Line loading with balls
Keeping a firm, even pressure on a line spool when loading line – braid or mono – onto a game reel has a great affect on getting a line load properly packed on the reel.
The consequences of not getting this right can be dire – under the pressure of a fish the line can bite deeply into a loose load, jam and break. There can also be a considerable reduction in the amount of line that can be fitted onto a reel if a reasonable tension is not maintained while loading.
Of course there are fancy commercially-made spring-tensioned spool holders, but most of us end up doing it the old-fashioned way: someone winds the reel while someone else holds the spool on a shaft, often a big screwdriver or the like, and tries to apply pressure to the spool by hand. This friction creates a lot of heat, and a glove or rag is a necessity to protect the hands. Not ideal.
During a trip out of Port Vila in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu a couple of years ago, deckie Brett Jamison showed me a system that made the job of re-spooling lines easy. He purchased a couple of cheap tennis balls (the kind you buy your dog to chew up are fine) and using a bait knife, made two incisions opposite each other on either side of each ball. This allowed the balls to be pushed onto the large screwdriver, one on each side of the line spool. Modest hand pressure provided sufficient friction to get a well-seated line load, even with tackle up to 60kg. - Sam Mossman