Grand Isle speck angler shares easy line-changing tip

Vidrine says leave a length of old line beyond reel guide for quick changes

If you’re a hardcore fisherman like Grand Isle trout assassin Tommy Vidrine, you should be changing your fishing line — a lot.

Vidrine typically replaces his green Trilene line (10-pound test during the winter, 15-pound during the summer) at least once a month, and always dreads threading the line through the guide on his baitcaster and tying an arbor knot around the spool.

“That was one of my pet peeves, so I figured out a way to get around it and it doesn’t bother me anymore,” Vidrine said with a chuckle. “When you get old like me and have to have bifocals on, you find a way to avoid that.”

Now, instead of replacing the entire line and beginning with a bare spool, Vidrine leaves a short length of line just beyond the guide on his reel, and starts from there.

“You just cut it and leave about a foot so you don’t have to pass it through that little bitty eye or tie a knot around the spool,” he said. “It’s so deep in there you’ll never get to it. If you do get there, you’re doing something wrong.

“If you ever get spooled that hard, you either got the wrong fish, the wrong equipment or you don’t have the drag set properly.”

With about a foot of old line extending beyond the line guide, Vidrine simply threads new line through the eyes on his rod and pairs it up with that short length of old mono, then ties a slip knot and follows that up with one overhand knot.

“Then I clip that little knot as close as I can with the clippers,” he said.

At that point, all you have to do is reel in to load up as much new line as you like — without having to thread line through the reel’s level guide or tie an arbor knot.

“Instead of taking 15 minutes, it’s a matter of five minutes,” he said. “It’s a lot quicker.”

Once a year, Vidrine said he typically changes the entire line — including the short length at the spool — for good measure.

“I change the mono probably once a month because I don’t like it curly,” he said. “When I cast out, I like it to lay flat.”

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and