How to Set Up a Fly Reel | This Is What Professionals Do

Normally, setting up a fly reel is not a hard task. However, if you do not do it perfectly, you may run into problems. Here, we shall outline the steps on how to set up a fly reel. If you follow them keenly, there is no doubt you will master them.

Generally, this work is simple. If you understand a few knots and should just take some few minutes to finish. There are some things you will have to order to make your fly reel set for action.

The requirements to set up a fly reel

1. Leader

2. Backing

3. A fly reel

4. Fly fishing line

steps to follow when setting up a fly reel

Setting up a fly reel involves some basic but essential steps that should be followed one after the other.

Connect the Backing to the reel

The first thing you need to do here is tying an arbor knot. Really, this remains one of the easy knots applied in fly fishing. You do not have to be pro to make this happen. In fact, it can be prepared speedily and effortlessly by anyone. As a matter of fact, these are just 2 overhand knots. To attach the backing:

a) Wind the backing around the reel's arbor.

b) Tie or attach an overhand knot about the backing.

c) Set a small knot at the tip of the backing line to stop the knot from sliding off.

Next, you will need to spool onto the reel the needed length of backing. So what is the suitable length to spool onto the reel?

This should not bother you at all. The recommended length will always be indicated in the documentation that comes with the reel. However, the conventional amounts are normally 100 or 50 yards. You can choose to adopt 50 yards in a case where there is no information in your particular reel. Basically, fly lines are nearly of varying diameters thus, this is almost ever a guessing issue. Nevertheless, you should note that putting excess backing on the reel will overload it and you will not reel properly.

Connect your Backing to the Fly Line

After successfully attaching the backing to your reel, you should fasten the Albright knot to join these two lines. Again, this is another relatively easy knot to tie. Notably, this knot is an essential step to get precise. This is because at some point, some people ends up having a catch draw them into their backing line. Remember that in case the knot fails, you will lose 2 things, your precious fly line and the fish.

Winding the Fly line Onto the Reel

This step will depend on two things. One is, whether the fly fishing line was packed with a loop in it from the manufacturer. Another possibility is whether it is simply a cut end. In case it features a pre-formed loop, that means you are almost finished.

Make a loop to loop attachment

Like the other steps, this too is not a complicated step. You only need to put one loop above the top of the other. Next, put the end of the leader through the deepest or innermost loop. This is the last step in putting the line on the fishing reel if the loop is available.

Winding up

To do away with adding the leader to the fly line, you can achieve it is many ways. You can tie:

  • An Albright knot.
  • A nail knot.

The nail knot mostly preferred. Actually, the possible advantage of this over the Albright knot is that is a bit slimmer. Subsequently, it will easily slide into the guides of the fly rod. Nevertheless, tying an Albright knot is easier.

Tie the Nail Knot

Sincerely speaking, this knot can be complicated. Luckily, you can buy a nail knot tying device to simplify your work. Still, you can tie this using an object like a straw. The good news is, once you have the line on the reel, you will infrequently have to tie it.

It is good to leave a segment of the old leader on as you change it. This will enable you to only tie the brand-new leader to the old one with a blood knot. Also, you can use the loop to loop.


Feasibly, this guide on how to set up a fly reel has helped you. You will realize that you may need to adjust one or two things here. This is because of the varying measurements of your fishing components. Notwithstanding, this is a guide that will serve as a general reference. Therefore, you should make sure that you clearly understood it.

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