How to Set Up the Reel With the Line in Fly Fishing

How to Set Up the Reel With the Line in Fly Fishing
Fly fishing requires a multitude or accessories, with a wide variety of quality and prices. More important than the amount you spend on your reel and line, is the method in which you place your line on your reel. You have three line types on every reel, and must apply them in the correct order. Additionally, the knots you use to tie the lines together are very important. The wrong knots will cause the line to hang on the eyelets of your pole.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly fishing reel
  • Backing line
  • Fly line
  • Leader line
  • Clippers
Step 1
Determine the style of your reel. There are three types of reels: a fixed non-detachable spool, a closed cage detachable spool or an open cage detachable spool. Examine how the line must move through the reel to cast. Remove several feet of backing from the spool. Tie the backing to your reel by knotting the end of your backing line. Loop the backing line through the reel. Loop the knotted end around the backing tying a knot around the backer line, pulling the knot tight.
Step 2
Spool approximately 100 yards of backing line onto your reel. Make sure your backing slowly moves from side to side across your reel. This keeps your backing from bunching in one place on the reel. After applying 100 yards to your reel, cut the backing line. Leave 12 inches loose from your reel.
Step 3
Place your spool of fly line near your reel. Pull 12 inches from the spool laying it next to the excess backing line. Tie an Albright knot between the backing line and fly line. Form a loop with the heavier line folding it back towards the spool or reel.
Step 4
Place the thinner line end through the loop. Move the thinner line near the end of the thick line loop and wrap it around the thick line 10 times. On the last wrap, leave the line loose and thread the thin line through itself. The end of the line should be facing the spool or reel source. Tighten the knot and cut away any excess line from both ends.
Step 5
Spool all your fly line onto your reel alternating side-to-side motions to keep the line applying evenly. Leave approximately 12 inches of fly line off you reel. Place your leader near your reel. Tie the butt end of your leader to your fly line using an Albright knot. Once you tie the two lines together, tighten them and reel them in all the way. Attach your reel to your rod, and thread your leader line through the eyelets of your pole.

Tips & Warnings

When initially tightening fishing knots, pull gently making sure the knot is correct before tightening the rest of the way.
When in doubt, use more line and cut the excess once you complete knot.
Always test your knot by pulling on both ends applying reasonable pressure.
Using too little backing could cause you to lose your tackle with a big fish.
If you knot appears to be weak, cut it off and tie another one.

Article Written By Jeremy Slaughter

Jeremy Slaughter is a tax, accounting and small business expert. After completing his master's degree in accounting at Keller Graduate School of Management, Slaughter co-founded an accounting and tax firm where writing plays a daily role.

The Latest from the Community

This trail is well used and wide with a long and steady climb (about 3-4 miles) of about 1200-1400 feet before you...