GearHow to

Spooling Up

IF you have ever tried replacing the line on all of your reels at the end of a long season you will soon realise that it can be an arduous task. There’s more to spooling a reel than meets the eye and it’s not a matter of simply tying the line onto the spool and winding; spool knots need to be secure, line needs to be tensioned and the amount of line accurately metred to avoid inefficiencies and issues when casting. I often spool my reels on my own and have found a few tips and gadgets that makes the job of spooling one or many reels less of a chore.

Fixing the line to the spool

The first step in the spooling process is to tie the line to the spool. Some overhead and bait cast reels have a lug on the spool that you can tie to directly making the process easier. Regular spin and overhead or centrepin reels without a lug need the line tied directly to the spool with the line secured so it does not spin on the spool. To do this, I start off by wrapping the line around a few times then tying off with a uni knot that is tightly snugged down. For added security I use some electrical tape to tape down the knot and wraps of line. I see many people recommending the use of tape first however I have found that a few winds with a tightened uni knot is difficult to turn and once you tape it down, you still get the advantage of the newly wound line bedding into the tape whilst the tightened knot tied directly to the spool will be further secured by the tape that is now under a reasonable amount of pressure from the line wound on top.

Solo spooling

One of the most frustrating rigging tasks to complete on your own is spooling a reel. Having a friend holding the spool is ideal but if help is not available, there are a number of ways to combat the frustration so solo spooling. Threading some twine or rope through the spool then tying off to the handles of a bucket is a simple method that I have used many times over the years. Filling the bucket with water gives the added advantage of adding a slight amount of tension to prevent an overrun on the spool and also allows line that might be hygroscopic an opportunity to react to the water before touching the reel. A screwdriver through the spool and then secured in a vice is another easy method of solo spooling. Specific line spooling devices are the best option as they not only hold the spool of line but can be adjusted for tension. If you don’t have a line spooling device, you can still tension the spool in a number of ways. The two methods I’ve relied on over the years are to place some masking tape on a screwdriver as close to the handle as possible and build it up to thick enough so that the spool needs to be forced on. You then stick the screwdriver horizontally into a vice leave a few millimetres so that the spool doesn’t touch the vice but also can’t fall of the tape. The second method is to use a cloth gardening glove and tension the line with your hand. You can add a reasonable amount of tension simply by running the line through your fingers and clenching your hand your hand or pinching the line between your index finger and thumb for added tension.

Top shotting and amountof line required

Top shotting line has been around for years and involves having a base line that is well below the spool’s maximum capacity that is topped up by another line, the “top shot”. The challenge with top shotting is knowing how much base line and top shot will optimally fit on the spool. The easiest way is to first tie on the top shot then finish off by attaching the base line using an FG knot or similar and final winding on the base line till the spool is filled. Many spin reels have two spools so it’s easy enough to do this on one spool then wind it onto the spare spool so that the top shot is at the top again. If you only have a single spool, you then need to reverse the line twice before being able to wind the base line back on the reel first. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is with a couple of spare empty line spools that I force onto a Phillips head screwdriver that with masking tape near the handle to tension shim and the spool. Placing the screwdriver into a drill (hence the Phillips head), you can quickly wind the reel off the reel and onto the spool. Repeat the process with another spool to reverse the line so that the baseline is wound on first and the top shot wound last. Whether you’re top shotting or filling with a single line, you generally want to fill your line so that it’s within a couple of millimetres of the spool lip. 

Recording line

I have multiple outfits with identical reels making it tough to differentiate which line class is on which reel. Using a sliver of masking tape and a fine permanent marker is a simple yet effective method. Secure the tape to the underside of the spool or to the reel seat. The key point here is to use a consistent naming convention or to add units of measure to make it easy to remember. I always use pounds when recoding line so my three identical 2500 reels have markings for 6 and 8 and 10lb line. 

Helpful DIY tools

You can easily make a couple of DIY tools that will help with the line spooling and despoiling processes. A simple line spooler can be made using some timber, a long bolt, some hex nuts, wing nuts, washers and a spring. The basic idea is the timber makes an L shaped frame with the horizontal side used a base to secure to a bench and the vertical side used for holding the spool. Drill a hole in the horizontal size, thread the bolt on the secure it with a hex nut. Place the spring onto the bolt, then a washer, then place the spool onto the bolt. You then place another washer and a wing nut on the bolt and tighten till it pushes the screw onto the spring. Adjust the tension by tightening or loosening the wing nut then finally thread on a hex nut to lock it all into place. The easiest and most effective way to unspool a reel is to drill a hole through a one litre water or soft drink bottle cap then place a bolt through the underside of the cap. You secure the bolt to the cap with a hex nut threaded on from the top side of the cap. Screw this onto any old bottle, fasten the line to the bottle with a knot or some tape and use a drill to spin the bottle and unspool the reel. You can then simply throw the entire bottle and old line into the recycling bin and keep the lid for next time!

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.