the first tip is to make the leader loop at the end of the line much larger than it already is. When they’re brand new, reels and spools often have a tiny loop at the end of the line that isn’t much use. Untie that and tie a loop that you can fit the entire reel through so that you can quickly and easily attach the line to something.
the worst thing that you can do with a reel or spool that gets jammed while sending up a dSMB is to hold onto it. It’s going to turn you into Mary Poppins and pull you up to the surface. So, if your reel jams just let it go and find it later, it’ll be attached to a bright red sausage on the surface.
with brand new spools, double-check that they’re actually attached to the spindle, properly. The last thing you want on a stop is to send your buoy up and the end of the line just pings off and you’re left with an empty single in your hand. It sucks with longer lines but unreel it all and double-check that it is definitely attached when it’s new.
it’s quite handy if you can make a hardened section at the very tip of the leader like on Apeks LifeLine Spools to give you something to grab hold of to untie a knot with gloves. Even with bare hands, it can be fiddly to untie a knot on the end so a lengthened section that sticks out can make life a bit easier.
the same goes for about two thirds down the length of the leader loop on a finger spool so that you can pull it through the hole in the side in the water. Tie a small knot on one side of the leader to create a little You want it just poking out next to the hole you normally poke the leader through to store it away. That just gives you something to pull on.
storing your spool, you should never leave it with the boltsnap clipped to the side of the spool because they can unclip themselves without you knowing. So, poke the leader through the side and attach the bolt snap to the leader and lock it off so that it’s really hard for the boltsnap to break free accidentally, even in a pocket.
even though they are usually called a finger spool with a finger hole, avoid the temptation to poke your finger through the hole. if it pulls in the wrong direction while it’s turning, it can screw tighter onto your finger and then jam, yanking you up by the finger, pointing to everybody which way you’re doing a Mary Poppins
cheaper spools are usually overspun and have too much line on them when they’re new. You need clear access to the holes around the sides to use a finger spool properly so, choose one that’s longer than you need, unwind the line when you’re checking it’s attached and cut off a few meters. Keep the line you cut off, it’s handy for lots of things. And tie that large leader now.
wind your line back in as evenly as you can as you ascend. If you wind it all on one side then, the lines are going to start cascading and overlapping layers so that the next time you go to use it, it gets to that section and jams, yanking the reel out of your hand.
keep slack line to a minimum in the water. ropes and strings have a mind of their own in the water and it has evil thoughts. A lot of the lines that we used are buoyant or neutrally buoyant so, they float around you and wrap around your gear. You inflate your buoy and it pulls taught turning you into the rare, inverted Mary Poppins. try to keep the line taught at all times so that it’s predictable and you don’t become a beloved British nanny.