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Setting Up Your Topwater Tackle – Blog One

Setting up your medium / heavy top water casting tackle is a bit of a mystery for those starting out – and it’s easy to get it wrong.  We don’t profess to be guru’s but we have enjoyed our success and also learned from our mistakes along the way. There are quite a few way’s it can be done, twisted leaders, wind on leaders etc and a variety of spool attaching methods.  Here are some of our thoughts:

A tightly packed spool of PE is essential to getting a long cast without endless wind knots and if its not packed on tight, a heavy drag and a big rampaging fish can easily see the line bite in between the loose strands, lock up and bye bye – snap.

You may choose to spool up at your local tackle shop using their machine, spool with a friend holding your line or we recommend using a custom spooling device such as the Busted Fishing Bee’s Knees Reel Spooler

This handy gadget makes super tight home spooling a breeze and features quality engineering.  Check it out for yourself.  We used to use a mono backing, but have formed the opinion that this is largely unnecessary now.  If you watch the video you will see we use tape on the base of the aluminum spool, just be aware this may create a point where moisture may harbor and corrosion could be an issue, it would pay to check at least annually. Please take a look at the video how we use the clinch knot to attach the line in the first place.

Another general point is that when spooling up you need to check that the line lays evenly across the spool and is not stacked towards the front or rear but sits evenly (you will have issues if it does) – the fix is simple.  If the line stacks forward add one or two spacers that are supplied with your reel when new (in the box) or if line is stacking towards the rear, remove a spacer – it makes a world of difference.

This line is not stacking correctly, there is more line towards the front and the line is shaped like a cone

the bad news is, you need to strip the line off and start again.  When your spooling pack that line on tight, it should take you several sessions to get the line on a big GT sized spin reel, it’s got to be packed on and it is seriously hard work but worth it.  Final word, do not overfill with line.  It is tempting to want to squeeze extra line on however you will regret the tangles if you do.


We have spooled up with Toray Super PE in the video.  Whatever braid you choose, make sure it is good quality, there is some horrible line available with exorbitant price tags out there.  We always tie an FG knot on a single strand mono leader for GT’s, tuna and kingfish etc.  Fluorocarbon can be an option for these applications as well.  You can check out our previous blog on leader connections here

Two tools we have added to the store that significantly aid in the friction knot tying process are line pullers which allow you to put more pressure onto a friction knot to enable the bedding in that is required to make this connection successful.  We consider them essential, and if you happen to use fluorocarbon you simply could not tie an FG in heavy leader without them.  Finally, a Bouz Line Cutter 2 is the perfect way to cut / melt the tag end of your leader with no risk of damage to your mainline – a very nifty tool that is better than a cigarette lighter alone.  Please take a look at the video and SUBSCRIBE to our channel, there is much more to come from the Ebb Tide team in coming years and months on our YouTube channel.

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