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Ways to handle Covid-19 and outdoor recreation

Ways to handle Covid-19 and outdoor recreation

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Fishing pole

Spooling new fishing line onto your favorite rig is not difficult. There are just a few critical things you have to do. One trick is to put just a bit of pressure on the new line with the paper towel and clothes pin trick shown here. The tension put on the line will make it lay on the reel spool more evenly and you will have less chance of tangles. Check out how its done in this weeks column. Not all reels are the same!

Covid-19 is making us change a lot of our usual routines. Self-quarantine actions and social distancing are the orders of the day. If everyone tries to do their part we may be able to slow the spread of the virus and get back to some type of normal. Be careful out there!

Now…for those of us who are avid outdoor recreationalists, we may have the best thing going. When it comes to social distancing, those of us who hunt and fish do this almost naturally. We may have the only activity that meets social distancing guidelines set out by the CDC.

There are a host of other things we can do to isolate ourselves and meet the intent of Coronavirus safety guidelines. Since spring is coming and fishing activities will be picking up again, I thought I’d cover one of those things we all need to do from time to time….put new fishing line on our favorite rigs.

Putting new line on a reel sounds pretty mundane, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Did you know that? Do it the right way and everything is fine. Do it the wrong way and you end up with a mess.

If you have never spooled new line on a fishing reel, the instructions to do it can be quite intimidating. You need to have the right kind of line for the fishing you intend to do and you need to know how to correctly wind it on to the type of reel you have.

There are a lot of different reels used for fishing, but there are three general types of fishing reels that are most commonly used today:

Spincast Reel – This is a very simple and easy to use fishing reel. It would be like the Zebco 202 you probably used when you started out fishing. These reels are known for their simple push-button and release design.

Spinning Reel – These are very versatile reels and one of my favorite types of reels to use. It is a bit more complicated for first-timers because you have to flip up a bail wire and hold the line with a finger in order to cast it. It takes a bit of practice, but you get the hang of it quickly. This type of reel may be the best for using when fishing with artificial lures and live baits. I believe that, due to you having a finger on the line almost at all time, you have the best sensitivity with this kind of reel and can “feel” everything that is happening with your lure.

Baitcast Reel - This kind of reel is what you see most professional bass anglers using on TV or via You Tube videos. This type of reel may take the most time to get used to but it is also a great over all reel choice.

So, if you need to put new line on a spincast reel, you first need to remove the old line. Next, feed the new line through the line guides on the rod and the little hole in the dust cove before tying the line on to the take up spool. Do that with a strong non-slip knot. Use a bracket or have someone hold the new spool of line on an axel of some type (a pencil, piece of dowel, etc.) so that the new line can roll off the top of the spool as you wind it on.

Here is a trick I learned years ago…take a paper towel and fold it a couple of times. Clip the paper towel over the new line between a couple of the line guides on the rod. This will give the line some tension so that it winds onto the reel spool correctly.

Slowly take in the new line and make sure it does not have any slack or loops on the reel spool. Fill up the reel spool until you are about 1/8-inch from the lip of the spool.

For a spinning reel the instructions are very similar. Feed the new line through the rod guides. Lower the wire bail and tie the line on to the take up spool with a strong non-slip knot. Close the bail. Have someone hold the new spool line as directed above and wind new line on to you spinning reel. Use the same paper towel/clothes pin technique mentioned above to place some tension on the new line. As with a spincast reel, watch to ensure the new line and make sure it does not have any slack or loops on the reel spool. Fill up the reel spool until you are about 1/8-inch from the lip of the spool.

If you use a baitcasting reel, feed the new line down the rod as mentioned above and through the little hole (the line guide) on the cross arm on to the reel. Tie your new line firmly to the baitcasting spool arbor. Crank the reel and watch the line wind on to the baitcasting reel. Make sure the line guide is moving back and forth across the reel and that the new line is laying onto the reel evenly.

Now is the time to get this done as well as additional reel maintenance, hook sharpening, sorting out your tackle box, checking your waders of leaks, mending tears in your landing net…as I said, there are a host of other things we can do to isolate ourselves and meet the intent of Coronavirus safety guidelines while we get ready for spring fishing.

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