Up until now I have always used my local fly shop to install my fly lines when I purchase them. Over the past couple of months I have been researching and learning how to do this myself. I am trying to be a little more self-sufficient. Anyway, I now have the confidence to change out my fly lines myself. I have an Anglers Image Line Winder from awhile back, but have never used it until recently. I have played around with it and it works fine for taking line off a reel and for cleaning. However, it does not appear that it will work for putting new fly line on a reel unless it is a DT line. If you take the line off the new spool onto the line winder then wind it onto the reel it will be on backwards. Am I correct in this? How do you go about getting a new line onto your reel?
I am looking at getting a Struble Line Winder, but it appears that you have the same issue. Of course, the Reel-E-Good line winder solves this issue, but I am looking for something a little more portable.
I use one of the old "Silver Fin" line winders to take lines off a reel and for cleaning lines. To install a new line on a reel that is on its factory spool, I stick a pencil through the hole in the center of the spool, attach the end of the fly line that has the sticker that says, "attach this end to backing" to the backing, hold the pencil between my knees or get someone with nothing better to do to hold the pencil, and crank it onto the reel. A relatively simple procedure, no?
The lines are set up that way so you can fill the whole reel spool with fly line and backing. I guess the manufacturers expext you'll be putting you new line on a new reel with new backing. Doing this would have you put the fly line on the reel, then fill the spool with backing, then take it all off and put it back on backing first.
I've done this several times with lines and backing for 4 thru 8 wt lines. It's not hard, just tedious. Surprizingly, I've never gotten a big knot or tangle just pulling the whole thing off the reel and letting it pile up on the floor.
I have improvised with battery/power drills to do the scut work.
Most recently, I loaded a new spey line and backing onto my new spey reel. I rigged a winder by lopping the reel seat/handle from an old spin rod and screwing it to a piece of wood to hold the reel, then putting my power drill in a bracket/holder in proximity to the reel and adding rubber rollers to a bolt in the drill chuck to turn the spool. I loaded the line and backing as above: line with floating tip first, then backing to the spool rim, then reverse.
I do the same thing Gary does, I use a pencil, I tape it to the side of a desk or kitchen counter, then put a book over the pencil for some added weight and then attache to my backing and then wind away.
I have a beautifully hand crafted line winder made by someone in our club that I won in a raffle........but I rarely use it when loading a reel
What I usually do is hold the line spool on a pencil between my knees
Just as easy.
The Anglers Image if primarily intended for you to change lines that have all ready been on the reel. It is handy for removing your lines from the reels for storage and to put back on for the season.
I have a Reel E Good winder that is more intended for installing new line or backing or what ever you want to do. I use it a lot putting line on Spinning and Casting rells.
Reel E Good winder
With the Reel E Good you can put your new spool of fly line or backing on the arbor and your fly reel on the other end. I use the fly line first then the backing method to get everything right. Then remove and wind on to the fly reel in the correct order. The winder does the job and has a lot of ad-ons that make it fairly flexible. I have had mine for many years with no serious problems. That is not to say it isn't problematic. It is made from plastic and things wobble and shake and gives a cheap feeling to the operation. But, it is way better than doing it by hand. I planned for years to make me a good winder when I had my lathe and mill but just never got to it.
Frank W. (as usual) has a great read on the situation. I too have a Reel-E-Good fly line winder. Save yourself a lot of frustrated wasted time and get one of these, plus some extra spools. Then get yourself a cheap portable rewinder if you think you need to rewind lines while on a fishing trip away from home. Viewed in the long term, buying both of these will save you a great deal of frustration, and considering all the other equipment most fly-fishers acquire, won't even count in terms of what they cost.
I pile mine up in the floor, then cuss when it gets tangled.
Seriously though, if you aren't casting more than 30' on a regular basis then there is no benefit to a WF line. The first 30' on standard WF and DT lines are exactly the same. Many people will claim that one will roll cast better than the other or some other thing. Not true, unless you are buying a specialty taper.
Take a look at the lines that have both WF and DT and you will see that most are only different in the belly length.
There used to be charts available from Cortland that showed that they were the same. Dig through the SA chart below and you can see the comparison. http://buy.scientificanglers.com/charts
Short version. If you buy a 444 or other standard taper, you are getting zero benefit from WF vs DT unless you are casting more than 30'. No benefit in roll casting or mending or anything else.