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You’ve finally found a weekend to make it back to the river. On the drive, you’re planning out what flies you’ll use and the different holes you’re going to try and hit. As you’re getting set up, you find that there’s a massive tangle in your fly reel.
Believe it or not, this happens to anglers of all skill levels. Tangles in your reel are inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a common occurrence. Here are a few tips to help you prevent getting your fly line tangled.
Slow and Steady
Whenever you’re reeling and stripping, it’s important to control your rig as much as possible.
As you begin your day, be sure to not pull too hard on the fly line when you’re ready to make your first cast. This is a great way to create a tangled mess in your reel. Take your time and slowly strip out enough to get started.
When you’re reeling, it’s smart to keep a finger on the line to help it correctly fall into place on the spool. If you allow the line to feed into your reel without guiding it, it’s going to create loops. Loops in your fly line are dangerous.
If you have an unknown loop in your fly line, it’s because the line wasn’t retrieved properly. Or, you let the line tangle at the rod tip.
When you’re fighting a fish and run into a loop, it’s likely going to get snagged on the other line in your reel and cause the line to immediately stop. This sudden stop will either break the tippet or give the fish a chance to shake free.
Prevent this by reeling in while guiding the line onto the spool.
Is your line spooled properly?
As a fly angler, you’re constantly removing the line from your spool as you cast and fight fish. If it isn’t spooled correctly, you’ll see your line getting tangled on a regular basis.
To create a tight spool, be sure to have tension on the line as you reel it on top of your backing. An easy way to create tension is to attach the reel to the rod and hold the fly line tight a few feet above your reel. As you’re reeling, be sure it spools from side to side and doesn’t stack on the left or right side of the reel.
Check your leader
As you’re reeling to end the day, pay close attention to your leader. It’s not uncommon for the leader to slip into the inner portions of the reel and tangle itself. When this occurs, you spend quite a bit of time trying to get it free.
An easy way to make sure the leader stays on top of the fly line is to keep tension on it as it enters the reel. A loose leader will get tangled. Keep tension until you see the last of it enter the reel and you won’t have a delay to start your next fishing adventure!
If Prevention Doesn't Work
All Wild Water Fly Fishing reels have a quick release. If your tippet or leader gets behind the spool all you need to do is take the spool off and untangle it.
If the line isn't even or if you have a loop, strip the fly line off and wind it back on.