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Beginner's Introduction to Fly Reels
Introduction to fly fishing by: Judy Lehmberg

After you have selected a rod and line, you will need to pick out a reel. Although in some ways the reel is less important than either the rod or line, it should not be dismissed as simply a place to store your line. Chosen correctly, the reel balances the rod and can be important when playing a fish.

There are three general types of fly reels available: single action, automatic and multiplier. Although all three have their supporters and uses, the single action reel is the one recommended most often for beginners. The multiplier is so named because for every rotation of the handle the spool rotates more than once. Automatic reels are designed so that the line is retrieved by pushing a lever, but are heavy and are no longer commonly used.The single action reel is basically a spool to hold line surrounded by a frame.

A good reel has an adjustable drag to control the amount of friction on the line when playing a fish and a mechanism to prevent backlash as line is stripped out. Reels vary in price from about $15 to well over $300. A very satisfactory reel can be found in the lower middle of the price range.

Your choice should be a reel with or without an adjustable drag that has space for a fly line and at least 40 yards of Dacron backing. You may wish to rely on the advise of a competent dealer to match your rod, line and reel, to be sure the entire outfit is properly balanced.

One last thing you need to know before you put your line on the reel is which hand you plan to use to reel in the line. Many left-handed casters reel with their right hand and vice versa, but there are some people who cast and reel with the same hand. You need to decide which hand you prefer for turning your reel and then make sure the reel you want has a drag system set up for your method. Most reels come with the drag system set up for the angler to reel with the right hand. If you prefer to use your left hand you must reverse the drag system. Most fly tackle shops will do this for you when you buy your reel.

Once you have collected your rod, reel, line and leader, you will need to put them all together. Before the line is spooled on the reel you will want to put at least 40 yards of Dacron backing on the reel. Backing is an important component when you catch a large, strong fish that makes long runs. It also provides a large base to spool the fly line over so you can get it onto the reel faster.

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