How to Rig a Fly Rod

by Anthony Potenza
A rigged fly rod ready to go.

A rigged fly rod ready to go.

If you are new to fly fishing, getting your first fly rod can be an exciting moment. But before you can get out on the stream or lake, you need to rig your fly rod. Rigging means putting together all the components needed to properly use a fly rod. Unlike spinning or casting rods which only require a monofilament line, a fly fishing rod utilizes a fly line, backing, a leader and a tippet . There are also specific knots which are used to connect the different sections together.

Attach your fly reel to the fly rod and run backing through the rod guides and tie it to the spool or arbor with the arbor knot. Backing is a Dacron line that adds volume to the reel and allows the fly line to come off the spool quickly. It can also act as protection in case a large fish runs off with all your fly line.

Wind the backing onto the reel by using your thumb and index finger to keep the line taut while winding it evenly around the spool. Cut off the line about two feet from the rod tip and attach the end of your fly line to the end of the backing using an Albright knot.

Spool the fly line onto the reel and leave about 2 feet hanging from the rod tip. Attach a 6- to 12-foot tapered monofilament leader to the end of the fly line with a nail knot. You don't have to wind all the leader through the guides.

Attach a tippet to the end of the leader with a blood knot. A tippet is a section of monofilament line between the leader and the fly.

Tie a fly of any type to the tippet using the improved clinch knot. Wind the slack and secure your fly hook to the fly keeper or last guide on the rod. The fly rod is now rigged and you're ready to go fishing.

Items you will need

  • Fly reel
  • 200 yards Dacron 20 pound-test backing
  • Fly line
  • Six to 12-foot tapered monofilament leader
  • Tippet
  • Clippers

About the Author

Anthony Potenza began writing in 1985 as a publicity and staff writer for 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. He has written a number of articles online, focusing on topics such as food and wine, photography, fly fishing and personal finance. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University.

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