To tie or not to tie

Published 8:31 am Sunday, September 29, 2019

By Jennette’s Pier staff

When it comes to winding new monofilament line on a reel spool, there are clearly two philosophies on whether to tie the bitter end of the line to the center post of the spool.

Most say, “Oh heck yes,” while another salty veteran says this is a bad idea.

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Having seen someone get fully “spooled” by an eagle ray on Jennette’s Pier in the early 2000s, one can see why some feel it’s not wise to tie the line on to your rod and reel combo.

For those who prefer to tie it on, such as Hampton Silva at T. W.’s Bait & Tackle in Nags Head, it’s just a no brainer.

“I tie it on with an improved clinch or Fisherman’s Knot,” he said. He also added to let the line feed off the top of the plastic spool when winding it onto the reel (see photo).

A few other fishing veterans agreed. Tie the line or lose the big one.

Jennette’s Pier maintenance worker and master angler Sammy Thornton said he always ties his on, as did Sid Wright in the Pier Shop. He sells tackle all day long, mainly to beginners.

Seasoned angler Dan Roughton, who also works in maintenance at Jennette’s, said he uses a certain knot that cinches itself down on the spool.

The longtime Hatteras Island fisherman likes fishing for trout around Oregon Inlet nowadays and said he never really targeted the big stripers that used to come around to The Point.

Asked if he’s ever been spooled completely, he said “No.”

He added that one time at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, he had to use his hand to slow down the spool when a big fish was ripping line off his reel.

With this technique, one can slow down the fish and even allow it to break the line by applying pressure.

He remembers his hands being super cold that day, but he did break off the fish when it had taken out most of his line.

On the flip side of the coin, Mike Preziotti, a former Norfolk firefighter and commercial fisherman who also drove head boats out of Virginia Beach Sport Fishing Center for a spell, said he never ties the end of the line to the spool.

“Me? I don’t,” he said.

“In my opinion, if you’re holding on to something that’s taking all of your line, it will take that rod right out of your hand real quick unless you get someone to cut it real quick!”

Let that sink in as we go back to the eagle ray day.

A young couple, perhaps newlyweds, were in front of us in line at the old pier house. After purchasing two combos, bait and everything else they needed, they went out onto the old wooden pier with its weathered planks, crooked rails, sags, twists and high spots.

After setting up, it was only a short while before it happened.

The guy’s drag was whining loudly, and the eagle ray was headed east at a high rate of speed jumping out of the water as it fled towards the horizon.

Eventually, the ray won, and the angler was left holding his combo and shaking his head.



Red drum took the bait

Some shellfish harvesting areas reopened