BACK TO BASICS: Spooling Up Part 1

Welcome to the first instalment of my “Back To Basics” series of blogs. These blogs are derived from my ongoing series of columns in the Australian Fishing Monthly group of magazines (QLD Fishing Monthly, NSW Fishing Monthly and VIC Fishing Monthly). Publication of these blogs will lag several months behind their first appearance in those great magazines so, if you want to jump ahead at any stage, just grab the latest copy! However, the appearance of these columns as blogs also recognises the fact that many people live outside the areas covered by those publications, or may wish to catch up with previous columns that they missed in print.

Having your reel correctly spooled with line will greatly enhance casting performance and reduce tangles.

As the category name of this blog series implies, it’s all about the fundamental building blocks of our sport, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s intended purely for beginners… far from it! Lots of experienced anglers could definitely benefit from re-visiting some of these basics, and I’d like to think that even the guns of the sport may pick up a gem or two from reading these columns.

In coming blogs within the “Back To Basics” category, we’ll tackle subjects like filling and top-shotting your reels with line, selecting and adding leaders, setting your drag, hooking, fighting and landing fish, handling the catch, improving your casting, putting baits on the hook properly, “working” and tuning lures, organising and maintaining your gear and a whole bunch more. However, if there’s something you’d specifically like to see covered, please leave a comment here under the blog and tell me. You can also reach me through my StarloFishing page on Facebook.

Your blogger with a lovely snapper on a Lucanus Jig.

This time, I want to kick off with an aspect of  tackle preparation that’s glossed over in many how-to books and DVDs, but which is critical to successful, trouble-free fishing: spooling up your reel with line.

Spooling up is an easy enough process, but if you get it wrong, your fishing life is likely to become a misery of tangled or buried lines, slipping line loads and lost fish. These potential hassles are only compounded when using modern, gel-spun polyethylene or ‘PE’ super lines and braids.

The process of spooling up any reel is made much easier by first fitting that reel to a rod. If you’re doing the job inside (while watching the cricket on telly, for example!), it’s fine to use just the lower half of a two-piece rod.

Spinning reels cast much better when correctly spooled.

Take the spool of line you’ve bought to put on the reel and find the end of the line. It may be covered with a piece of tape, knotted back over itself or trapped in a slit on the edge of the plastic spool. If the end of the line is kinked, damaged or covered with sticky goo, cut half a metre or so off the line.

Next, take the end of the line and pass it down through the runners of the rod. You don’t have to go all the way from the tip if you don’t want to. In fact, you can just pass the line through the stripper guide (the largest runner, closest to the reel).

The next step — attaching the line firmly to the core of the reel’s spool — varies a bit depending on the type or style of reel you’re using. If it’s one of the very popular spinning or threadline reels (also known as “eggbeaters” or “coffee grinders”), you’ll need to open the reel’s bail arm first, then tie the line to the spool core before closing the arm over the line. I stress: moving the bail arm into the open position before tying on the line is vital!