How to Put a Line on a Ross Reel

How to Put a Line on a Ross Reel
Ross has produced fly-fishing reels for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Montrose, Colorado, Ross produces a variety of reels such as the Momentum, Evolution and Fly Cast, which are designed to provide smooth operation and durable performance. Setting up a new Ross reel for fishing is a part of fly-fishing every angler should understand and feel comfortable doing. With the knowledge of a few simple knots, most anglers can spool their Ross reels with backing, line and leader and be ready for fishing on their favorite streams.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ross fly reel
  • Fly line backing
  • Fly line
  • Sharp scissors
  • Fly line leader
Step 1
Attach the fly line backing to the spool of your Ross fly reel with an arbor knot. Tie the knot by feeding 6 to 8 inches of line around the spool of the reel. Form an overhand knot with the free end of the line so that the knot loop passes around the main line. Tie a second overhand knot below the first knot using only the free end of the line.
Step 2
Pull the knots down slowly against the spool of the Ross reel so they lock against each other. Trim the excess from the free end of the line with a sharp pair of scissors. Trim the free end of the line to within 1/8 inch of the knot.
Step 3
Apply tension to the line in front of the Ross reel and turn the reel handle to begin spooling line onto the reel. Wind enough backing onto the reel until the spool is about 1/4 full. Cut the backing free from the filler spool with sharp scissors.
Step 4
Connect the backing to the main fly line with an Albright knot. Tie the Albright knot by forming a loop 3 to 4 inches from the free end of the main fly line. Hold the free end of the line along side the main line, forming a doubled line.
Step 5
Feed the free end of the backing line, attached to the spool, through the loop in the end of the main fly line. Pull the backing line down so that 4 to 6 inches of backing extends through the loop of the main line. Hold the backing line and the doubled main line 2 inches below the loop. Wind the backing around all three lines five or six times. Work the wraps up the line toward the loop.
Step 6
Feed free end of the backing line through the loop of the main line the same way it originally passed through. Pull the knot tight and trim the free ends to within 1/8 inch of the knot.
Step 7
Apply tension to the main fly line and turn the handle of the reel to wind the line onto the spool of the Ross reel. Wind all of the line onto the reel and do not cut it. Many fly lines feature a taper or weighted forward section. Cutting a line can cause damage.

Tips & Warnings

Determine the exact amount of backing to use with a simple trick. Wind all of the fly line onto the empty Ross reel spool. Do not use a knot to attach the line to the reel, only hold it in place. Wind backing onto the spool until it is just over 3/4 full. Remove the backing and fly line and follow the directions in the steps above for properly attaching the backing and line to the spool and each other.

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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