Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred thirty-four

Thread Headache

Rick Zieger

By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I was finishing off some flies for a swap today. I was using black thread. It was a 200-yard spool that I had been using for a while. I know that I had tied about 200 flies with it at least. I am not sure who made it as that part of the label is worn off.

I was wrapping thread on the hook when I noticed that there was more tension on the thread. I stopped and looked at the thread and the center of the spool was a little rough, but I got the thread straightened out and continued tying. I tied about three more flies and this happened again.

I pulled the thread out for about 8 feet and got it to working again. I tied a few more flies and then it was stuck again. Again I went through the unwrapping the thread stage but I noticed that the area in the center of the spool was getting wider and that it was getting rougher.

Being a cheapskate at times, I decided that I would continue to try to use the thread just because I did not want to waste it. Also I felt that I should be able to control that little bit of thread left on the spool and get my FULL moneys worth.

I did unwrap the thread and tie a few and then go through the routine again. Sometimes, as my wife says, I am not too bright but I am persistent. I got to the point where there were three layers of thread on the spool and the thread was bound up to where I could not get it to move.

I went into my exam room and put the thread behind the slit lamp which gave me about 40X magnification. I was going to figure out how to unbind this thread and finish the spool. Understand that I have tied 14 flies in two hours. Usually these take 3 to 4 minutes apiece to tie.

You must understand that it is the principal of the thing.

I looked at the spool and noticed a crack in the plastic in the center, or so I thought. I tried to bring the thread out of this crack but I could not get it to move. The biggest problem was that I could not see where the thread went when it went into the crack so I could not try to pull it through.

At this time I see defeat on the horizon, but I am not done. I know that I have one empty spool in the tying room (my office). I go get it and my scissors and think "I will cut the tread at the edge and then I can wind it on this spool and save some of it at least." I do this and wind about three feet of thread before it nose dives into the crack. I pull it off and toss it away. I decide to cut near the crack and wind it on the other spool. This nets about 5 feet of thread before it disappears into the abyss.

At this point, I admit defeat. I am not done as I cut all of the thread off the spool. Now I can see what is going on. The spool had split in half along the center line. The thread had gone into this area and over some of the knobs that held the two halves of the spool together. I never would have been able to get the thread out. Over time the tension on the thread had pulled the layers on the middle of the spool down into the crack and they were hopelessly entangled in the center of the spool. I did pull the spool apart and then put it back together and it was fine. Someplace along the line I must have done something to pull the spool apart. I really can't complain with the number of flies that I tied with this thread.

I guess it is not so much different than casting innumerable times to a spot because you know that a fish is there, or if fish had good sense one would be there. I have to justify the time I spent (wasted?) trying to get this thread to work.

I hope that your thread unwinds smoothly all of the time and you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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