One evening while down on Afognak Island, my buddy Luke Randall decided it was time to spool up some of his new halibut reels. This sounds like a pretty straightforward task, as most of us have spooled miles of fishing line over the years, but I found out that putting line on a halibut reel is not as simple a routine as it sounds.
The first challenge in spooling a halibut reel is setting it up so it can be done quickly. With more than 5,400 feet of line to be put on the reels, if it we couldn’t find a way to do it efficiently, we’d pass out from exhaustion. To make things easier on ourselves, we mounted the rod with the new reel in a vise on one end of Luke’s workbench and the spool of Power Pro 100-pound-test on a vise at the other end of the bench. This provided a solid cranking platform across which to wind the reel.
The second and biggest challenge with spooling this heavy braided line is that the it must be spooled consistently tight. If you were to just thumb the line as you reeled it in, it would spool too loosely. Then, when fishing, dropping your heavy jig to the bottom and retrieving it would create tight winds of line toward the outside of the spool over top the more loose winds underneath. If you were to get slammed by a big halibut, the tight line would cut right through the loosely wound line and you’d lose your fish and all the line on the reel.
To solve this problem, we came up with a brilliant–albeit redneck–solution. The workbench had a middle vise, which we used to hold a rod with an old spinning reel. We then ran the Power Pro from its spool, around the spinning reel a few times, then to the reel that was being spooled. We used the spinning reel’s drag as a consistent tensioning device. It worked like a charm and we were able to get the reels ready to go in no time.