Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Misc Fish Pictures

Here's a look at some of the best pictures of the fish that we have caught in previous years that just don't fit into any of the other categories (bass, catfish, and carp). These are the fish that we just don't catch or target enough for them to deserve there own category of pictures. This also includes the fish that are incidental catches, the best example being Freshwater Drum. Nearly all of the biggest Drum we have caught have been while fishing for catfish.

5lb Drum
8lb Drum
8lb Drum
8lb Drum
8lb Drum
7lb Drum
7lb Drum
12lb Longnose Gar
8lb Longnose Gar
2lb 3oz Crappie
14oz 12.75 inch Crappie
14oz 12.5 inch Crappie
Possible state record contender 6 inch Longear Sunfish
7 Saugeye 2-3lbs, 2 Largemouth Bass 2-3lbs
18lb Snapping Turtle

The Fish Ohio Program

If you have read a few of our posts, by now you may have noticed that we refer to "trophies" quite a bit. What we are referring to is a fish that meets the qualifying size needed to be recognized as a Fish Ohio Trophy. Each year we strive to get 4 different species of trophies, because once an angler has succeeded in catching a trophy of 4 different species he/she is then deemed a "Master Angler." This is just one of the Fish Ohio Programs, other programs include Lake Erie Grand Slam, Inland Waters Grand Slam, and the Ohio River Grand Slam. Each Grand Slam is achieved by catching all three trophies of the designated species for each region. They are as follows:

Lake Erie Grand Slam:     Walleye, Smallmouth, Steelhead
Inland Waters Grand Slam:     Largemouth, Saugeye, Muskie
Ohio River Grand Slam:     Hybrid Striped Bass, Sauger, Flathead Catfish.

As of now each of these categories are well out of our reach. Lake Erie is several hundred miles away from us making the Lake Erie Grand Slam currently unachievable. Neither Rylan, Amanda, or myself have ever caught a Muskie over 6", so that throws a wrench into the Inland Waters Grand Slam. Finally, The Ohio River Grand Slam is just slightly out of reach. We catch at least 10 Hybrid Striped Bass of trophy lengths each year out of the Ohio River, the Flathead Catfish is achievable, but we rarely if ever fish for Sauger. With that said, we do know where to fish for them, if we happen to catch Hybrid Stiped Bass and Flathead Catfish trophies.

For now we are content with aiming at Master Angler status, in which four different species of fish must exceed a set size limit. However if you were to fall short of master angler status, you can still submit your catches and print off your certificates for those fish. At the beginning of the following year you will receive a Fish Ohio Pin in the mail. If you are lucky or skilled enough to catch four species of trophy size, you can submit all four fish and print off your certificates. At the beginning of the following year you will receive a Fish Ohio Pin, Master Angler Pin, and a Master Angler certificate (Which usually comes a month or so after the pins, so be patient). The sizes for trophy fish are as follows:

Blue Catfish - 35 inches
Brown Trout
– 25 inches

Carp – 26 inches
Channel Catfish – 26 inches
Crappie – 13 inches
Flathead Catfish – 35 inches
Freshwater Drum – 22 inches
Hybrid Striped Bass – 21 inches
Largemouth Bass – 21 inches 

Muskie – 36 inches 
Northern Pike – 32 inches
Rainbow Trout – 28 inches
Rock Bass – 10 inches
Sauger - 16 inches
Saugeye – 21 inches
Smallmouth Bass – 20 inches
Sunfish – 9 inches
Walleye – 28 inches
White Bass – 16 inches
Yellow Perch – 13 inches


