Loading the Line for Fly Fishing

A novice to fly fishing might study the little tag on the fly line that says, "this end to reel." Okay, that may be a little tongue-in-cheek, but you can indeed simply follow the instructions and tie that end to the ree. However, it’s much better to have some backing on the reel first. Most reels will have room for about fifty yards of twenty pound backing. This will raise the level of your fly line up closer to the top edge of your fly reel so it won’t fly off the line in coils. Backing is also helpful when you hook big fish.

The quantity of backing to use is a matter of trial and error.  For example, you could put on the fifty yards and tie the fly line to it, wind it on and hope for the best. But there is another way. First, take the fly line and tie the 'this end to reel' bit to an old spare reel, a coffee can, or other cylinder - even a tree. Unwind it. Next, take the end the leader would be attached to and tie it to the arbor of your reel, but not too tightly. Wind it all on. Using a good knot to tie the backing to the end of the fly line. Next, wind on as much backing as seems right, about a quarter of an inch from the top edge of your reel. Please don’t fill the reel completely.

Now do the whole thing in reverse. Cut the backing and tie it to something such as a tree, or door knob, for example. Unwind the whole thing, but be careful not to drop or tangle things. Once it’s all unwound tie the end with an Arbor knot to the centre arbor of your reel. Make two turns around the arbor, helps to make sure it doesn't slip. Tighten well. Now, carefully reel the backing and the attached fly line onto the reel.

It will now be filled to the correct level and the right end of the fly line will be ready for the leader, leader butt or loop – basically whatever you want to put on the end. Also, poke the end of the fly line in and out of a few of the holes of the spool to keep it from unwinding. This also stops it from and getting under one of its own coils.

Please check out future blogs for more beginner fly fishing tips.

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