Although it seems a simple enough task, there are a few important steps to take before using a new reel or spool. Having just purchased one, I thought it would be a good idea to share my process.
There are 6 steps that you should complete before using your new reel or spool. These become even more important if you plan to deploy SMBs with your new purchase.
- Reel off the full length of the line
- Change the line for pink (optional)
- Measure the line (especially if you have changed it in the above step)
- Wet the line (soak it, not just dampen it)
- Reel it back on to the new reel or spool.
- If necessary, remove some excess line
Reel off the full length
We are going to do a number of things to the line, and for them to work properly we need to have the line laid out. I attached clips to two lumps of lead at either end of the street and ran the line in between these. The neater you keep it, the easier the job will be when you come to reel it up.
Change the line
I like to use pink line on all my main reels and spools. The pink has much greater visibility underwater, and really pops out. Yellow also works quite well, but there is no reason why you can’t stick to white.
Measure the line
The reel that I was using is a Dive Rite Primary Reel which came with 400ft of line. I always like to check that there really is the advertised amount of line on a reel. As I was changing the line anyway, I also wanted to know how much line I was putting back on the reel. In this case, it was 107m, roughly 13m short of what was original on the reel.
Wet the line
Line will expand when wet. When your line was first put on your reel it was nice and dry, and reeled on very neatly. If you were to jump in with it now, the line would expand and may not deploy off the spool easily or safely. This is especially important during SMB deployments. Soaking the line first then reeling it on means it is already expanded and should be less likely to snag or stick during use.
Reel it back on
As simply as it sounds, but the line under reasonable tension and try to do it neatly.
If necessary, remove some excess line
Now that your line is wet and has expanded, you may find it doesn’t all fit back on the reel or spool. If necessary, remove a few meters. Remember to account for the fact that when you are reeling it up underwater you may not always do a neat a job as on dry land. I fitted 107m to a reel that should be able to hold 120m (mostly because I had 107m of pink line spare).
A Bonus Step 7? Practice!
Your new reel or spool is now ready for it’s first use. If you’ve changed from a different design and / or are unfamiliar with that style or model then don’t forget to practice in a controlled environment first. On entry level technical courses, I usually see a 25% failure rate when it comes to the first SMB deployment of the course, so make sure you’re comfortable with your choice of reel and well practised in it’s use.