Of these trophies we have caught 4 Blue Catfish trophies,1 Flathead Catfish trophy, 1 Largemouth Bass trophy, 1 Crappie trophy, and dozens of Carp, Channel Catfish, Freshwater Drum, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Sunfish trophies within the last 3 years of fishing....since we began the program. This is the beginning of our third year and each year Rylan and I have completed Master Angler status. It hasn't been easy, but we have managed. Last year we both went well into August in search of our fourth fish of qualifying size. Amanda joined in last year with her first year as a Master Angler.
Amanda and my Master Angler Certificates, Fish Ohio Pins, and Master Angler Pins.
We do take pride in these accomplishments, so much so that I have framed the last two years of my top four catches, certificates, and pins. As of right now I have the certificates and pictures taped inside a frame, once I get some free time I'll add the master angler certificates and add a background. Below is the frame that I have last years certificates and pictures in. Not shown are our certificates and pictures of our trophy sunfish, we each had a sunfish over nine inches, but due to lack of room I decided to leave them out.
Our Framed Fish Ohio Certificates located behind my rod rack.
Below is a link to the Fish Ohio Program Page. Here you can learn about the history, check qualifying sizes, submit your trophy catches, and even look at the most productive waters in Ohio for trophy fish.
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/FishingSubhomePage/programs__activitiesplaceholder/fishingfishohiodefault/tabid/6137/Default.aspx

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/24 Carp Fishing

We set out Saturday with intent to catch our first carp of the year. Its been well over a year since the last time we specifically targeted carp, and over a year and a half since Sean's last carp. We fished Rocky Fork Lake, a lake we have known to hold a good population of average size carp in years past. Sean had noticed a considerable amount of carp jumping a couple days before in a cove on the shallow side of the lake. We set up at about 11:00am, our primary carp bait was corn and Sean also had some boilies to try. The surface water temperature was 66 degrees.

We all started with various rigs. Amanda's setup was a 1oz egg sinker with a 10 inch leader tied to a small hook. Sean's setup was a hair rig with a 1oz egg sinker, and I started with a simple split shot and small hook setup. Amanda and I used our traditional method of placing a piece of styrofoam on our line at the tip of the rod and leaving our reels in free spool, thus allowing the carp to pull line freely. Sean decided to tight line his, locking his reel down with the rod in an upright position. More explanations of carp rigs, baits, and methods will be posted soon.

After casting our lines out and chumming the water with some corn, Sean and I started pan-fishing to keep us entertained while we waited for the carp to find the bait. The bluegill and crappie fishing turned out to be excellent. Sean was pulling in bluegill left and right on a small jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler, while I caught a couple nice size crappie and a couple bluegill myself on a nightcrawler jig as well. The fish were biting aggressively underneath the docks. After about an hour I hear drag screaming and I look up and see Sean's 7ft Shimano Voltaeus bent towards the water. Sean picked up his pole, as the line was still being ripped off. After about 15 seconds of continuous pulling I said to Sean "Are you going to get spooled?"All in all he probably lost 20 yards of line. He tightened the drag down a couple clicks and started gaining line, we knew he had a nice carp on his hands at this point. After about a 5 minute battle we had it in the net. A 14lb 15oz 30 inch carp, A new personal best for Sean. Also a Fish Ohio Trophy of 26+ inch .
14lb 15oz 30 inch Carp
We also got to try out Sean's new weighing sling which performed wonderfully.
Weighing the carp in the sling
The scale weight was not accurate in the picture because I took the picture as he was lifting the fish up. Combined the fish and sling weighed 17 pounds 12 ounces, the sling weighed 2 pounds and 13 ounces, which we did subtract the weight of the sling to determine the fishes actual weight. Below is Sean reviving the carp before letting it swim off to be caught another day.
Releasing the carp
An hour later Sean hooked up with another carp, this one didn't load the rod nearly as well as the first. It was a smaller 4lb 12oz carp. The carp bite was slow after this, Amanda had a couple small runs but failed to hook up on them. Hours went by while we continued to have great success with the bluegill, crappie, and a few smaller largemouth. After seeing Amanda's struggles I decided to change it up and go to a method that has produced my best carp fishing. Simply a small Aberdeen hook with no weight baited with corn. You can't cast as far without the weight but I knew we were on the fish so it wasn't necessary to cast far. The weightless option lets the carp suck in your bait and swim off without a second thought, while the weighted options rely on the weight of the sinker setting the hook initially. It wasn't long after switching methods that I had my first run. I landed a 9lb 15 oz 29 inch carp, which was also a Fish Ohio trophy carp.
9lb 15oz 29 inch Carp
We didn't have any more carp action after that. The already good day of fishing was then capped of by some excellent crappie fishing during the last hour of daylight. I ended up catching 15 crappie on the day, most of which were nice size. Sean ended up catching a half dozen crappie, a few small largemouth, and an impressive 40 bluegill on the day. The crappie were fat and heavy with eggs, the biggest of the day being 14oz pictured below.
14oz Crappie
Our best day of fishing on the year in my opinion. Two Fish Ohio trophy carp and some great bluegill and crappie action.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

