New Rio Cranky

cranky high res.jpgIf you’re anything like me, you have a lot more fly lines than you do reels and spare spools. Consequently, I’m always switching lines around. I’ve tried just about every cheap fix to help aid me in winding and unwinding spools; from using my fingers (slow, awkward), to a power drill and duct tape (better in theory than in reality). Thus, I am thrilled–just thrilled–to see Rio Products‘s elegant, cheap new solution. The Cranky is a $10 plastic crank that fits Rio’s (and only Rio’s!) line spools. It uses the square hole in the center of said spools as a gripping point, and it has a small handle that sticks out the other side so you have something to turn against.
Cranky winding high res.jpgFrom now on, instead of pulling off line in carefully-stacked piles (and punting the cat if he gets too close), I’ll be able to simply drop a reel in a hat (or bowl, or laundry hamper), run the line through a tensioner (a book works nicely), and crank it right back onto the spool.
Rio was fast enough to get out a review model for me and I can say that it absolutely works like a charm. The only thing I would change would be to extend the stationary “grip handle” on the opposite side of the crank so I could really hold on tight; at its present length, it works just fine but you have to sort of grip with the ends of your fingers. I was told by Rio’s reps that they agree, but that increasing the size of the handle would have driven up the cost of the product due to the molds used. Keeping a low price is the most important thing with this kind of product: overall, I am thoroughly impressed.
Look for the Cranky in flyshops in the next few weeks.
Have you ever been forced to cut the Gordian knot when trying to swap out fly line spools? Let us know in the Comments section!

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  • I’ve always used a hexagon shaped pencil and it is almost free. Save the $10 and use it for some trips to the river

  • To take line off a reel you need 2 pencils (one as an axle/ one as a handle) and it can be a little awkward.
    The Cranky is made to for removing line from your reel, and then its great
    just remember going on or off a spool or reel make sure the line comes off the bottom of the spool goes into the reel on the bottom (both held vertically).
    Otherwise you get a bunch of line twist which is why Im not a fan the bowl trick.
    remember bottom to bottom or if necessary top to top