It's time. Time to go fishing! The weather says "yes" and you say, "Let’s go"! Grab the rods and head to the water. But before you do, respool! Nothing says, 'I'm not ready to fish' than line tightly coiled with winterized memory!
Even though line isn't old, it will behave badly when left over the winter on a spinning or bait-casting reel! Line left on reels develops tight memory coils, making casting and fishing tougher! This is important with spinning reels as the coils create a lot of resistance when going through the line guides. These coils also create line tangles that result in knots!
Line memory in bait casting reels can be even more frustrating. Coils really make casting difficult, as the guides are even smaller on casting rods! And who wants to pick out backlashes all day! In addition, coiled line makes it harder to see and feel bites when slack line becomes a long slinky from rod tip to the water!
These reel and rod issues are preventable simply by changing line. But not all of it! First, take spinning and casting reels and cast once with a practice plug as far as you can. Then cut the line and make three more long casts, cutting the line each time here! Now you are ready to tie on fresh line with old line as backing! For spinning reels, fill to within just 1/8 inch short of the lip of the spool. For casting reels, slightly under spool as well. Do not over spool! Dispose of used line responsibly in a BoatUS recycling bin at most docks and marinas.
Any knot will do as long as they are small. I like a blood knot with 3 wraps. For spinning reels, position the knot toward the top of the spool before putting the fresh line on. This position tends to keep the knot from snagging the line. Putting the knot in the center of the spool for bait casters will keep the knot out of the way and allow line to be level over it.
Line backing accomplishes two things! First, you are not spooling an entire spool, which saves money! After all, you probably never use the line deep inside the spool. And, when you start casting and seeing the knot, it's a reminder that it’s probably a good time to respool! This way you are always fishing with the freshest line possible. With less memory!
By the way, using braided line doesn't require replacing as often. It does require monofilament backing, otherwise it will slip. Here it only takes a few windings of the backing to tie a knot but you should add a bit more, leaving ample space for enough line to cast. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines need to be cut to retie, losing a foot or so each time.
These lines also get nicked and must be cut. And sometimes snags cause further loss of line until eventual respooling is required. Braid with leaders will last several seasons! The leaders are replaced and can be kept very fresh with frequent retying, leaving nearly the same amount of braid to fish with.
Line is the critical link to the fish! Don't compromise here! Use quality line, change it often and don't be the one making the first cast of the year with coiled line, showing everyone you aren't ready to fish.