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How to put line on a spinning reel – A complete guide

how to put line on a spinning reel

Knowing how to put line on a spinning reel is of supreme importance. Do it carelessly, and you will find yourself in a nightmare of line twist later in your fishing trip. However, this task should not be tough or challenging. With some patience and meticulosity, you can get it right. Follow this walkthrough, and you will have no problem or worry about your reel.

First things firsts

how to line a spinning reel

The first thing you need to remember when spooling any spinning reel is to put the appropriate pound test line on it. To do this, you will look for the line capacity on your reel, which is visible right on its front.

If you look right below where it says cardinal or pen or whatever it says on your spinning reel, you will see the pounds and the number of yards that the reel can hold. This information is based on the pound test. Thus, you don’t want to exceed the line capacity.

If you try to put on a heavier line on the reel, for instance, it will make the line unmanageable. Eventually, it’ll limit your casting distance.

How to put line on a spinning reel – A complete walkthrough

how to spool a reel

There must be thousands of guides showing you how to put line on a spinning reel, but if you want something straightforward, all-inclusive, and simple to follow, here’s the one.

1: Open the bail

Some people forget this step without realizing its essence. If you don’t open the bail before you actually tie the line on the spool, you will not be able to wind the line onto it. So to start, simply lay your rod flat, open the bail, and prepare for the knot.

2: Tie the line onto the reel

There is nothing complicated in this step; you just need to make a regular overhand knot. First, you make a knot right at the end of your line. Next, you will take your line and wrap it around your spool. From here, you will tie another overhand knot.

For those who may ask about how to make an overhand knot, it’s simple. First, you take the line and the end of the line. Then, wrap the line back from itself, and put it through and hole. Tighten it, and you have the overhand knot.

The key here is that you have to make sure the first knot that you tied is outside of your next knot. Once you have the second knot, tighten that down on the reel. And as you do that, the line is going to slide right through. Now, pull the slip knot, or push it all the way down the fishing spool, and they will keep each other tight.

Don’t rush in tying the knots. Do it slowly yet firmly. And if you still find this way of knotting not quite easy enough, there’s another way. Simply tie two overhand knots around the spool, one after another.

3: Reinforce the knots

After having the knots on the spool, you may need a pair of scissors to cut the leftover ends of the line as close as you can. This will prevent the unused end from impeding the line when it comes off the rest of the reel.

Then, put a small piece of tape on the spool, right over top of the knot. The tape will help with two things. First, it will keep the line nice and tight to the spool. Second, it will prevent the tag end from becoming an issue for the rest of the line.

4: Set up the spool

how to spool a spinning reel

The best way to do this is to take out a pen or a pencil, stick it through the middle of the hole, and hold it. There should be somebody else who holds it and makes sure the line is coming off. And you need to make the line come off towards the reel. If it’s coming off away from the fishing reel, problems would come with twisting and tangles.

You definitely don’t want to hold the spool facing towards the reel. That will make the line rub against the plastic edges, which undoubtedly results in tangles for your line. Now as you have the spool ready, hold the line well above where the first fishing rod eye is.

Some people like to thread the line through the first guide before they start reeling it on. This way is not recommendable because you will have difficulty in reeling the line smoothly. The line inside the fishing rod eye will be easily damaged when you are spooling it.

5: Wind the line

spinning reel

If you do this alone, what you should note when setting the spool down is to make sure you have the label facing up. The face-up label means that the line will come off clockwise. And it will match up to the way that the line will be going on the reel.

Again, whether the line is monofilament or fluorocarbon, it has some memory. If you can keep it going in the right direction, it will make things easier for you.

To wind the line, it is important to hold the rod tightly. Then, put the fishing bail over and use one hand to hold the line right toward the lead guide. When spooling on the reel, you should apply a little bit pressure to the line. Keep the pressure steady when you reel the line in.

The pressure is to make sure you have the line go on tight. Otherwise, with loose reeling, you will get tangles every time you start casting.

6: Know when to stop

During the winding, hold the line as still as you can and let it comes on to the reel. The best way to ensure there is no twist when spooling is to hold the line next to itself and do the task at moderate speed.

If you do end up with twisting, don’t give up on it. To get rid of the twist, take that line and run it out behind the boat. Crank the motor up, let the line grab in the water, the water will just yank it out back behind. Give it about one minute or two, and you can untwist the line right in the water.

As a rule of thumb, you should leave from 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch gap right between the top of the spool and the line. The gap will allow you to make sure you are not under spooling or over spooling the reel.

If you over spool the reel, the line will start falling off and it will become a big mess. You don’t want to under spool it either because you don’t want to run out of line when fighting the fish.

Finally, cut the line, thread it through the guides, tie on your favorite lure, and you are ready to start fishing.

Tips for spooling the reel and how to cast a spinning reel better

spooling a spinning reel

Now you know how to spool a spinning reel, there are some other tips to make this task come with a better result.

As you apply the pressure on the line when winding it, it’s advisable to pinch your index finger and your thumb together. This is to make the line go straight and tight. Don’t wind too fast; you may burn your fingers.

It’s best to have a friend hold the spool for you. Or else, just lay the spool on the flat ground in front of you. Also, put the line on the reel the same way the manufacturer put it on the spool. As a result, it’s less likely to have the twist and tangle.

When you complete putting the line on the reel, untwist the drag to take the spool off. Also, make sure you don’t mess up with the washers. Then, put the spool into a glass of warm water, and leave it there for about 10 minutes. This will help the line coming from the bigger spool to fit the smaller one.

If you have a deep fishing spool, don’t fill it all the way with a really small line. The line wraps in with itself, and it will cause some tangles and twists. Instead, you should put some braided line on it. It does not take up much space, and it’s much smaller than the mono.


Nothing is worse than suffering from a tangle of line or not being able to fight the fish when catching them. Thus, to avoid this scenario, it’s ideal to have your line on the reel in a proper way. This writing on how to put line on a spinning reel hopefully helps you to have a better preparation for your fishing trip.

Jim Johnson

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