Line-Winding Machines

No Longer Just for Bait & Tackle Shops

Capt. Mike Genoun May 11, 2017

More than 40 years ago, Willie Strohmeyer, owner of the New Jersey-based contract manufacturer and engineering firm Triangle Manufacturing, was approached by tackle giant Abu Garcia with a unique challenge: Design and manufacture a simple and reliable machine that could quickly load both conventional and spinning reels off large, bulk spools of monofilament.

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The middleman has been taken out of the line-winding equation with this machine and others like it, saving money and time in the process. Photo: Doughertyphotos.com

Triangle is best known for manufacturing orthopedic implants and the precise surgical instruments used to implant them. While the correlation between life-changing medical instruments and recreational fishing gear may be hazy, Strohmeyer’s prototype proved to be exactly what the proverbial fishing doctor ordered and a subsidiary of the company was soon launched. Today, more than four decades later, the third generation family owned and operated Triangle Sport is the decisive leader in the line-winding industry with thousands of “Made in America” machines in operation from coast-to-coast.

I’ve quickly learned that like an ice machine, once you live with a line-winding machine you never want to live without one.

The advantages of an automated line-winding machine are many, and result in a win-win situation for all parties involved. Line manufacturers make more money selling bulk spools to retailers. Retail bait and tackle shops save money by purchasing monofilament in bulk, and end users like you and I save money by purchasing only the line we need with little to no waste.

Of course, there are additional benefits to spooling with a line-winding machine rather than filling reels by hand, and they include achieving peak performance from your equipment by spooling reels to capacity with adequate tension. Doing so guarantees maximum line capacity while helping alleviate line twist and the possibility of damaging or weakening your line by inadvertently crisscrossing wraps.

Saving time is another huge benefit that can’t be ignored. Spooling a single reel manually isn’t a big deal, but strip and fill a dozen 20 lb. class reels by hand in preparation of a big money tournament and see how much time and effort you will sacrifice. At best, you’re talking hours of laborious work. With a line-winding machine that also strips existing line from reels in mere minutes, the entire process of respooling requires only a fraction of the time and the job is done right, ensuring all of the odds are stacked in your favor from the moment your baits hit the water. Additionally, why invest thousands of dollars on a set of top-notch reels manufactured of space-age materials with advanced drag systems capable of slamming the brakes on serious sea monsters if you’re simply going to load the reels by hand and not achieve peak performance from the products? That makes absolutely no sense.

I recently gave up on visiting tackle shops every time I needed to respool and decided to finally break down and get my own line-winding machine, something I should have done many years ago. I’ve quickly learned that like an ice machine, once you live with a line-winding machine you never want to live without one.

While Triangle Sport manufactures three models of line-winding machines, from the MD100 designed for fly reels and small freshwater spinners to the unlimited class HD140 big game saltwater machine, our crew primarily fishes 20- to 50- lb class spinning and conventional outfits. So, I chose the middle of the road SC125, “SC” for Super Control, with line counter, variable speed foot pedal and top speed override all standard.

My experience ordering directly from the manufacturer was seamless with delivery in four business days, and while I was a bit concerned with how difficult it would be to assemble a machine more suited for commercial applications than a personal rigging station, my fears were eased as I opened the box. Thanks to easy-to-follow detailed instructions, I had the unit fully operational and was spooling my first reel in less than ten minutes. I did learn that it’s important the spool of line is positioned directly in-line with the spinning reel spool or conventional reel you are loading, easily accomplished by adjusting the sliding track system that holds the spool of line.

Included in the box were all of the components needed for stripping and loading both conventional and spinning reels and I found reconfiguring the unit for the specific task took less than 60 seconds. With a retail price of just under a grand for the SC125, it’s understandable that a professional line-winding machine may not be for everyone. However, in today’s busy world time is money. Line-winding machines save cash for serious recreational anglers who own an arsenal of gear while also allowing you to get the most out of your equipment, which ultimately results in more fish in the boat.

 

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