How to properly spool a spinning reel

Complete guide on how to properly spool a spinning reel

If you are a beginner and brand new to fishing, after unpacking your brand new spinning reel out of the box, you may be wondering about what is the correct way to put your line onto your reel, which is also known as spooling. We have therefore created this complete guide on how to properly spool a spinning reel.

Make sure your putting the correct pound test line onto the reel for what it is rated for. Look for the line capacity on the spool to check its rating. If you were to use a larger pound line then what the reel is rated for, it would make the line unmanageable and would severely limit the casting distance.

You also need to make sure you have taken into account whether you are using mono or braided line, due to the difference in diameter and pound test of the line. Another tip that is sometimes forgotten is that you also want to make sure you actually have enough line on the spool to fill it!

How to put fishing line on a reel by yourself

Lay the rod and reel flat, open the bail and run the line through the first guide on the rod. To attach the line to your reel, an arbor knot is most commonly used. An arbor knot is a typical fisherman's knot and a good angler should practise these and know how to complete them.

Making sure the bail is open, take the fishing line and place it around the spool and tie an arbor knot in the end of the line. If the arbor knot is tied correctly, when you pull the longer end of the line, it should slide through and the loop will tighten up around the reel. If needed, you can clip the tag end to make it neater.

Place the filler spool holding your new line on a flat surface. It is very important to make sure the line is coming off the filler spool and onto the reel's spool in the same direction to prevent twist in the line occurring. If you are using a new line spool, the label side up is usually the right direction.

For more information about how to check the direction of the line, refer to the below section "How to put line on a spinning reel without twist" for a more thorough explanation.

Flip the bail over and then hold the line with your fingers towards the lead guide, and apply some pressure to the line as its being spooled onto the reel to ensure it goes on smoothly.

Start winding the reel, letting the line run through your fingers in a steady manner. The pressure is require to ensure the line goes on tight. If it is too loose when it goes on to the reel, it will cause problems with tangling.

Make sure there is about an 1/8" - 1/16" gap right between the top lip of the spool and the line. Make sure that its not over- or under-spooled. If you don't have enough line, you limit the distance of your cast. If you overfill, the line can start to move up off the reel.

Cut the line and thread the end of the line back through the remaining guides, tie on your favourite lure or hook and you are ready to go.

How to put line on a spinning reel without twist

Why is it so important to put fishing line on a spinning reel properly? The fishing line actually has what is called "memory" from being stored on the spool. You therefore want it to twist around the spool of your reel the same way as the line is on the filler spool. If you spool the reel one direction, and the bail tries to re-spool the line back onto the reel in the other direction, the line will twist as it goes onto the reel.

This will cause a lot of problems, such as the distance you are able to cast plus it will also cause the line to twist up near the bail as it is being reeled in. This will most likely result in a big birds nest or it can wrap around the outside of the reel or bail if tension is not maintained.

To make sure you are putting the line on a spinning reel correctly without any twist, you need to do a few things. Firstly, check the direction the bail spins when you are winding the reel - it should be turning in an anti-clockwise direction.

You then need to check what direction the line comes off the filler spool as you want the line to be coming off the spool and onto the reel in the same direction. If you are using a new line spool, the label side up is usually the right direction - the line should be coming off in an anti-clockwise direction.

However if you are unsure, or using one of your own re-spooled lines, you can check which direction the line is coming off by placing it on a flat surface and gently pull the end of the line off the spool. Note which way it unravels - if it is coming off clockwise, flip the spool over. To make it easier to remember the direction of the line, you can draw an arrow on both side of the spool pointing the direction it comes off.

As you are putting on the line, stop intermittently to check that the line is going on correctly. Remove the pressure you are applying with your fingers and let the line hang loose. If you are going in the wrong direction, it will start to tangle itself up. If this happens, flip the spool over so it is the right direction. It is always best to wind for a bit more and check again just to be double sure it is going on properly.

The below video created by Knetter Practical Outdoors, provides a thorough demonstration of how to correctly spool line onto a reel.

How to spool a spinning reel with braid

As braided line has a lot less flexibility and stretch in comparison to mono line, it can sometimes be a bit more difficult to spool a fishing reel properly. Depending on the type of reel you have, there may be a recessed notch on the spool, where you can tie the line directly to the hole.

Manufacturers are doing this more often with newer reels because of the increased use of super lines and non stretch lines, as these don't grip easily in comparison to mono lines and can spin around, making casting quite difficult and cause problems.

If there is no notch, and you are finding that the line is still spinning after you have filled the spool, you can try using a piece a tape instead. When attaching the end of the line to the spool of the reel, place a small piece of tape over the slipknot to hold it in place. As you wind the line on, this will help to stop the line from spinning by providing more grip.

How to untwist fishing line

Even though you may have taken every precaution to correctly spool your fishing line onto your reel, sometimes you can still get line twists while you are fishing. It might be caused by incorrectly spooling the line, or it could be caused by something else.

To fix line twist on the go, the easiest way is to remove all the hardware and just have a bare line. If you have moving water, open the bail and let the line drift and the water pull it off the spool. If you are fishing in still water, you may have to manually pull the line out on dry land. Securely the rod, and with the bail open, slowly walk the line out.

The aim is to let out at least a cast and a half. You want at least a bit more then the distance you have been casting or trolling to ensure you remove all of the line twist that may have built up. Once you have the line out far enough, pinch the line between your fingers to provide some pressure, and wind it back in. All the twist that was in the line will spin out as you wind it back it, and you will be ready to re-attach your fishing hardware and get back to catching the big one.

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