14' Modified V Jon Boat............3/20/2012 Update

Well since the last post I have made a few minor changes to the boat. First and foremost, I added about 12-14 inches of heavy log chain to my anchors. This added weight of the chain allows the boat to hold its anchor better. The idea is that the chain being heavy will tend to hold to the lake bottom, and when the waves or wind start to move the boat the chains will lift up and add resistance before the anchor drags. This little bit of play, or stretch, in the anchor line allows for a better hold, which is crucial when anchoring in 20 mph wind in a 14 foot aluminum boat. For the rear anchor I use a 15 pound river anchor, and for the bow I use a 12 pound mushroom anchor. The 15 pound river anchor with the chain can be seen here on the furthest side of the bench.

Improvements.
Also from this picture you can see that I have added additional driftmaster rod holders and some new bases that I bought from Big Dave at Bottom Dwellers Tackle. Big Dave runs a great business, hes really friendly, and his prices are hard to beat. Check his site out at bottomdwellerstackle.com. I also removed some of the pvc rod holders from the back of the boat. After using the boat for the first couple weeks Amanda and Rylan had both mentioned that they wouldn't mind having a few more rod holders up front, so I bought a couple more. I now have four driftmaster duo troller rod holders on the trolling bar and two driftmaster duo rod holders on each side of the boat for a total of six driftmaster rod holders. Previously I had the rod holders attached on the side of the boat by using the oar lock sockets that were still attached to the boat. However I found that this method didn't hold the rod holders tight enough to use circle hooks for cats, they would spin toward the direction of the fish. To avoid this spinning I ordered a few driftmaster side mount bases for the rod holders. They come in right handed thread and left handed thread, the idea is that when you mount your rod holders on the right side of the boat you want to use right handed thread, and vice-versa on the left side. In effect, when moving forward or when drifting, when a fish takes your bait and pulls against the boat the rod holders will actually be tightening rather than loosening. 
Driftmaster side mount base.
From the picture above you can see that by using the oar lock sockets I twisted the coating off of the bottom of the rod holders. To mount the bases I simply drilled two holes in the rail, and attached the base using stainless steel screws. I then twisted the rod holders until they became snug and positioned the rod holder in the direction that I wanted it to face.
The next step for the boat is to mount two more bases toward the front of the boat. I won't buy rod holders for these, instead I plan to use the two inside rod holders on the trolling bar and move them according to my fishing situation, or fishing partners preference. I can then easily remove them and attach them to the back when needed. Its turning out to be much better than I had ever imagined, now I just have to find the fish.

Monday, March 19, 2012

3-16 and 3-17 Catfishing

Decided to fish Rocky Fork Lake for channel catfish Friday with Amanda. Got on the water at about 11am and fished until 7pm. We drifted and trolled santee cooper rigs with small pieces of cut skip-jack around all day. We targeted a main tributary of the lake and started drifting in 4 feet of water and ended up finishing our drift in 24 feet of water. Surface water temperature was 59 degrees at the shallow end of the cove and 53 degrees toward the mouth. The main lake surface temp was around 52 degrees. We did about two and a half laps around the cove and only managed one fish, a 4lb 9oz channel cat. Amanda was fortunate enough to have awoken from her sleep 5 minutes before she got the bite, otherwise it would have been my 4lb 9oz channel. Just kidding.

