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A secure connection between your braided line and spool is of paramount importance; here’s a look at how to do it properly.
By Toby Lapinski
It only takes a moment to ensure a solid connection is made from your braid to backing to spool, but doing it wrong can lead to catastrophic failure at the most inopportune of times.

Here it is, mid-April, and I am still not 100% ready for the open-water fishing season which has already begun in a lot of places. There used to be a time when I couldn’t wait for the fishing to get going each year. I’d head to the water at the first sign of spring making fruitless casts into cold, often fishless waters. Every so often I’d get lucky, one time I had a banner outing. Nowadays with a full-time job, a wife, a dog, a 5-year-old son and a laundry list of excuses—you know, “adult” problems—I feel like the winter isn’t long enough. Don’t get me wrong, I still have that deep-rooted urge to get out and wet a line, and quite often I still do so prematurely, but in general there simply isn’t enough time in the “off season” to get all of my fishing to-do list completed.

As I type this there remains a large, yellow Post-It note above my computer on the window sill that was placed there last October. On the note is a long list of things written by a very ambitious version of myself, and unfortunately only three of the eleven items have been crossed off so far. This doesn’t mean I won’t be ready to start fishing, it just means that I will be a bit rushed to do so in the coming days and weeks.

One of the items on the list is to re-spool my primary surf reel, my trustworthy Van Staal VSX250. This workhorse saw many casts last year and bested some hefty striped bass along the way, but admittedly I might be pushing the 30-pound Fireline well beyond its life expectancy if I leave it on there for one more season. The New Englander in me likes to get as many casts out of a spool of braid, and I always “flip” the line by peeling it off, putting it onto a second spool, and then replacing it on the original spool. This puts the fresh line that had been at the bottom of the spool up on top, essentially doubling the lifespan if the single purchase. This is why I buy my braid in 300-yard spools as it affords me the ability to first cut back as needed, and then to reverse the line and still have enough on there to feel comfortable. Well, this reel has been in service with the same spool of Fireline now for at least two full seasons, maybe even three, and it’s time to do something about it.

Today’s ramblings are not about how many casts I have gotten out of that one spool of braid since however many months ago I made the original purchase. Instead I’d like to briefly tackle the act of how to properly attach your braided line to the spool of your reel. This process is the same whether you have to re-spool that tiny spinner for trout or a deep-water conventional for cod. It will probably work for tuna, too, but without any personal experience spooling up for bluefin I’ll leave that task to our friends in the local tackle shop.

This is my preferred method and it has yet to fail me. Of course, I just jinxed myself by putting that statement out there, but if nothing else it will give me something to write about down the road. In my opinion a monofilament base is the most secure and failsafe method for spooling up with braid, and therefore it is what I recommend first and foremost.

Depending on whether you need to fill some space on the spool or not will decide how much line to use here. You can use any monofilament that you have handy unless you plan to run a short top shot of braid, but that technique is for another day so we’ll assume the plan is to put a full spool of braid on your reel. Secure the mono to the spool with whichever knot you prefer. There are many different options out there including the arbor knot, clinch knot and others. I use a clinch knot, but what is most important is that the knot is secure and does not slip! Failing to do this will ultimately result in failure at some point in time.

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