How to Put a Line on a New Fly Fishing Reel

How to Put a Line on a New Fly Fishing Reel
If you have a new fly-fishing reel and the lines needed, you will need to connect the lines and spooling them on the new reel. Many anglers new to fly-fishing are often put off by the seeming complexity of assembling the various lines on a new fly reel. By understanding a few basic knots, you can easily connect your lines and spool that new reel for your next trip.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly reel
  • Fly line backing
  • Fly line
  • Leader
  • Nail knot tying tool
Step 1
Pull several inches of fly line backing around the spool of the reel and secure it with an arbor knot. Tie the knot by pulling the free end of the backing line beside the main length. Form an overhand knot with the free end of the line with the loop passing around the main length of backing line. Tie a second overhand knot in the free end only.
Step 2
Moisten the knots and pull them down tightly against each other and against the spool. Hold the line taut in front of the reel and turn the fly reel handle to begin winding backing onto the spool. Fill the spool based on the reel manufacturer's directions or until one-quarter of the spool is filled with backing line.
Step 3
Cut the backing free from the filler spool and connect the butt end of the fly line to the backing line with an Albright knot. Double the fly line to form a loop 2 inches from the end of the line so you have a loop with a doubled line extending down.
Step 4
Insert the free end of the backing line through the loop and pull it down past the doubled length of fly line. Hold the doubled fly line and backing together 1 inch below the loop and begin wrapping the backing line up toward the loop. Form eight to 10 wraps and feed the backing back through the loop the same way it originally passed through. Pull the knot tight and trim excess from the ends.
Step 5
Apply tension to the fly line and wind all of the fly line onto the spool. Do not cut the line as lines can have tapers or weight forward features that will be damaged by cutting. Remove the fly line and adjust the amount of backing if all of the main fly line cannot be spooled.
Step 6
Hold a nail knot tool with the point forward and your thumb on the top pad. Pull the large diameter end of the leader under your thumb and out past the point of the tool. Pull the leader down into the small notch in the point of the tool and form five to seven turns around the tool point working up toward your thumb.
Step 7
Continue forming the nail knot with the knot tying tool by feeding the short free end of the leader down into the groove in the point of the tool and under the wraps you just formed. Insert 1 inch of the fly line into the front groove of the tool. Hold the leader extending from beneath the wraps tightly and pull with a sharp snap to transfer the leader knot onto the fly line. Trim the leader and fly line with scissors.

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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