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        Proper assembly of your equipment is vital to its performance.

In this section, you will be walked through the proper steps to assemble and disassemble your tackle.

There are many knots used in flyfishing, and there can be many different knots that will work for one particular connection point in your tackle.

At each connection point, we'll mention the most common knots used for that particular connection. One knot recommend will be the hyperlink with tying instructions and illustrations. You can jump back and forth if you are assembling yor rod as you read this, or you may wait and learn all of the knots at once in the Knots section of this site.


        The first step is to decide which hand you would like to use for reeling. Most reels are capable of both a right-hand or left-hand retrieve. The 'Classic' method seems to lean towards reeling with your right hand; however there are many people who prefer reeling with their left hand. This is really just personal preference, and either method is acceptable. You may find it more comfortable to reel with your left hand if you are right-handed and have been fishing with a spinning reel for many years.

 Some reels have the same amount of drag in both directions, but most have more drag in one direction than the other. If your reel has more drag in one direction, you will have to make sure it is set up properly for your chosen right-hand or left-hand retrieve. Take the reel in your hand and look straight at the side with the reel handle. For a right-hand retrieve, it should be easier to turn it clockwise and harder to turn it counter-clockwise. For a left-hand retrieve, it should be harder to turn it clockwise, and easier to turn it counter-clockwise. If your reel is set up for the other hand, you will have to reverse your drag setting. You should refer to your owner's manual for the proper procedure.
 Most of the time, you just have to remove the spool and reverse the position of the two pieces that apply pressure to the drag spring.


        Now we can attach the reel to the rod. Since we are going to be loading line on the reel, it is best to just use the lower section of the rod so it is short enough to handle easily.
Simply insert the foot of the reel into the reel seat, and tighten the reel seat until it is snug. When you hold the rod in your casting hand with the reel hanging below the rod, the reel handle should be on the same side of the rod as the hand you intend to reel with.


        The next step is to determine the proper amount of backing to use. Your owner's manual for your reel should tell you the amount of backing to use, with a certain weight line, to fill it to the proper level. It may state the capacity is 100 yards of 20 pound backing with a weight forward 5 line, or 75 yards of 20 pound backing with a weight forward 6 line.
What you are trying to do is put enough backing on the reel so the line, which is a fixed length, properly fills the rest of the space. You want the line to be about 1/8" short of the spool's edge. This leaves enough room so you don't pinch the line between the spool and the body of the reel.

There is an alternative method if your reel did not come with a capacity chart.
 You can wind your flyline onto the spool first, and then wind on enough backing to fill to the proper capacity. Then cut the backing at this point, and remove the backing and flyline. You have now predetermined the proper amount of backing.
If you use this method, be sure not to mix up the ends of the flyline. One end gets attached to the backing and one end gets attached to the leader. Unless your line is level or a double taper, the two ends are very different.


        Take the backing and insert it through the guides on the lower section of the rod. Bring the backing down to the reel and tie an Arbor Knot to properly secure it. Now wind the backing onto the reel, and make sure that the line is coming out of the guide and onto the side of the reel that is away from the rod. Wind the backing as smooth and even as possible, by guiding it with your other hand.
Leave a few feet of backing hanging out of the guides, so you have enough room to tie your next knot.


        The next connection is from your backing to the 'reel' side of the flyline.
 You can either use a Nail Knot or an Albright Knot.
Take your time with this one and try to make the connection as smooth as possible.
 A fish may take enough line out that takes you into your backing. If this knot is bulky and/or sloppy, it may get stuck in the guides and could cause the leader to break when the fish surges.
Now wind your flyline onto the reel, and try to keep the line fairly smooth by guiding it with your other hand.
 It doesn't have to be perfect. 
You just want to make sure that you have properly calculated the amount of backing.

If you did....great! 

If you didn't, 
you will need to remove the flyline from the reel, adjust the backing accordingly, and re-tie your connection.


        Now it's time to attach the leader to the flyline. You have quite a few choices here, and all are acceptable.

The first choice is to attach the leader to the flyline using a Nail Knot or a Needle Knot.
 These produce solid connections; however you will not be able to replace your leader without having to tie a new knot. This doesn't pose a problem if you are able to tie these knots without too much fuss.

 If you would like an easier method, you can utilize a loop to loop connection. You will need to have a loop at the end of the flyline and the butt section of the leader. You can use a braided loop connector to create a loop at the end of the flyline. It is simply a hollow braided tube with a loop at the end. You slide the tip of your flyline into the connector, and then affix a small section of heat shrink tubing over the connector to keep the line from sliding out. These are very handy and work well. You can find them at most fly shops.
If you use the braided loop connector, be sure to periodically check the connector for signs of wear.
They are somewhat fragile and can break at the most inopportune time.

Another way to add a loop to the end of your line is to make your own loop out of heavy monofilament line.
 You can use a piece of heavy tippet material or standard monofilament fishing line. Just make sure the material you use is approximately the same diameter and stiffness as the butt section of the leaders you plan to use. This is usually around twenty to thirty pound test for most applications. Just don't go too light or you will create a hinge at the connection, and your leader will not turn over properly.
 Tie one end to your line with either the 
Nail Knot or Needle Knot.
Now you have to create a loop with the monofilament, and this is best accomplished using the Perfection Knot. You will also use the Perfection Knot to create a loop in the butt, or heavy, end of your leader. You can now utilize the loop to loop connection to quickly and easily change your leaders if necessary.


        If you like, you may now add additional tippet material to the end of your leader. This is not really necessary on a brand new leader, but it does provide you with a few advantages. There are many different approaches to this, and it is really an ongoing debate among anglers.
 Here is a common method among anglers.
 If you decide that a 5X leader is appropriate for your particular fishing situation, you can purchase a 4X leader and simply add about twelve to eighteen inches of 5X tippet to the end of it.
In other words, buy a leader one X-rating stiffer than you plan to use. You could even add 6X tippet to make the leader even more delicate. With this configuration you will prolong the life of the original leader, and will be able to change between two or three different X-ratings quickly and easily.
 Another advantage of this system is that the knot used to attach the extra tippet material also serves the purpose of holding your split shot at the proper distance from the fly when you are fishing nymphs. If you crimp split-shot onto a leader without such a knot, your split-shot will eventually move closer and closer to the fly. Since most nymphing is done with the use of split-shot, this can be very helpful. If you decide not to use this method, you will need to add tippet material after tying on a few flies. The rule of thumb is to add tippet material when the leader is 80% of its original length. A 7.5 foot leader has about 1.5 feet of tippet when it's new, and a 9 foot leader has about 2 feet of tippet when it's new. If you choose this route, I'd suggest you add tippet before your leader gets this short. By doing so, you will be able to replace the tippet section many times without losing the tapered section of the leader.
In either case, you can use either a 
Triple Surgeons Knot
or a
Blood Knot
to make this connection.


        Finally, assemble your rod's sections, and thread the leader up through the guides. 

 You can attach your fly using an Improved Clinch Knot, Palomar Knot, or Turtle Knot

That's it!
  You're ready to go fishing. 

One last note is to use caution when disassembling your rod's sections.
You should try to pull them apart in a straight line, and not apply excessive pressure to the ferrule area. 
A rod can be easily damaged if you are not careful.



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