As one falls farther down the rabbit hole that is a lifetime pursuit of fish on fly, we tend to accumulate a tremendous amount of fly lines. The more species targeted in fresh or saltwater leads to a greater variety of specialty lines for a host of different species. More often than not, those lines only find themselves on a few different reels and spend most of their time on spools waiting to be used again. Depending on where and how you fish, you might use one reel for several different applications in the same month. For example, one might be chucking streamers to Allegheny River browns with an intermediate line one weekend, throwing lasers with a skagit the next, and then dredging an inlet for stripers with 450 grain sinking line. In times like those, changing lines can be a pain in the rear end. Until now, there have only been a few gadgets and spools out there that do a mediocre job at swapping lines on the fly. Enter the Reel Winder. A product of three Michigan fly fishermen, the Reel Winder offers a portable, efficient, and fast method of switching fly lines both on and off the water.
A chance encounter in 2012 with a man named "Heinz," brought the concept behind the Reel Winder to David Humphries, a lifetime fishermen with a background in plastics engineering. David recognized how practical Heinz's original prototype was and together they worked on perfecting the original idea. David then partnered with his friend, Steve Lepley, who used his expertise at engineering plastic components to help cement the final design. At the moment, David and Steve are counting on fly fishermen to help them raise the necessary funds to bring their prototype to fruition. They've started a kickstarter campaign to bring attention to the Reel Winder and raise the funds to help bring it to the market place. To help fund the kickstarter campaign and obtain your own Reel Winder head to: Kickstarter- The Reel Winder
The Reel Winder functions the same way as a fly reel, but it is attached to the cork of a fly rod to easily transfer on and off fly lines. The Winder uses a clip to attach it to the end of the cork, which is as simple as attaching a clothes pin to a clothes line. Attached to the clip is a frame that closely resembles one on a fly reel. Spools are easily attached and removed from this frame. In order to change lines, one simply attaches the fly line onto the Reel Winder's spool and reels the fly line off onto the Reel Winder. From here, you can switch spools off of the Reel Winder and reverse the process to attach a new line to your reel. This functions best with large loops attached to your backing and the rear end of your fly lines. Done this way, you can literally swap out lines in a few short minutes.
Reviewed Prototype Version
The Kickstarter funded version of the Reel Winder.
The quickness with which one can swap out lines alleviates many of the problems we often experience. No longer will one have to ask a roommate or family member to hold a spool with a pencil in the middle of it as they reel a new line on. No longer will an angler have to strip an entire fly line off onto the floor or slowly hand wind one onto a plastic line spool. No more swapping lines out in the front seat of moving vehicle only to have it turn into a massive rat's nest that takes hours to untangle. No more reeling in a fly line as the spool bounces around the ground like your walking the dog. More importantly, no more reeling in line where there is no tension and the spooled line tangles or the line is unevenly spooled on the reel. These are inefficient ways of swapping out lines.
The Reel Winder is efficient for a number of reasons. For one, the fly line will never touch a dirty floor, carpet, rocks, sand, gravel, get stepped on accidentally, or picked up and shredded by a cat (yes that has happened). The fly line is always on your reel or the reel winder spool. Since you are reeling it off of your reel, you can use the reel's drag to get the perfect amount of tension and can easily direct it onto the reel evenly. Thats right, no more having to explain to whoever is holding your spare spool how to apply tension or painfully pinching a line between your legs as you reel it on yourself. Spools are easily swapped out and cost a lot less than having to buy a spare spool for your $500 dollar reel. It also makes cleaning lines simple. You can apply the line cleaner as the line is transferred onto the Reel Winder and then buffer the line as it is reeled back onto your fly reel. All told, the Reel Winder is not only fast, but efficient. It minimizes or completely eliminates most problems angler's can experience while switching lines.
Last and certainly not least, the Reel Winder is very portable. This makes it very easy to pack several spools and the winder in any type of bag for an extended trip. It is also small enough to fit in a large pocket of a fishing vest or in a sling pack, waist pack, or backpack. This greatly increases the value of the Reel Winder, because you can easily change lines out on stream in the same amount of time it may take you to tie up a new nymphing rig. This makes you a better angler that can more easily adapt to different fishing situations. No more wishing you had a sink tip fly line to throw a streamer in that deep hole. Now you can take five minutes, change your entire line out, and snag that two foot wild brown.
To help fund David's kickstarter campaign or preorder your very own Reel Winder, please head to the following page by clicking on the link: Kickstarter- The Reel Winder