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Fly Fishing for Black Bass in the St. Lawrence. A Wikipedia image [Keisuke Noda]. Materials used as backing to fill up these reels faced the same issue as modern reels. The lasting fitness not in anyway similar to modern materials.

Getting it onto the reel and make it the amount of backing, fly line, and leader come out perfect – every time

by Skip Clement

I had to set up six reels – backing and fly line. No big deal, right? But I had to get the backing and fly line on and not put too much backing on. That would jamb the fly line onto the spool or leave too much space between the fly line and reel.

It was easy when I worked at the Fly Shop of Fort Lauderdale because we had a Berkley Line Winder machine. There were markings providing estimates for both 20-pound Dacron and 30-pound Dacron backing, spool diameter sizes for the major reels we handled, summary calculations using provided measurements, plus what the different line weights [WF] took up.

Now, in a small apartment with a cat that insists on being involved in anything going down on my multipurpose tying desk, it was a hassle

One reel down and five to go – it only took four attempts to get the right amount of 20-pound Dacron [85-yards] on a Nautilus XS, 3/4, 3.25” diameter fly reel with RIO Trout fly line. It had to be perfect – not just okay.

This system sucks, I thought, and called my old boss David Olson. He‘d been at this fly shop business for decades. So, I asked about buying a line winding machine. That turned out to be a puzzle of mystic proportions. It’s weird – go online and Google search.

Frustrated, I called my Alaska buddy Carl Spencer: carpenter, electrician, plumber, auto mechanic, fly rod builder, fly tyer [tube flies], and posed the question to him about my dilemma. He interrupted me halfway through and said years ago he’d told a client he guided how to do it homespun, and make the measurements come out perfect every time. He said just tie the fly line on first, and go from there.

He added it had made its way onto YouTube, and together over the phone, we found Tightlinevideos, and he said, “That’s it”

It works fine, but use the shortcut version found at the end of the video. I can’t add Carl’s version of a shortcut, which is where he started [I guess his client couldn’t remember what all Carl had said], but it’s about the same and not quicker or better.

Thanks, Carl – hope to see you next summer


Author Skip

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