How To Set Up A Fly Reel (Step-By-Step Guide)

It’s pretty simple to set up a fly reel if it is not your first-time attempt. Some fly reel comes with already spools with the line, backing, and leader. In some cases, you will get an empty fly reel including 100 feet of fly line and 100 yards of backing. So, before reeling on the leader and fly line, you have to measure the accurate amount of backing.

Are you afraid of doing this process? Well, here we will show you the step-by-step process of how to set up a fly reel. Simply attach the backing to the reel, fly line to the backing, and leader to the fly line.      

How to Set up a Fly Reel (step-By-Step Guide)

The following methods are for the typical one-handed rod, fly-casting to trout, panfish, bass, and like. To make this process happen, you will need:

  • A fly reel,
  • 100-150 backing yards,
  • A fly line,
  • A tapered leader,
  • Scissors. 

So, let’s get started to set the fly reel.

Step 1: Attach the Backing to the Reel

To tie the backing on the reel, the backing amount will depend on the reel. Though there is no exact science, you can see the specific reel and the backing recommendation. In general, a reel will require around 100-125 yards of backing.

To attach the backing to the reel, you can use a simple arbor knot. Just come around the arbor of the fly reel which will make a loop around the arbor of the reel. Then take the tag in then bring it back towards the reel, and fold it over top of the standing pieces.

Remember it’s an overhand five-time knot, so you have to take the tag through the loop 5 times. After that, pull the standing end to tighten the tag up. To cinch the backing right down onto the reel pull the standing in.

Now it’s time for reeling up the backing. When you start reeling, do it slowly with little tension. To avoid the backing buildup too much, make sure spreading the backing across the reel evenly. In the end, cut it with scissors.

Step 2: Attach Fly Line to Backing

Some fly lines come with pipe cleaners or little rubber-coated bands. So, open the pipe cleansers or rubber up and fold over the spool edges. It will allow the lines to come off easily and prevent the spool from coming apart. 

It is necessary to know the accurate fly line end that you should connect to the backing. Generally, fly lines come with a tag so that you can easily get it right. Ok! Now, it’s time for connecting the fly line with the backing. Many fly lines designed with a welded loop on both ends.

With this welded loop, simply tie a clinch knot through it. If the fly line does not have any welded loop, you can make Albright or nail knot. After tying the knot, ensure trimming the tag end closely. Now put a pen through there and start surreal on the fly line evenly.    

Step 3: Attach the Leader to the Fly Line

Leaders come out of the box twisted up. So, hold the fat end of it tightly with one hand and then pull it through another hand. As the leader goes through the hand, it will heat up your hand. In this way, it will stretch the leader up and pull out all those coils and kinks of it. You have to do this thing every time you fish.

Some modern lines are designed with a welded loop, and some are not. If the leader has a loop, you have to use a loop-to-loop connection. Take the leader and thread it completely onto the fly line. Make sure not to put the leader through the fly line hole. After that, take the small end of the leader and push it through the fly lines loop.

Then keep pulling it until it tightens up. You can do a clinch knot if the leader doesn’t have any welded loop. Many people attach loops in the wrong way so be very careful while doing this. Once again, you can use an Albright or nail knot to connect the leader with the fly line.
How To Set Up A Fly Reel

To make the setup process more easier you can use the baitcaster combo. To know more about it you can Go Here. This combo is equipped with specialized technologies with an innovative brake system. Baitcaster combo is the ideal equipment for easy setup and providing smooth performance.

Maintenance Tips for Fly Fishing Reel

If you are fishing in saltwater, silty or muddy rivers, the reel can get damaged. Spending a little time to maintain the fly reel can avoid its long-term damage. So, follow the below maintenance tips to keep the fly reel in the best condition.

  • While fishing, do practice good reel handling.
  • After fishing in harsh conditions or long trips deep clean the reel.
  • Do not soak the drag housing and reel frame for a longer time.
  • After every cleaning process dries the reel properly.
  • Make sure to lubricate the reel once a year.
  • After every use, rinses off the reel with warm fresh water.
  • Do not forget to oil the cork drag washer with proper lubrication.
  • Before storing the reel, back off the drag pressure.
  • For long-term storage of fly reel, remove the backing and line.


Fishing can be very overwhelming if you know all the tricks and basic knowledge about the tools. But, if you are new, remember there is a lot to learn. To learn fly fishing takes time, but the journey is worthwhile. There are several easy ways for setting up the fly reel.  

If you want to do it by yourself, this guide is ideal for you. We share all the steps of how to set up a fly reel. So, learn the steps, set the reel up, and you are good to go for the most exciting fishing outings. 

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