Rylan, Amanda, and I decided to head out and fish the Ohio River Saturday. We got set up around 11am and fished until 9pm. Within an hour of having our rods in the water, Amanda's furthest rod loaded up. It turned out to be a 34 inch, 17lb 3oz Blue cat. Not a Fish Ohio Trophy but a good start to the day at least. We took a few pics, weighed it, measured it, and released it. With high hopes we waited patiently for our next bite, which happened to be a long wait. Rylan ended up reeling in a baby blue cat while checking one of his baits, and I caught a small hybrid striper with a white twister tail while trying to catch skipjack. Other than that the rest of the day was real slow. We knew we were on the fish, because every time a boat came by it would come to a dead stop over our lines and we'd here them yell something about the fish finder being loaded with fish......I guess they must have been really suspended. In the spot we were fishing the current is too swift to use floats so I tried to use the santee rig to hold my bait a few feet off of bottom and see if I could get my bait up to them, which didn't work out either.


A few guys down the bank from us managed some hybrid stripers, a few channels, and a 4lb. flathead. They were using live shad about 5" long. Surface temps were 55 degrees in the tributaries, and 50 degrees in the river.

I'm sure we have all heard the saying, "Its better to be lucky than good." I have often dismissed this saying and argued that someone who is more skilled and puts forth the most effort will always do better in the long run. However after the last 3 years of fishing I have began to seriously re-consider my stance on this saying. Albeit, Amanda fishes the same spots as Rylan and I, uses the same rigs, and for the most part the same bait; she tends to consistently catch larger fish regardless of the situation. She even manages to sleep a couple hours each trip. While we fish over 1200 hours a year individually, combined Rylan and I sleep less than 5 hours while fishing all year. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Rylan and I put significantly more effort into fishing and still fall short of her catches. Regardless of whether it be luck or skill, I'm glad at least one of us can find the fish.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Personal Best Crappie

Fished a local creek Wednesday after work. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures approaching 80. Record setting temperatures for this time of year. I fished a spot that I knew held some nice crappie but not significant numbers. Was also hoping to get my first smallmouth of the year. With a bucket full of minnows for bait I started drifting a minnow around various snags, while casting various jigs tipped with minnows or Berkley PowerBait grubs. The surface temperature was 61 degrees. It wasn't long before my float disappeared, and I reeled in a nice size crappie. It weighed in at 1lb even beating my old personal best of 14oz, not a significant gain but I was excited to break the pound mark on crappie. Caught drifting a snag at 4-5 ft deep.
1lb 0oz 12.5 inch Crappie
Unfortunately it wasn't the Fish Ohio trophy I was looking for measuring only 12.5 inches, 13 inches being the qualifying trophy size. Always nice to set a new personal best though. Other than the crappie I caught 4 Rock Bass jigging nightcrawler.
Rock Bass

With the rain the last couple days the creek is up now but I hope to go back sometime soon and try to find my first smallmouth of the year again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break Fishing


Well, last week was my spring break so I spent the majority of my time on the water. I fished 7 different days on my new boat, 3-3, 3-4, 3-6, 3-7, 3-9, 3-10, and 3-11. The majority of the trips were to Rocky Fork Lake, but we also got out and fished Adams Lake and Turkey Creek Lake.  I fished many different techniques ranging from drifting the Santee Cooper rig for channels to jigging for bass. By far the most productive method of fishing was beating the brush for crappies with slip-float rigs and live minnows. Fish were found in thick cover in water ranging from 16 feet deep up to 3 feet deep.  Water temps for the most part were around 46 degrees in the early week, and around 48 degrees near the weekend. I got to break about 20 yards of ice at the boat ramp Tuesday, March the 6th. When I got to Rocky Fork Lake, particularly the boat ramp off of North Shore Drive, I noticed a sheet of ice at the boat ramp. I didn't have many options, it was either try to power out and break the ice, wait for someone else to break it for me, or wait for it to thaw. Being impatient as I am, I went ahead and plowed through it. At first I tried using the trolling motor to reverse out, but this didn't work. I then turned the boat around by hand and tried to troll out. I broke about 5 feet before coming to a stop. At this point I became frustrated and said the heck with it. I primed and choked the motor, and started it up. I gave it a little throttle, and up and over she went. 

