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Tackling up

is that a wind knot I see?
...a bit of a demo
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working flat out

It's only been two years since I opened the beginner's section and wrote that shortly I'd be showing you how to spool backing and attach flylines and leaders together. Time is a thing of perspective of course and two years isn't very long in the scheme of things. Especially if you don't know where you are.

Bit of a mess at the moment. Notice the high quality reel incidentally. Good for backcounty trout, kahawai and trevally. All at onceThis is how *I* spool up. Some people do it differently using different knots. This doesn't mean they are wrong, but that doesn't mean they are right either :-) In the diagram you will see a typical reel, rod handle and line. The reel is the round object and the black stuff is called backing. We use backing (a) to fill out the reel and (b) in case we accidentally hook a big fish. This is good isn't it? Why oh why did I wait two years before doing this I'll never know...

If you are going to use this knot for bondage purposes I would suggest NOT locking it with the overhand knot. You may have to call the fire brigadeHere I have cleverly prepared an animated GIF of the Constrictor Hitch that I use for attaching backing to the reel. Not everyone uses this knot for this purpose. In fact I may be the only person in the world who does this; most people use an "Arbor Knot", which I've always found a bit fiddly and never managed to perform properly. It's not a true Constrictor Hitch either because there's an overhand knot tied over the top. You can use this knot for lots of other purposes as well. It's a good one for tying boats up and it's a GREAT knot for tying up women.

This is a nail knot. The last knot was good for nailing as well... I wonder if anyone reads these alt tags?For knotting the backing to the flyline you should use a nail knot (or a splice... see Viking Lars and his Shooting Head exploration) and you can find the nail knot here in the Stillwater section.

The invisible knotFor Saltwater Flyfishing (doesn't work) I use a 5-turn nail knot for attaching leader to flyline. For freshwater, I'll either use a 2-turn needle knot (nail knot with the leader inserted through the flyline) or else Dave Whitlock's method where the leader is actually glued stuck inside the flyine (using a thin needle and the Light of AAPGAI).

This is what you should aim for; a neat professional finish, ensuring there is exactly a 1/8 inch gap between the line and the rim. Otherwise it won't work and everyone will knowIn this last image you can just make out (until I resized it) a little loop in the end of the leader. I tied this using a secret knot. You may find something similar on this page. But you'll never know for sure. You will also notice that there is some free space on the reel, this is so it can revolve. This is an important point and if yours doesn't do this you'll have to take all the line back off the reel and wind it on using less backing. In order to avoid this, some people suggest that you wind the line on first and then the backing, take it all off and rewind it back on the right way. I don't do this, and the sort of people who do do this wear anoraks and trousers that are too short for them. Do you really want to end up like this? I think not. Put the backing on first and live a bit.

Related reading: The beginner's pages, Leader design in Stillwater. This is what happens when you get it wrong (thanks Sean).

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