How To Spool Fishing Line On A Fishing Reel

Your fishing reel and your fishing line are both essential parts to an effective setup that catches fish. Time will eventually come when the factory fishing line wears out and you need to replace it. The process as well as the best way to accomplish this has changed over the years. What used to be a hard task can now be done in a few minutes. As technology gets more advanced, reels and fishing lines need more advanced methods to continue catching fish. Advanced methods do not mean that spooling your reel has to be difficult.

How to spool fishing line is a technique you must get familiar with and certainly if you want to keep fishing. Spooling the fishing reel the right way avoids loops, tangles, kinks, and general line or reel damage. It is also worth noting that you will get better distance on your casts as well as more fish in general. The best part about mastering this is the ability to be a better, more-efficient, angler. There are a few ways to complete this task but this tutorial is aimed at the new fisherman. Get that reel and new spool of fishing line out of the package. Its going to be fun.

Understanding The Reel Spooling Essentials

First, you must identify what type of reel you want to put line on and there are three basic types of reels. Spinning reels, casting reels, and fly reels. Its important to know which one you have. Spinning reels are built for casting light lures and as a result, require lighter line. Casting rods are built for throwing heavier baits and hauling in big fish but they naturally require heavier fishing line. Fly rods are spooled with a special and thick line called fly line. Always check your reel to see what your line of choice should be.

There should always be a line capacity number on spinning and casting reels. This number comes right out and tells you how much line should go on the reel. Use this to your advantage when possible. It covers the line weight that the reel can safely handle without damage as well as the amount needed.

Equipment List

Once that is done, it is time to gather the required tools that you need to complete the task. You should already have most of the items. These items include:

  • Fishing rod
  • Fishing reel
  • Monofilament Line (Recommended)
  • Braided Fishing Line (Optional)
  • Toenail Clippers

Once you have everything, you can get right to it and begin relining the fishing reel.

Step-By-Step Instructions

If you have a spinning rod, lay down the rod and open the bail. If you are spooling baitcasters, press the line release button. After that, feed the end of the new line through the first eye on your rod. Also make sure that the fishing line is coming off of the spool in the same direction that it will be going onto the reel. If your reel winds counter-clockwise, make sure that the fishing line comes off of the filler spool counter-clockwise as well. It does quite a lot in reducing line twist, backlash, kinks, and other problems.

After the end of the line has been fed through the first eyelet on the reel, its time to tie an arbor knot. You can tie the arbor knot by tying a simple overhand knot in the end of the line. Wrap the line around the spool and tie two more overhand knots before pulling it tight. The knot should snug up right on the reel arbor. If spooling a spinning reel, close the bail arm and if using a casting rod, pass the line through the line feeder before tying your knot. Clip the tag end with the clippers.

Now For The Fun Part

Now you should start to reel the line onto the reel but use your fingers to hold tight tension on the line as it goes on. Fill the reel with the right amount of fishing line that it tells you to. Be careful not to overfill it or you risk the line jumping off. It is normally best to leave an eighth of an inch of clearance between the spooled line and the edge of the reel arbor. When in doubt if you should add more, it is always best to play it safe and sacrifice a few extra feet of casting distance. There is an easier method that uses a product. See my review of that product!

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Why Braided Line Should Be A Little Different

If you are using braided line or want to fish heavy cover, spooling is different . Although braid is a very durable fishing line, it is very slick and it doesn’t grip or bite into the reel spool. This means that you will need to add an extra layer of security and adding monofilament backing. The monofilament bites into the spool and when connected to braid via a good knot, prevents it from slipping on the retrieve. Attach your monofilament to the reel arbor using the first method and spool until the line covers the reel.

Clip the end with toenail clippers. Attach the braid to the mono with a double-uni knot. Proceed to fill the rod as normal. Try not to go to fast with braided line between your fingers. It can give you rope burn. I like to use a wet cloth to hold the line so it doesn’t slice through my skin. Fill the arbor until it reaches to an eighth of an inch from the end. Once it does, clip it with toenail clippers. You should get a lot of line on the reel before this happens.


To summarize, nothing about how to spool fishing is difficult. This is a task we prefer not do but we have to do it. Proper spooling practicing makes fishing efficient and fun. In the long run, we also save money because we don’t have to keep repurchasing cut lines or broken pinion gears for our reels. Yes, the method has changed in recent years but so has the value because of it. After everything, having a reel that casts like butter is a dream and correct line winding is a big part of that. What is your method? Drop a comment below if you want to discuss further!

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