Line Management Techniques

As most of you long rodders know it can be a real blessing when the wind is calm and the sun is out so we can see the targets we so hopefully seek out on the water. Sight casting is defiantly more fun under these conditions, but what about those days when itís not nice and calm, when the wind is blowing at a constant 15 to 20 with gusts? Do you stay home or head on out and try to master the difficulties that are sure to plague you.

Iím talking line management here. Itís usually easier to see fish with a little chop on the water because the waves actually create little windows for us, not to mention dampening our wadding wakes and noise so we can get close enough to our targets to make a presentation to them.

So the wind can be your friend but you must have some idea of how to manage all that extra line you have peeled off your fly reel. There are as many tricks to this as there are fisherman, from piling the line on the deck and standing on it till you go to cast, to playpens built on the forward deck, to all kinds of gizmos that attach to your waste. One thing is for sure you are going to have to manage that fly line somehow to keep it under control so you can make a cast when you do see that big one.

When I bought my Newwater Ibis, I had Tim Clancey build me a basket that attached to the forward casting platform and swiveled around the top of the platform so you could always be able to strip the line back into the basket. It seemed like the perfect solution to my line management problem and it worked to some degree but if you changed directions for a second cast it was not there for you to strip back into unless you kicked it back around to the right position. It got to be a hassle for those not adapt to standing on one foot up on a platform.

In June last year I was fishing a tournament away from home and realized I had no line management solution with me, yep I forgot my basket at home. So I improvised and came up with a Wal-mart special. I had to go there anyway to pick up food for the next day. While I was there I looked in the plastic boxes isle and found a RubberMaid box with a lid for only $4.47. I then went to the lawn and garden center and bought some weed wacker line. I went back to my room and cut it into 6" pieces. I then doubled that over and pushed them through some 1/8th inch holes that I drilled into the bottom. I then melted the end of the weedwacker line on the bottom of the box so it would stay in place. The reason for the weedwacker line was to keep the wind from blowing around inside the box and tangling the fly line down in the box. With these little studs sticking up the line would stay right where it was supposed to and wouldnít tangle.

Now I needed some way to attach it to my hip. So I drilled another couple of 3/8th inch holes in the side close to the top and put a rope though those to fashion a belt that I could now tie around my waste. With the rope tied loosely I could sling the box down low enough that I could still make long strips if need be and the great thing about it was the box stayed right where I needed it whichever way I turned. I could even jump off the boat and chase a fish on foot and my line was right there beside me waiting to be cast or I could move around the boat to different positions to cast to fish that snuck up behind me. It is the most versatile line management device I have ever used and it didnít cost me but the price of lunch.

Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email

Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray

Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tarpon Techniques
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre

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