How To Respool a Baitcaster

The baitcaster is the rod of choice for big fish as well as for most species of game fish that are usually fished for in North America and around the world. They have a ton of backbone for hauling big fish in. What happens when you need to respool them though? There could be many reasons why you would want to put fresh line on your reel. You might have old line, it might be damaged, or maybe its just time to switch line types to try out another kind of fishing. How do you do it though? The process of how to respool a baitcaster is quite a bit different than how to spool a spinning rod. Baitcasters behave differently, have more mechanics to mess with, and are arguably more difficult to manage. This isn’t to say that you cannot still successfully manage this awesome piece of fish catching equipment without hassle. Baitcasters are generally easy to put new line onto once you have mastered the initial concept.

Thread The End Of The Line Through ALL Of The Line Guides

The very first step that you need to perform so your baitcaster gets loaded properly, is to thread the line through every last one of the line guides. I have seen many anglers thread it through the second or third and then some who actually only thread it through the line guide on the reel. Always make sure to pass the line through the first eye and run it through all the way until it gets to the line guide on the reel. If you have to, reel your baitcasting reel until the line guide on the reel is centered.

Tie An Arbor Fishing Knot to The Spool

The Arbor Knot is one of the best fishing knots for attaching your line to the spool of your reel. You can use it for very tiny Crappie spinning reels all the way up to huge saltwater gamefishing baitcasting reels. Called the Arbor Knot for a reason, this knot is the most common method. It is arguably one of the most effective knots for this purpose also. To tie an arbor knot, you first want to tie a simple overhand knot near the end of the line and pull it tight. Cut off the tag end. Next, make another simple overhand knot making sure that the previous knot is outside of the knot when you tighten it down. Tighten the overhand down to the spool and pull until the other one catches. Always make sure the line is centered prior to reeling in. Technically, you don’t have to tie an Arbor Knot to attach your line. You can also use a few alternative knots as well that will still get the job done. Another great one is the uni knot. Another is the improved clinch knot that utilizes four turns. All of these are great for this purpose and it ultimately boils down to preference about which one you should use. Some people just love how strong the improved clinch knot is. Others just love how quick and easy the Arbor Knot is to tie. Still, others want a versatile knot like the uni knot that can be used on their reels as well as their lures and even to join their leaders. It is all your preference as an angler.

Centering The Knot For Even Spooling

Before you actually start spooling, there is a very common problem that many anglers face before they start. The problem can cause the reel not to spool correctly and can even cause a backlash and tangles later down the road. That problem consists of not centering the knot before you start reeling. Although it may seem innocent and quite frankly unneeded, be assured that it is indeed needed for a very good reason. Centering the knot on the spool ensuring that it sits perfectly in the middle will make sure it goes on evenly and tightly. Having your line going onto the spool from one side or the other can cause the line to build up in a certain spot. This can decrease casting distance and even overall efficiency on the water. It can lead to tangles and even line damage with prolonged use.

So Many Different Spooling Methods

There are so many methods used to respool baitcasting reels that it makes it hard to decipher the best one to use. In a brief summary, we are going to go over some of the most common methods that are used to do it and ultimately what we recommend you should do despite this huge variety of approaches.

1. Respool at a Sporting Goods Store – The most effective way to get your reel up and running is also probably the most obvious. If you like to purchase your line from a sporting goods retailer of some sort, chances are likely that they have a custom machine that is used for this very purpose. This method of loading the new line is also the most effective because it often produces the best results. Some retailers will choose to provide a free spooling with the purchase of the fishing line and others will charge a fee for this service.

2. Have Another Person Help You – The most common method aside from having it professionally done is to have someone help you. Commonly, you put a pencil, screwdriver, or another thin round object inside of the spool of line, have the person grab it on both sides, and pull tight while you reel.

3. Use a Box – Using a box may seem like an odd way of respooling new fishing line, but it can certainly work. What the box attempts to do is create an axle for the spool of line to rotate on. It is essentially the same as having someone else there to help you out but the box acts as the other person holding the pencil. You use a screwdriver or another thin round object shoved through the box and the spool rests on it while you pull tightly and reel.

4. Put The New Line Spool On A Table – The next method completely removes the need for another person or other items. This method consists of letting the spool rest on a table or other flat surface while you reel the line in keeping tension as it passes through your fingers. This method can work but the results are mediocre at best. The line doesn’t go on the reel very tight compared to other methods and it can even cause backlashes if not done just right.

5. Put The New Line Spool On The Ground – This method is almost the same as the last one but instead of letting the reel rest on a table, you let it fall to the ground, reel very aggressively, and the spool moves with the motion of the line that is coming off of it. It consists of a fairly straight line but it is not very tight to the reel. That is a problem.

6. Make A Line Spooling Station – If you are going to choose professional results and are willing to pay for it, you might choose to create a line spooling station from different parts. If you can create a way to keep the line horizontal where the line comes off the top in addition to a way you can keep tension on the line while you reel, the results will be the best you can get without utilizing an actual machine. A common practice is to use nuts or bolts screwed onto both sides of a threaded rod. You can have a screw on one side of the rod, put on your spool, and then put on another nut screwed tightly to the other side of the spool. This is usually the best method because it keeps constant tension and results in tight straight fishing line.

Start To Reel

Start reeling your line on your reel at a consistent pace making sure to put a lot of tension on the line. Put the main line between your index finger and thumb. Squeeze the line to ensure it goes on nice and straight. After you have gotten a lot of line on, you want to leave an eighth of an inch before you get to the end of your spool. You don’t want to use to much line. The line will jump off the reel if you do that. All you have to do once you have sucessfully spooled up is to thread the line back through all of the lines guides, tie on your favorite lure, and start fishing!

 Its Easy Once You Master It

All in all, learning how to respool a baitcaster is easy yet complicated. There are plenty of ways you can do it, some better than others. If it were to come down to the absolute best way to load fresh line on your reel, it would be with professional help. If professional help isn’t available or you don’t want to pay for it, we recommend you try experimenting to see what works best for you. Many methods exist and they all will work if you use them correctly. As different people, different anglers may choose one method over another for any number of reasons. Find what works best for you and stick to it.

What is your preferred method of spooling your baitcasting reels? Let us know down in the comments!

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