Rylan and I took the boat out for the first time Saturday morning. I really didn't know what to expect so I figured that it was best that Rylan was my fishing partner the first time on the boat in case the boat needed extra help getting onto the trailer, or we needed to paddle back to the boat ramp, etc. In such instances it's best to have someone who thinks rather quickly and is calm, not to say that Amanda couldn't help, I just felt more confident with Rylan at the time. Our first trip went rather smoothly, with the exception of a few leaky rivets. We ended up catching a few nice crappie and a couple small bluegills.

Rylan with a 11" crappie.

 Rylan did rather well the first day on the boat, ending up with 15 crappie. I on the other hand caught 2 bluegills and 4 crappie. I ended up catching the largest crappie of the week on a jig tipped with a nightcrawler that was set in a rod holder being held about 3 feet off of bottom. I watched it bounce a few times and then it hooked itself. It measured 12.25", .75" off of a Fish Ohio Trophy,  and weighed 15 ounces.

12.25" 15 ounce Crappie.


12.25" 15 ounce crappie.

The next 4 trips I spent fishing with Amanda at Rocky Fork Lake as well, once again particularly the North Shore area. I was confined to this area because of the high winds that made the main lake too choppy to navigate safely. The story was somewhat similar, several crappie at 11 inches, but we did manage to find a few largemouth as the waters began to warm.

12" Largemouth I caught while jigging a live minnow on a 1/16 chartreuse jig. 






Friday March 9, Amanda and I fished Rocky Fork lake for 2 hours before wind conditions became too rough to fish in. Not willing to give up and call it quits we decided to take the boat to Adams Lake. Got there about 12:30am and noticed a hoard of cars lined up around the boat ramp. Turns out the ODNR had just stocked rainbow trout, and the most popular spot seemed to be the boat ramp. After driving an hour I was dead set on getting in some time on the water. So I began to back the boat down to the water, where nearly a dozen rods were reeled in to allow me to put my boat in. People didn't seem happy with me to say the least. Got out on the water and noticed surface temperatures were significantly warmer than what I saw at Rocky Fork Lake. Adams Lake ranged from 50-53 degrees, 6-7 degrees warmer than Rocky Fork Lake so my hopes were set high. Ended up only catching one bass off of the dam.

Saturday Rylan and I set out to fish Turkey Creek Lake, we had caught a few crappie while bass fishing there last year so we decided to see if it had a good population of crappie, and hopefully catch a few bass. Water temps ranged from 44-48, slightly cooler than Rocky Fork Lake. We ended up catching 7 crappie combined in 7.5 hours, only one of which went over 9".

Sunday I took Amanda out to Turkey Creek Lake to see if maybe Rylan and I had a bad day. I had a few dozen minnows left so I wanted to get rid of them anyway. I had the advantage of knowing where Rylan and I had caught the fish the day before so I took Amanda to already established spots. Combined we ended up catching 9 crappie and 6 Largemouth.

10" bass from Turkey Creek Lake


I didn't catch any Fish Ohio Trophies last week, but personally I caught 2 gills, 32 crappie, and 10 Largemouth bass. Fishing was slower in the morning, with the action peaking around 3-5pm. 

All in all it was good to get out and get the hang of the new boat. I found a few leaky rivets throughout the week, and needless to say the boat is bone dry now. Hopefully with this wave of warm weather were going to have this week, I might be able to land a few channels next weekend. Just have to find a way to keep myself from poking around in the woods for those first morels that may pop up this week.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My First Cast

Maybe I was born to fish. Maybe I just happened to meet somebody who enjoyed fishing and through friendly competition and the drive to excel, fishing became a way of life. Most likely the latter option but I can dream. Afterall, before I met Sean I probably fished maybe 10 times a year compared to more than 80 times a year now. Even if I wasn't born to fish, I still had one amazing first cast. I like to think that I can remember it, but in reality I'm probably just picturing it from the stories that I've been told. This is the true story of my very first cast.

