How To Spool A Spinning Reel


Fishing with a spinning reel is a popular choice among anglers due to its versatility and ease of use. However, if you’re new to fishing or simply unfamiliar with the process, spooling a spinning reel may seem daunting. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to properly spool a spinning reel, ensuring a smooth fishing experience every time.

Before we dive into the spooling process, let’s familiarize ourselves with the spinning reel and its components. A spinning reel consists of several key parts, including the spool, bail, handle, drag system, and line roller. Understanding these components will help you handle and maintain your reel effectively.

How to Put Line on a Spinning Reel

spinning reel

Spooling a spinning reel properly is essential for smooth casting and retrieval. Follow these steps to put line on a spinning reel correctly:

Add Backing

Before attaching the fishing line, it’s a good practice to add backing to the spool. Backing is a thin line or cord that fills up the bottom part of the spool. It serves as a foundation and prevents slippage between the spool arbor and the fishing line. Simply tie the backing securely to the spool and wind it until the spool is about one-third full.

Tie Line to the Spool

To tie the fishing line to the spool, use an arbor knot. Start by passing the end of the line through the spool arbor. Then, tie an overhand knot around the main line, leaving a small loop. Pass the end of the line through the loop and tighten the knot by pulling both ends. Ensure the knot is secure to prevent the line from slipping during use.

Add Tension While Spooling

Maintaining tension while spooling the line is crucial to prevent loose and uneven winding. Hold the fishing line with slight tension using your free hand as you turn the reel handle to wind the line onto the spool. Applying gentle pressure ensures the line is evenly distributed and prevents tangles and loops that can hinder casting performance.

Don’t Under-fill or Overfill the Spool

Finding the right balance of line on the spool is important. Under-filling the spool can reduce casting distance and make the line prone to slipping. On the other hand, overfilling the spool can lead to line tangling and casting difficulties. Aim to fill the spool to about 1/8 inch below the spool rim, providing enough room for proper line management.

How to Pick the Best Fishing Line for Your Spinning Reel

Choosing the right fishing line for your spinning reel can greatly impact your fishing success. Consider the following factors when selecting a fishing line:

Line Strength and Diameter

Evaluate the line strength and diameter based on the target fish species and fishing conditions. Lighter lines with smaller diameters work well for smaller fish and finesse fishing, while heavier lines are suitable for larger fish and more challenging conditions. Strike a balance between strength and manageability to ensure optimal performance.

Line Material

Different line materials offer varying characteristics. Monofilament lines are versatile, affordable, and offer good knot strength. Fluorocarbon lines are nearly invisible underwater and have excellent abrasion resistance. Braided lines provide superior strength and sensitivity but may require a leader for added invisibility in clear water.

Line Sensitivity and Stretch

Consider the level of sensitivity and stretch required for your fishing style. Monofilament lines have moderate sensitivity and stretch, which can act as a shock absorber during intense fights. Fluorocarbon lines offer high sensitivity and minimal stretch, providing better bite detection. Braided lines have superior sensitivity and almost no stretch, making them ideal for detecting subtle strikes.

Tips to Avoid Line Twists and Reel Spooling Problems

Experiencing line twists and reel spooling problems can be frustrating when out on the water. To ensure a smooth fishing experience, consider the following tips to avoid these issues:

Proper Line Placement

When spooling your spinning reel, make sure the fishing line is loaded onto the spool without any crossing or overlapping. Improper line placement can lead to twists and tangles during casting and retrieval. Take your time to ensure the line is evenly distributed and properly seated on the spool.

Use Line Spooling Aids

Utilize line spooling aids such as line spoolers or tensioners. These tools help maintain proper line tension while spooling, minimizing the chances of line twists. They provide a controlled environment for the line to be transferred smoothly from the spool to your reel.

Avoid Overfilling the Spool

Overfilling the spool can lead to line twists and tangles. As you spool the line, be mindful not to exceed the recommended line capacity of your spinning reel. Leaving a small gap between the line and the spool rim allows for better line management and reduces the risk of unwanted knots and loops.

Apply Even Tension

Maintain even tension on the line while spooling to prevent loose winding and potential line twists. Use your fingers to apply gentle pressure on the line as you turn the reel handle. This ensures that the line is evenly distributed on the spool and minimizes the chance of creating twists or loops.

Avoid Twisting While Casting

Twists in the line can occur during casting if not handled properly. Before casting, ensure that the line flows freely from the reel, without any kinks or loops. Pay attention to the line as it leaves the spool and make any necessary adjustments to prevent twisting.

Regularly Inspect the Line

Inspect your fishing line regularly for signs of wear, fraying, or damage. Damaged lines are more prone to twisting and tangling. Replace any worn-out or damaged sections of the line to maintain optimal performance and minimize the risk of line-related issues.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce line twists and reel spooling problems, ensuring a more enjoyable and productive fishing experience. Remember to take your time and pay attention to detail when spooling your spinning reel to achieve the best results.


Properly spooling a spinning reel is essential for smooth casting, efficient retrieval, and an overall enjoyable fishing experience. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your fishing line is securely attached to the spool and evenly distributed, minimizing the risk of line twists, tangles, and other spooling problems.

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