Line Winder? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Line Winder?

12-15-2007, 10:12 AM
I had what seems now to be a crazy idea of taking all the lines and backing off all my reels and giving them a proper clean this winter.
The problem I have come up with is how do I reload the backing onto my reels with sufficient tension.
Most of my reels are saltwater reels with at least 200yds of backing of various types.
I have also a reasonable number of reels.

I have line winders from Struble and also a "Smart Spooler".
This are products designed for someone who has a couple of trout reels and are not really practical.
I have found some things on the web but they cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
I was thinking of maybe making something myself with some sort of electric motor but I don't know where to begin.
Has anyone any ideas?

Many thanks in advance.


12-15-2007, 11:57 AM
Here is a gadget I came up with when I was experimenting with what hand too wind with. I used a Pfluger Sal-Trout No.1558 that I have had laying around here forever almost.
I simply sacrificed a old broken spinning rod I had and epoxied into the wood block. I used copper strips cut from some left over roof flashing and used some sheet rock screws to hold the Sal trout in place.

I then C-clamped it to my work bench I.E. Kitchen table much to the dismay of SWMBO :hihi: and used my dominant & non dominant hand to tediously unwind all of the backing off the reel. The Sal-trout has a drag adjustment & you could get a decent tension on things.

It is however hard to get things to reel on nice & level but if you are not in a hurry it works OK. A Berkley line winder would be nice. But like you say they are expensive.

Note: I used one of those collapsible Anglers Image brand line winder thingys to remove the fly line.
This set up works good if you plan on winding the line right back on or to another spool. It has no provision to remove the line from the Sal-trout except by unwinding it.

What the heck, it worked!

12-16-2007, 06:46 AM
I use a large saltwater trolling reel and wind the backing onto it off the fly reel. When i put the backing back onto the fly reel I just adjust the drag for the trolling reel to the desired tension and reel it back on.

12-17-2007, 12:19 PM
I like the here is a device that came out a few years ago that attached to a drill. It was/is called the "smart spooler". That could work for you.

12-17-2007, 01:05 PM
Thanks Guys

The problem is all about transferring many hundreds of yards of backing and then putting it back onto the reel with tension. Reeling from on spool to another and then back again and if I want to reverse the backing once more. Is the job I am trying to do simply.

I said I have a smart spooler and I don't like it.

12-17-2007, 02:40 PM
Pete, I was going to recommend the Tibor LineMaster; but after reading your latest post, I'm at a loss, except...beg, borrow, steal a motorized line winder from a shop. Taking backing off a reel, and then reversing it to put back on the reel is too labor intensive for multiple reels.

One approach that I have used is a drill with a fly line spool attached to the drill via a bolt/washers and wingnut. Requires someone to hold the reel while winding the backing onto the spool. Rewind backing on another fly line spool for reversing on the reel spool.

Warren's approach with electric drill assist is a possinbility.

12-17-2007, 03:36 PM
Not exactly an answer to your question but for any dacron backing I would just chuck it and buy new. Seems like the most cost/time effective method. For gelspun I agree with Jim, a few bucks at your local fly shop (if one exists) to use there machine seems like the best bet as its way more expensive than dacron but has a much better shelf life.


12-18-2007, 09:23 AM

I said I have a smart spooler and I don't like it.[/QUOTE]

Pete, sorry. I read your post and then spent a couple of minutes searching for a device I had seen and by the time I found it, I had forgotten that you didn't like it.

Have you considered a Struble line winder? They are terrific and I have used them for years.

12-18-2007, 09:58 AM
I second Sean's opinion, I'd also consider just chucking the backing and starting fresh. It'll probably only cost you a few bucks per spool, especially if you're doing a bunch of them. You'll get the backing on with the correct tension and it'll get rid of any possibly damaged backing that could cost you a fish or a $60+ fly line. I'd just take the line off and then use an electric drill with an empty plastic spool on it to get the backing off quickly.

12-23-2007, 08:41 AM
Here's an idea for a rig sort of like Warren's: Use a short piece of a rod with the original reel seat on one end, then mount another reel seat on the other end so you can attach two reels "face to face", so to speak. Then you can wind line from one reel to the other, using the drag on the reel to adjust the tension. You probably wouldn't even need to clamp it to a table.

If the backing on your reels is interchangeable among multiple reels or spools (i.e., same size & quantity) you can reduce the number of unwindings/rewindings by emptying & cleaning one spool, and then refilling that spool with the backing from another spool. Then you've simultaneously filled one spool, reversed the backing, and emptied another spool.

If two spools hold different quantities of backing you could still use this method if you fill the smaller spool from the larger spool. Of course, you would have to sacrifice some backing from the larger spool so you might as well discard some of the "used" backing before filling the smaller spool.

I'm assuming you would do the fly line separately from the backing. Seems like it would be a bad idea to wind backing on top of fly line.