Frequently asked questions
The vast majority of wooden spools were Cedar, some were Silky Oak, and very early models may have been Camphor Laurel. Boat reels were manufactured from Marine Ply. If the spool is a reddish colour, the spool is Queensland Red Cedar timber.
The original reels had a Rosewood stain applied to add colour, over a Mahogany grain filler which was applied to the bare timber. To restore the final finish any clear lacquer used for timber floors is suitable. These are usually a two pot mix to achieve a hard surface and are usually UV stabilized to withstand sunlight (Polyurethane is one example). Sand between coats with a very fine sand paper or use Scotchbrite pads to achieve a fine finish. To achieve the best finish, the reel should be rotated while being painted then left to dry thoroughly between coats. The more coats applied, the deeper the finish.
If your spool is a yellow DMC spool this can be patched with Plasti Bond compound or Araldite available from your local hardware.
Slightly over fill the chip and allow compound to set then sand back to shape with very fine sand paper (minimum 240 grit) or file.
Bakelite spools can be patched with Araldite using the same method and you may even glue a broken section back into the spool.
Later spools are injection moulded and any rough surface areas can usually be sanded back to be smooth or again use Araldite if required.
A stiff line is better than a soft line because it does not tend to absorb the twist from the casting action. This can be checked by winding some line around your finger and releasing it , a stiff line will unwind quickly back to a semi straight format where a soft line will not unwind easily and will retain some of the coiling from being on your finger.
A smaller diameter line will always cast better than a thick line so always use the thinnest line you can get away with. If fishing around rocks you will need to use a thicker line to avoid damage from sharp rocks and oysters etc.
Breaking strain of your line is dependent on your rod size and action and the weight of rig you are casting. Most rods usually are marked with the maximum breaking strain of the line recommended by the manufacturer. It is also common to use a "leader" which forms your rig of a heavier grade line than your line on the reel basically to protect the rigs near obstacles on the bottom where you are fishing and from the fish's teeth should they bite above the bait.
When casting very heavy weights on a strong rod some times a "shock leader" is used which means the first say 10 meters of line off the reel will be a heavier line to get the cast away but after that you go back to a thinner line to get the best distance into your cast.
Please also read our comments on the web site about the correct use of swivels to avoid excessive line twist.
Always take the line from the front of the dispenser, never the side.
Wind line firmly and evenly onto the spool, spreading the line with your fingers to give a smooth casting base.
Never stretch a nylon monofilament onto a spool; when it goes back to its original length it will exert strong enough crushing action to damage your spool.
Never allow loose coils to develop on your spool through careless uneven winding.
Adopt the habit of applying light finger tension when retrieving line and spread evenly over its bed.
Braided lines can be used on Alvey Reels, but due to their ferocious ability to slice fingers, they should always be used with caution! Pumping and winding is imperative when winding line to reduce the line pressure across the guiding finger.
The following points are also worth considering if using braid lines on Alvey Reels:
- Braid can be very difficult to tie, especially when night fishing.
- Because braided lines tend to hold water and are lighter than monofilament lines, they often catch the breeze making a large ‘bow’ when used with long surf rods. This can make feeling bites even harder than with ‘mono’ line.
- Tying a good length of monofilament line as a wind on leader avoids the braid cutting fingers when casting. This will also make knot tying easier when changing rigs.
- An alternative to braid is the new Platypus Lo-Stretch monofilament line, which has very little stretch and an extremely fine diameter.
- Braided lines are best used on non-cast Alvey boat reels. Because these reels have a straight edge spool to maximize line capacity, the line does not need to be guided on when retrieving.
- We strongly recommend the use of a finger stall if using Braided lines.