The year was 1992, I was 3 years old. My first day of fishing. My dad took me fishing for the very first time. Up a hill that probably seemed like a mountain at the time and into the woods to our beautiful 1 acre pond. Too small to even cast, dad cast my line into the water most likely with a plastic worm for bait. So technically I didn't even make my first cast. Dad ventured off on his own fishing endeavors while I stood, pole in hand without a clue what was about to eat my bait. Soon thereafter I was yelling "I got one! I got one!". Dad rushed over to help as a struggled with the monster on the end of my line. He helped me reel in the fish, an approximately 3lb Largemouth Bass on my first cast of my life.  Dad continued to fish and caught a couple smaller ones. He has always joked that I caught a bigger bass than he had his entire life on my first cast.

My first Largemouth Bass

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Clinch Knot Part 2

Finally found some time to do more line breaking tests this weekend. In The Clinch Knot Part 1 I discussed how to tie one of the most well known fishing knots, the clinch knot, aka the fisherman's knot. After teaching how to tie it, I explored various attributes of the knot that formed the strongest knot. The conclusion was that with light line (6lb Stren Original), the improved clinch knot with saliva lubrication applied formed the strongest knot with the least amount of twists in the knot, although more twists in any scenario resulted in a stronger knot. But this left me with the question. Would the same things hold true for a heavier line? That is what I'll be discussing in the post.

With the lighter line I used the method of attaching one end of the line in subject to a marine battery and the other end attached to a Rapala digital scale. I proceeded to slowly lift the scale, monitoring the weight, until the line broke. Although not perfectly accurate, as the scale does not update instantly, this method suited my needs with the lighter line. After trying this same method with a heavier line, 20lb Berkley Big Game, I decided to develop a new method to test the breaking strength of line that is more accurate and also easier on my arms. I attached one end of the line in subject to a small bucket, and the other end to a stationary object high enough to dangle the bucket from with enough room to allow for the monofilament line to stretch. In my case I used a treadmill. With this setup I can add weight to the bucket until the line breaks.
Bucket with sinkers and dumbbells
So there were 4 scenarios that I tested on the light line that I wanted to test on the heavier line. Normal clinch knot, improved clinch knot, normal clinch knot with lubrication, and improved clinch knot with lubrication. Which version of the knot would form the strongest knot with the least amount of twists?

From prior experience I knew that the breaking strength of the 20lb Berkley Big Game with a good knot was well over 20lbs and actually closer to 30lbs. With this In mind I decided to start each test by adding 2 10lb dumbbells. With my digital scale I found that the bucket and 2 dumbbells combined weight was 21lbs 14oz. With a 2oz sinker I would have an even 22lbs to start adding more sinkers and keep track of the total weight as I went.

In these tests I only did each knot once. Here were the results.
# of Twists Normal Improved Normal w/ Lube Improved w/ Lube
4 <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs
6 <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs
8 29.75lbs <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs
10 29.5lbs <22lbs <22lbs <22lbs

Only the normal clinch knot with 8 and 10 twists in the knot held the weight of the 2 dumbbells and the bucket, every other variation broke when the second dumbbell was added which would be less than 22lbs. It could have been slightly more than 22lbs due to the small bounce in the line when the second dumbbell was added in slowly. Not only did the normal clinch knot with 8 and 10 twists exceed the 22lbs that all other knots broke at, the line didn't fail at the knot effectively maxing out the breaking strength of the line at nearly 30lbs. But this didn't make much sense in comparison to the same tests with lighter line. So I reattempted the 8 and 10 twist normal clinch knots a second time to see if it was just a fluke. Wouldn't you know it, they both broke under 22lbs like all the other knots. This proved to me how variable and ineffective the clinch knot was with heavier line.

