How to Properly Setup an 1122A South Bend Reel

How to Properly Setup an 1122A South Bend Reel

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The South Bend 1122 Finalist reel is a vintage fly reel that was first introduced to consumers in the 1960s and 1970s. The reel was manufactured by Shakespeare for South Bend and featured a 3 1/2-inch spool with a click and pawl drag system. Although no longer made, the South Bend 1122 makes a good beginner reel and is well suited to 5-weight fly line.

Items you will need

  • Fly line backing

  • 5-weight fly line

  • Scissors

Place the foot of the South Bend 1122 in the reel seat of the fly rod. Secure the reel in place on the rod with the adjustable locking rings.

Pull the end of fly line backing from a filler spool. Pull the free end of the backing line around the spool of the 1122 reel. Attach the line to the spool with an Arbor knot. Pull the knot down tightly against the spool and trim off excess line with scissors.

Wind backing line onto the South Bend reel by turning the reel handle. Apply slight tension to the line in front of the spool and guide the backing line evenly back and forth across the spool face. Fill the spool no more than 1/8 full with backing line. Cut the backing line free from the filler spool with scissors.

Attach the end of a 5-weight fly line to the backing line with an Albright knot. Pull the knot down tightly and trim excess backing line and fly line from the knot with scissors.

Apply tension to the fly line in front of the spool and evenly wind the entire spool of fly line onto the South Bend reel.


  • Do not cut the fly line if it will not all fit on the fly reel. Remove the fly line and take off some of the backing to allow for all of the line to fit. Cutting the fly line potentially damages a forward taper or other design of the line.
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