While fishing the steelhead-laden horror show that is New York's Salmon River one weekend, I was introduced to a very simple but truly spectacular little fishing accessory by guide and friend Walt Geryk, and I've been positively giddy about it ever since. If you're a Maxima user, you either know about these little gadgets (or a similar equivalent), have fashioned your own solution, or—like me—have chronic high blood pressure resulting from years of struggle with spools of Maxima.
My guess is that most people's Maxima experience is like mine. Typically, it goes like this: if, once I'm done cutting off the length of ultragreen or chameleon that I need, the remaining Maxima isn't flying off the spool it's attached to, it's getting stuffed back into my hip pouch or wader pockets while I curse and mumble as I try to find a way to get it stowed with 4 feet of line hanging off the spool. Either that or I'm performing stream-side surgery trying to get that infuriating, bullshit little white rubber band delicately balanced in a position where it is actually holding the end of the line down against the spool.
I've pondered numerous solutions. I've considered repurposing bands from other tippet spools, but nothing ever fits. I've considered the hair ties my wife and daughters use to put their hair in pony tails, but never got around to actually trying it. I've considered not using Maxima any longer because I just couldn't take it anymore.
Enter Spool Hands. As I said, these things are simple. There's not much to say. These little gadgets made me not dread (and for a while actually look forward to) tippet and fly changes on the stream. Somehow, I've never seen anyone else use these on spools of Maxima. Surely I must have missed it, and I'm the last person on earth to know about this, right?
I'm still excited about these things. I think I'm going to start buying spools of tippet I don't need just so I can put more of these on them. No more fighting with Maxima. No more fiddling with those godforsaken rubber bands. Peace be with you.
UPDATE (August, 2021) — Spool Hands were previously sold through the Spool Hands web site but that site has since gone offline. You can find them—new and improved, with color-coding to help ID tippet sizes without needing to remove spools from tippet tenders, sling and hip packs, and more—via the link below.