Skip to main content


[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ears ago, I took a seasonal job at a fly shop (tarpon season in South Florida) that had recently been bought. I had no fly shop experience and the carry-over manager, a former and very knowledgeable guide, was not share friendly or people friendly. Laughably, if an unknown came in the shop and didn’t respond appropriately to “what do you want?” he’d essentially run them off. He was more like the talented but curmudgeonly chef who made a great dish, but when asked for the recipe would grudgingly comply, but leave out a key ingredient. For me, and at the expense of the new owner, it was not good, and at the least, frustrating.

Lesson learned

FIUFUZOI1TNB439.LARGELoading a reel with backing, fly line and loop connected butt is easy. Fly shops have machines that do that, like the one on the left, but making it all tightly fit on the reel, or arriving at the ideal fit, is another story. Using the reel makers suggestions of how much backing to put on doesn’t always workout – too many variables.

Here’s a fail-safe solution

Put the fly line on first, then the backing and wind it tightly on. Now reverse the process and it will fit perfectly.

Backing is cheap and plentiful, a lost fish is forever

If you have been into your backing several times (tarpon, shark or any big game fish); that is – in and out of the guides in a stressed hook up; beware. Dacron / Micron don’t abrade well and a dozen or so in and outs via the guides will greatly reduce pound test rating, and even fail.


Author Skip

More posts by Skip

Leave a Reply