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October 26, 2001

Pay a Tension When Respooling

Create enough artificial tension to make respooling a one-man job.

I use a variety of reels loaded with monofilament ranging from 6- to 100-pound-test, and I am a firm believer in changing line three or four times each season. Taking all my reels to the local tackle shop for respooling became time-consuming and expensive, so now I buy line in bulk spools and fill reels myself. I developed a system to maintain tension on the spool while winding on fresh line.
Materials: 20-inch section of 9/16-inch wooden dowel; four washers to fit over dowel; two tennis balls; vise grips and workbench vise.
Assembly: Drill a 1/2-inch hole through both tennis balls; clamp one end of dowel in vise; slide one washer, one tennis ball, then another washer on dowel; slide on spool of line, followed by a washer, the second tennis ball and another washer; push spool to compress the first tennis ball against vise, then push the second tennis ball and washers tightly against spool; clamp vise grips on dowel beside last washer to maintain desired tension on spool.
You can control line tension by varying compression of the tennis balls. When using lighter lines you can simply slide on the tennis balls without clamping on vise grips. This system works well with lines up to 60-pound-test. When I have to spool 80-pound, 100-pound or Spectra, I go to the tackle shop because their equipment generates more tension than my simple setup.

Gary Gillingham, Duarte, California