January 06, 2023
By Ross Purnell
When you buy a fly line, most of the plastic is in the spool, not in the fly line itself. On average, a plastic fly line spool has two floating 5-weight fly lines’ worth of plastic in it, and too many fly fishers fail to recycle their plastic spools. They go into the trash and into our landfills.
To solve this problem, Scientific Anglers committed in 2022 to reducing the company’s plastic footprint by spooling all its fly lines on paper board spools. By the time 2023 rolls around, there should be few Scientific Anglers lines left on retail shelves with the old plastic spools. Over the course of the first year, Scientific Anglers estimated their total reduction in plastic waste was around 24,500 pounds.
I have used these new paper board spools many times, and they are just as easy to use as the old plastic ones. Just loop your backing onto the marked backing end of the fly line, and have someone stick a pencil or dowel through the paper board spool while you wind it onto the reel. Paper board spools are biodegradable and recyclable. If you need to remove the line from your reel, use a Scientific Anglers Regulator Spool to wind the line off the reel, and secure the coil with a twist tie. You can store fly lines this way in a reusable SA Head Wallet, or in the zippered compartments of most boat bags and rod travel cases. You can also use the Regulator to put coiled lines back on your reel when you are ready to use them. —Ross Purnell