November 14th, 2005

Winding Too Far
By James Castwell


And that is just what it means, winding your fly line too far into your fly reel. Sometimes it can be the simplest of things that can absolutely wreck a fishing trip. As we get older we supposedly learn more about the game and when we put all of the little bits of great wisdom together we supposedly out fish the younger guys.

Ever wonder why it is the old guys just seem to do better? Why they simply get the most rises, hits, most fish, biggest fish and usually out perform the newby's without even trying? It can't be luck because it always tilts in favor of the older fly fisher. There might be a slight edge given for better fly fishing gear, but not that much. Is it because they are any smarter? You've heard, " Heck, he's forgot more than I'll ever know!" Maybe, but probably not. No, it is in reality the little things he does automatically. Like shifting into second gear, it just happens without any fanfare or even any notice at all.

I would like to go into the knots you use to fasten the leader to your fly line, but that's too involved. Different knots are best for different conditions. Perhaps someday I will cover the correct knots and when to use them. But for here and now, let me pass along this little bit of wisdom which, if it hasn't yet happened to you, most likely will. In fact it may have happened to you and you didn't know it, or worse yet, have not yet found out about it. Sounds mysterious doesn't it. Actually it can be a mystery and has been for some that I know for sure. It is what can, (make that, for darn sure will, sooner or later) happen to your reel when you wind the line and leader all the way into the reel.

Now, just because this has not yet caused you any problem does not mean it won't ever happen to you. It is a 'Russian Roulette' thing. The law of 'unfortunate happenings' guarantees it. When it comes all the way in there is no tension on the end of the leader. None on the several coils of leader and even the fly line near the top either. I have even seen guys show off in some sort of a macho-man exhibit spin the reel like it was the cylinder of a wild-west revolver. Big shot, dumber than a post.

What will sooner or later happen is the little end of leader will get itself tucked under one of the loose coils. It won't be noticed when you pull it off the reel as the coils are all loose and there is not enough friction as the cross-over just keeps tippy-toeing it's merry way farther and farther down into the deeper coils of your reel. You may not notice it at all. It may be like that right now.

Scary isn't it? It might have happened last season and you have not pulled enough line off of the reel to have reached the place where it finally says, "I've had it. Far enough! I am going to jam this reel right here and now!"

About that time let's hope you are not fastened to the biggest, meanest, backing-eating brown trout of a lifetime. If you are, you are not going to need your camera or your frying pan either. On the other hand if you are an 'old timer' you never let things like this happen. You always leave a foot or so of line or leader hanging out of your reel to protect yourself from such a simple cross-over problem happening.

Remember though, it is just these simple little things which separate us old guys from you new guys. Well, these things and a few years of doing stuff the hard way. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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