Dacron backing which will raise the level of your fly line up closer to the top edge of your fly reel so it will not come off in tight little coils like a slinky. You might find it a bonus if you hook a big fish sometime too.

How much backing is often a problem. You can put on the fifty yards, tie 'this end to reel' fly line to it, wind it on and hope. Hope that there is room for all of it to go on. Hope that the fifty was enough and that it didn't need a hundred or more to fill it properly.

There is yet another way. Take the fly line and tie the end that says 'this end to reel' to an old spare reel, coffee can, door knob or a tree. Unwind it. Now take the end that the leader would be attached to and tie that to the arbor of your reel. Not real tight, you will be untying it in a few minutes. Wind it all on there. Using a good knot (the Albright knot), tie the backing to the end of the fly line. Next, wind on as much backing as looks right, about a quarter of an inch from the top edge of your reel. Do not completely fill the reel.

And now reverse the whole works. Right. You cut the backing and tie it to something; tree, door knob, cabinet handle. Something you can get to in a moment. Unwind everything. Really be careful here. Don't drop or tangle things. When you have it all unwound tie the end of the backing (use the Arbor knot) to the center arbor of your reel. Take two turns around the arbor, helps to make sure it doesn't slip. Tighten it well and carefully reel the backing and the attached fly line onto the reel.

It will now be filled to the correct level and the right end of the fly line will be ready for the leader or a leader butt or loop or whatever you want to put on the end. If nothing at this time, at least poke the end of the fly line in and out of a few of the holes of the spool to keep it from unwinding and getting under one of its own coils. ~ JC

Stop by the Chat Room and meet some fellow anglers. It is a nice bunch of people - always willing to help beginners! Or just share your fishing adventures. Fair skys and tight lines, ~ DB Have a question? Email me!

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