Rigging Your Reel & Fly Line

This photo essay will cover the steps involved in placing a new fly line on your reel.
I already had backing on this reel. If you are starting with a new reel; tie your backing to the arbor (center) of the spool first then wind the backing on under pressure.
Step 1
Step 1 Remove old fly line from reel.
After stripping the old line off the reel, check the backing for mold/mildew or any other undesirable damage like knots and knicks.

Step 2
The tools needed for placing a new fly line on your reel.
You will find a pair of snips and pliers handy when rigging your fly reel/ fly line.

Step 3
Tie an Albright Knot attaching the Backing and Fly Line
Start with an Albright Knot to attach the fly line to the backing.  I cinch my backing down with a pair of pliers. You will notice that the backing cuts into the coating of  the fly line, this is okay since the strength of the fly line is in the core not coating.  This is a very strong knot and is sufficient for all but the largest gamefish (Tarpon, Large Permit) where you will need a Bimini Twist or something like it.

Step 4
Apply UV Knot Sense or Aquaseal to line/ backing connection
This is a personal preference; I like to place Aquaseal or Pliobond on my line/ backing connection to make the connection pull through my guides smoothly. Â This may take more than one application. Â If you are in a hurry, skip this step or use UV Aquaseal.

Step 5
Wind line onto reel under tension.
Wind the fly line onto your reel under constant and steady tension. Â If you are putting backing on your reel for the first time, constant steady and firm tension is very important. Â Should you place the line or backing on under loose tension, you run the risk of the line pulling itself into the line below it as it is being pulled off under pressure (i.e. a big fish pulling against the drag) and creating a tight knot. This knot will surely take more time to untangle than you will have when your fishing is pulling line at 30mph. Â An ounce of prevention…….

Step 6
Make sure you leave space between the line and reel frame.
Once you have all of the fly line on your reel, check to make sure your line is not rubbing the reel frame. Â If you find that it is close or is touching the pillars, strip your line off the reel and remove some backing. Â Then start over with step one.

Step 7
Attaching Leader to Fly Line with Loop to Loop
The loop to loop connections will work with any leader on the market. Â You will need to tie a double surgeons loop or perfection loop in the end of your leader if it does not already have one.

Step  8
Loop To Loop Connection Correctly tied.
Take the time to make sure your Loop to Loop connection looks like this. Â It should look similar to a square knot. Â I cinch it down tight and usually find that this will not slip out under normal fishing conditions. Â If you find yourself in windy conditions, at the end of the day check this connection for wear and to make sure it does not look like the photo below.

Loop To Loop Connection Incorrectly Tied
This is an example of an incorrectly connected Loop to Loop. Â This is a hitch and will allow the leader to cut through itself.
Throughout the season we check these knots several times. Â Normal wear and tear will weaken these knots over one season. Â Re-tie them when they start to show signs of wear or, obviously, if they break when you pull on them firmly. Â Replace your leader at least yearly or more frequently depending on the amount of fishing you do.
Clean and dress your fly line with a line dressing every 30 hours of fishing or more frequently if you are in a dirty environment. Â This will greatly prolong the life of your fly line.

We will have a blog up shortly that will cover the needle knot which is my preferred line – leader connection.

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