How to Put Line on a Spinning Reel: VIDEO, pics & Instructions

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Putting new line on a spinning reel is any easy process.

Follow these step by step instructions to spooling a spinning reel to get the job done quickly and easily.

If you prefer to watch a video on how to put fishing line on a spinning reel keep scrolling to the bottom to find a YouTube clip we produced.

Step 1: Choose the type of fishing line: Mono, Fluoro or Braid

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Select your preferred type of fishing line. If you are using mono or fluoro, you can attach the line straight to the spool following this method. If you are using braided line, lay down 30-60 yards of monofilament line first as a cushion and to stop the braided spinning on the spool. You can join the braided to the mono backing using the Double Uni Knot (easy and quick) or the FG Knot (harder but stronger).

Step 2: Slide the line under the bail arm

Make sure the bail is engaged (in winding rather than casting position). Slide the line under the bail arm and wrap it around the spinning reel spool.

Step 3: Attach the Line to the Reel Spool

Knot Style Arbor Knot

Use the Arbor Knot to attach the line to the spinning reel spool and pull up nice and tight. The Arbor Knot is the only knot you need to know to connect the line to the spool.

Step 4: Wind the line on to the spool

Spinning reels bokeh excellent braid spooled

Get a friend or relative to hold the filler spool (or use a fishing reel spooler). Ideally they should poke a pencil through the centre of the filler spool of fishing line and use their thumbs to keep tension on as you wind.
Start cranking steadily to wind on the fishing line onto the reel and keep winding line until you have filled the spool.
Filling the spool to the fishing line capacity requires a bit of judgment. Put on too little line and the angles the line has to pass through to come off the spinning reel spool starts to affect your casting distance.
Put on excess line and loops of line can sometimes come adrift and create tangles when you flick back the bail or when you are winding in.
As a general rule you want to pack out the spool so that there is about 1/6th to 1/8th of an inch between the lip of the spool and the packed fishing line. See here for some handy information on fishing line diameters and fishing line strength requirements for different species.

Spooling spinning reels: FAQs

Can I spool a spinning reel direct with braided line?

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We don’t recommend this. The braided fishing line has no stretch so it doesn’t bite into the reel spool and grip like monofilament line when you begin spooling the reel. So what happens then is that when you start winding the spool spins without the line being wound up. It is always best to lay down some monofilament line before adding the braided line. If you are really averse to the idea of laying down mono, you can also use some electrical tape on the spool and then connect the line to the spool directly and begin reeling, but remember you will need more braided to fill the spool fully.

Can I spool a spinning reel with fluoro line?

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Yes, you can spool a spinning reel with straight fluorocarbon line, but most people don’t. The main reason is that fluoro is much more expensive than monofilament fishing line. However, it has much lower stretch, so if you are fishing in an environment where having low stretch is important (to prevent fish pulling you into structure for example) and braided line is not an option, then by all means use straight fluoro.

How to avoid line twist when you spool a spinning reel

If you don’t handle the filler spool properly you can wind up getting line twists in the line before you even put it on your spinning reel. And this can lead to problems and tangles when you are on the water in your favourite fishing spot.

This usually occurs when you get lazy and lay the filler spool on its side and just start winding. When the line comes of the filler spool without the filler spool spinning, then it imparts a twist to it. This is bad – line twists should always be avoided with fishing reels.

You should always get someone to hold the filler spool with some tension on and allow it to rotate as it dispenses the fishing line on to the fishing reel.
Better still, use a fishing reel spooler to put the line on and be sure of a great result.

How often should I put new fishing line on my spinning reel?

Fishing line doesn’t last forever. Even the best monofilament line decays with exposure to sunlight and also pronlonged exposure to water. So if you have spooled your spinning reel with mono, it is well worth checking every year for damage to the line – look for it going opaque or overly stiff.
Sometimes you can get away with stripping off the first 30 yards or so from the fishing line spool and that will remove the most damaged section. But when the whole line is degraded, it is time to remove it (remember to recycle the line where possible or dispose of it correctly) and put some new line onto the reel.
Braid and fluorocarbon last longer as they don’t degrade in sunlight, but they nonetheless be inspected every year for fraying (in the case or braid) or nicks or other damage in the case of fluorocarbon, which will diminish its breaking strength.

How to put line on a spinning reel: Video

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.