January 17th, 2005

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Super Simple Fly Line Winder

By Richard A. Lewis

Line winders allow you to easily dry your backing, clean your fly line, and change fly lines easily from fly reels and spools. Temporarily removing your fly line and backing from your reel also allows you to clean the fly line, spool and arbor, which is essential to proper maintenance of your reel. Reels used in saltwater need to be cleaned after use in order to prevent corrosive damage. Every fly angler should have a fly line winder. However, store-bought winders are usually elaborate and expensive. I have designed the "Super Simple Fly Line Winder" to be super easy to construct, and super easy to use. The total cost of ownership is less than $10.00. Follow along as we build the "Super Simple Fly line Winder" in about 15 minutes or less!


    1) Plastic Electrical Cord Reel. Source-Home Improvement Store. Cost $7.95.

    2) Standard - Sized Fun Noodle Foam Pool Toy. Source-Toy Store/Pool Store. Cost $1.00.

    3) Non-Skid Waffle Pad (drawer liner). Source-Home Improvement Store.

    4) Craft Goop Adhesive.

    1) Fillet Knife.

    2) Scissors.

This plastic electrical cord reel is designed to hold a 50 foot long electrical cord.

Choose any color standard sized round or hex shaped foam rod. Insert the foam "Pool Noodle" rod into the holes in the reel flange. The holes are sized to make for a snug fit and the foam rod will stay in place nicely without any modification or bonding. Twist and seat the foam rod.

Slice the foam noodle using a sharp fillet knife. The foam cuts like butter-so please be careful.

Continue installing the foam pool noodles through all five sets of (5) holes. Trim the ends of the foam rods close enough to the outside of the flange to insure that the reel clears the winder frame and spins freely. I usually rough cut the foam rods a bit long and then trim them nearly flush once I have them all inserted and seated firmly.

Measure and cut two (2) each, inch wide strips of non-skid waffle sheet (drawer liner) to length. Now spread a little Goop along the frame bottom and then smooth down the non-skid material. This project completed!

Using a line winder:

Tape your leader to the inside flange of the winder near one of the foam rungs. Wind on your line from your fly reel. The "Super Simple Fly Line Winder" takes up line at the amazing rate of 29 inches per revolution. You can now quickly remove a fly line and the backing from your fly reel in just a minute's time. The large, open area design of this winder's large arbor allows air to freely circulate and dry your line and backing fast. To clean your line, simply wind your line onto the "Super Simple Fly Line Winder" through a damp rag and then wind it back onto your fly reel through a dry rag or towel. You can also use the line winder to apply a line dressing.

Note to Saltwater Anglers: Once the line is transferred to the "Super Simple Fly Line Winder," your line can then be rinsed-off with fresh water and allowed to dry before re-winding it onto your reel.

You can make three of four "Super Simple Fly Line Winders" for the price of one store-bought winder and have them all available to store and service various fly lines. The "Super Simple Fly Line Winder" will not retain moisture nor will it ever corrode. The entire unit weights about a pound and is very rugged. Toss one in the trunk of the fishing vehicle or on your boat and take it with you to enable fast line changes in the field. I hope you enjoy using the "Super Simple Fly Line Winder". ~ Rich Lewis

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