Sooooooo, we left off last time right about here The Great Re-Lining. This time I thought it might be good to get into the nuts and bolts of spooling your own reels. Notice I said spool your own, that is in direct contrast to letting whatever shop monkey happens to be working that day do it. I’m not trying to be mean, as I was formerly said shop monkey, but you wouldn’t let a stranger give you an enema so why would you let one spool your reel. Bad knots, reels spooled backwards, and sloppy line distribution plague many shop spooled reels, the numbers climb exponentially when you take into account big box spooled reels. So here’s how I spool, because mama didn’t raise no fool.
For trout, panfish, both small jaw and large jaw bass, amongst many other smaller fair I use 20lb dacron. For your apex predators , and for those fish that really pull (tarpon, bonefish, big striper, etc..) I prefer a 30lb in a gel spun if at all possible. Don’t trust manufacturers recommendations on backing capacities. I have a sneaky suspicion both the backing companies and the reel companies have been conspiring together (much like a cabal) with the sole purpose of driving me bat shit crazy by having to either re-spool backing or cut a bunch out based on their ridiculous “manufacturer” recommendations. My general rule of pinkies is leave about one pinky width of space on the spool for line. If you have gigantic pinkies adjust accordingly. Go ahead and attach you backing with an arbor knot. Click here to see it animated…like a cartoon…about a knot.
Backing To Line
There’s a million ways to skin a cat and then serve it as a rabbit. Nail knots are fine, but a pain in the ass. I really prefer a loop to loop connection here for the ease of switching lines. The only acceptable way to put a loop into backing is the Bimini twist or the fabled double Bimini. Yes, on your lower line weight reels this is killing a fly with a cruise missile, but once you learn to do the twist with the ease of Fats Domino why do anything else. I move up to the double Bimini when I go up to my big game gear because I dig redundancy.
Now to the line. Most manufacturers have started putting loops on both ends of the line direct from the factory. I never used to trust these loops as I have seen them explode at the worst moments all too often. These days I tolerate them on my lower line weight reels as a byproduct of my laziness. In general though I am a big fan of whipping my own loops. Whipping loops also comes in handy when there’s not a loop on either end of the line to. Check out this Gink and Gasoline post on proper loop whipping technique and whip it good.
A Note On Winding It All Up
I found a shop spooling machine on ebay for a very reasonable price and it is choice. Short of that, put a nail in a wall, put the spool of line or backing on that nail and go to town. In a pinch a buddy holding the line spool with a pencil through the hole will achieve the same result.
So now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Look out for the next and final installment: Line Selection