How to Load a Fly Fishing Line

How to Load a Fly Fishing Line
Fly fishing is often viewed as an almost mystical pursuit of elusive trout. Although the terminology is specialized and the methods and lures might be specific to the sport, fly fishing can easily be enjoyed by any fishing enthusiasts. Assembling the lines necessary to cast delicate flies requires a few easy-to-tie knots. By following easy procedures, loading a fly fishing line is easily accomplished.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly reel
  • Fly line backing
  • Fly line
  • Leader
  • Snips
Step 1
Connect the fly line backing to the spool of the fly reel with an arbor knot. Pass the free, or tag, end of the backing line around the spool for 5 to 6 inches.
Step 2
Tie the arbor knot by forming an overhand knot with the tag end of the line so that it passes around the main line. Tie another overhand knot, using only the tag end, below the first knot. Moisten the knot, pull down tightly around the spool and trim excess line with snips.
Step 3
Wind the backing line onto the spool of the reel following the manufacturer's directions. If an amount is not specified, spool 70 to 80 yards of backing onto the reel.
Step 4
Attach the fly line backing to the main line with an Albright knot. Double the tag end of the main line so that a loop is formed about 2 inches from the end. Pass the tag end of the backing line through the loop so that 3 to 4 inches extend through.
Step 5
Wrap the tag end of the backing line around the doubled main line and backing line for six to seven turns. Begin forming concentric wraps and work your way up toward the loop. Pass the tag of the backing line back through the loop following the original path. Pull the knot down tightly and trim excess line from the knot with snips.
Step 6
Wind all of the fly line onto the reel. Many lines may feature a diminishing taper or weight forward design that may be damaged if cut.
Step 7
Attach a leader to the fly line with a surgeon's knot. Overlap the tag end of the main line and the leader tag end for about 6 inches. Form a large overhand knot with the doubled lines.
Step 8
Wrap the main line tag end and the leader around the loop for three to four turns. Pull the tag ends of the line outward to tight the knot. Moisten the knot before tightening and trim excess from the knot.

Tips & Warnings

If the amount of fly line backing is not specified, there is a simple method to figure this out. First, spool all of the fly line onto the empty reel. Next, spool the fly line backing onto the reel until the reel is full and still easily turns. You now have the correct amount backing. Remove the backing and the fly line, then reinstall the backing using and arbor knot. Connect the fly line to the backing with an Albright knot and spool the fly line onto the reel.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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