On a side note, these tests gave me the chance to measure how far a monofilament line like 20lb Berkley Big Game stretches under pressure. Here were the results.
Pounds of Force Length of Line
0lbs 10.25 inches
12lbs 11.625 inches
14lbs 11.75 inches
16lbs 12.125 inches
18lbs 12.375 inches
20lbs 12.625 inches

So the stretch of a 10.25 inch piece of line at 20lbs of force was nearly 2.5 inches. If you do the math (12.625 / 10.25) that is 123% stretch at the 20lbs that the line is rated for. A significant amount of stretch indeed. For example, say you cast a modest 30 yards, that would mean at 20lbs of force the line would stretch over 20ft.

That concludes my line experiments for now. Next time I'd like to examine another type of knot that may prove superior to the clinch knot.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Re-Spooling Time

With spring at our doorstep I decided to re-spool a couple of my reels. When re-spooling a reel, the first step is determining what kind of line you want to use. The reel I chose to re-spool for this post was one of my spare Abu Garcia 7000i's on a 9 foot medium heavy Catmaxx rod. I have several newer set ups and quite frankly of better quality, so I keep this reel handy for when I sucker a family member or friend to head out when no one else is willing or able. You know those nights when you decide to fish 2 hours after dark with leftover bait, and the weather channel is calling for severe thunderstorms.Those kinda nights.
My supply of mono-filament.
For this type of set up I go with the line that I have the most of, 30lb Silver Thread AN40. This line falls into the category of "not big enough" for 7000's, and "too big" for the Abu garcia 6000's, 6500's, and Kalex 60's. There's nothing wrong with this line, I just bought way too much of it, and then decided I wanted to switch to 40lb test. So I figure I'll put it on the spare reels. It's a mono filament so its a general purpose line.

I begin the re-spooling process by gathering the "proper equipment". The redneck re-spooling station if you will. I grab the fishing line of choice, a straw from one of my float set ups, electrical tape, and a wet paper towel.
Redneck Spooling Station
I then begin by running the straw through the center of the spool of line. Make sure to pay particular attention to the way in which the line comes off of the spool, you want it to come off of the spool and go onto the reel in the same fashion. This will reduce line twist, bird-nests from being created from loose line, and improve casting ability. I then place the straw across the top of the box.....you can also grab a pair of boots and run the straw from boot to boot if you don't have a box.
The spool of line on the straw "axis".
I then run the line through the guides of the rod into the levelwind mechanism. At this point I grab the electrical tape and tape the line onto the spool. I like to do this so that if I ever get spooled, or fall asleep with the clicker on, that the line will release leaving my rod where it is and not in the water getting drug around by a fish. Other people would rather tie the line to the spool, in order to fight till the last inch of line is lost. It is simply a matter of preference. It's important to note here that some reels will have a nipple to tie line to, such as some Abu Garcia 7000ic3s, or pro rockets. For these I choose to tie the line to the nipple rather than using electrical tape, because more than likely the line will catch on that nipple anyway...thus pulling your rod into the water, or cutting your line.
Electrical tape used to attach the line to the spool.
Its now time to grab the wet paper towel. I use the wet paper towel to add lubrication and pressure to the line as it is being re-spooled onto my reel. This will allow you to get more line onto a spool, and give you a tighter wrap.....eliminating most bird-nests and providing further, smoother casts. I simply fold the paper towel into quarters and then pinch my line between the fold.
Line pinched between the wet paper towel.
I then begin to reel in line at a slow and steady retrieve. I stop occasionally to move the line within the paper towel to get a spot that is still wet. I then proceed to fill the spool until it reaches within 1/10 of an inch or so from the spool.
Fill within 1/10 of an inch from the edge of the spool.
Make sure that when you are holding your line in your paper towel that you keep it as centered as possible. If you get off to one side or the other, your spool will begin to fill faster on that side. Once your done the spool should look somewhat symmetric....IE. 1/10 of an inch from the edge of the spool on each side.
Somewhat level spool.
You can then tie the end line off to one of the eyes of the rod, tie on a pop can tab and reel it up to the level-wind mechanism, tie on a swivel, tape the line to the spool with the electrical tape, or go ahead and tie a rig on. If you tie the end of the line off to the rod eye, make sure not to reel the line up too tight, rod eyes are not made to handle this kind of pressure. That's why they sometimes loose ceramic inserts, or get bent.