Shops have been setting up fly reels for their customers for eons. It’s rare when an angler needs to go home and attach the backing to their new reel and connect the fly line to the backing themselves. But I think it’s essential to know how to do it yourself. Not only so you can do it yourself if needed, but so you can be sure that the fly shop is doing it the best way possible.
The best rigged reel is one where if you hook the biggest fish of your life and he takes all your fly line and all your backing right down to the barebones where the backing attaches to the spool, the knot absolutely won’t break. Remember, if it breaks here, not only do you lose the fish of a lifetime; you lose your entire rig. Not only would this be frustrating but it would be expensive!
For my rods ranging from 2 to 8-weight I use 20lb Dacron backing. For my larger rigs 9 to 12-weight I use 30lb. No matter what size rod I’m using I attach the backing to my reel spool with the proven Arbor Knot. Next you must attach the fly line to the backing. Here I use a loop to loop connection. Not only does this make changing lines simple but loop to loop is strong and passes through the rod guides with ease when a fish is running. The strongest loop you can make in your backing is with the Bimini Twist. This is a difficult knot so an easier substitute would be the Spider Hitch. As for the fly line, most fly lines come with a premade built in loop. There was a time when I didn’t trust the strength of factory loops but these days they are as good as the Whipped Loops I make myself.
See these knots and learn more from Jeff’s books, Currier’s Quick and Easy Guide to Saltwater Fly Fishing and Currier’s Quick and Easy Guide to Warmwater Fly Fishing.
Jeff’s website: www.jeffcurrier.com
Jeff’s fishing blog: http://flyfishingbum.blogspot.com/