Correctly Spooling Fishing Line On Baitcasting and Spinning Reels

Spooling fishing line on you reels correctly will save you many headaches when your on the water.

If you spool line on your bass fishing reels incorrectly, especially your spinning reel, twists and loops that are created while winding on line will cause you major heartburn later when you're fishing. Fishing line memory will result in line twist, casting problems and valuable "fishing time" taken up messing with backlashes.

So the question is how to spool fishing line the "correct" way using fishing line spoolers or by putting the filler spool on the floor.

Spinning Reels

There are more potential problems related to spooling fishing line on spinning reels than baitcasters so let's look at how to spool fishing line on them first.

Step One - make sure you're spooling fishing line on your reel in the right direction.

Important Point!

A critical consideration when spooling fishing line on a spinning reel is to insure that the line goes on your reel the same way it was spooled on the manufacturers filler spool.

Line is usually, though not always, spooled on a spinning reel in a clockwise direction. The direction in which your reel winds line is easy to determine. Merely look at the front of the reel as you turn the reel's handle. Observe the direction the bail arm turns. If it turns in a clockwise direction it places line on the spool in a clockwise direction. So it is very important to have line coming off the filler spool onto your reel in a clockwise direction.

How do you make sure this is what's happening?

  • Check your filler spool "with the label facing you and free line end at the top of the spool". Often the line is secured with a piece of tape so look for that.
  • Determine the direction the free tag end points. If the tag end is pointing to your left the line will come off the spool clockwise.
  • Place the plastic filler spool on the ground face up.

Step Two - tie line on the reel spool.

  • Run some line from the filler spool to the reel down through the three or four rod guides in front of the reel.
  • Make sure either (1) your bail is open or (2) you thread the line under the bail arm if you keep it closed.
  • Put a loop of line around your spool.
  • Tie your line securely on the reel using one of the following: Arbor knot (preferred)Uni-knot
  • Close the bail if open.

Step Three - test for loops and twists in your line.

  • Turn your reel handle six or eight times and stop.
  • If the line has loops or twists in it flip the filler spool over and continue winding.

The line should appear slightly undulating as it runs through the guides. There must not be any twists or loops hanging from the rod as seen above

Step Four - wind on line

  • Make sure there is "tension" on the line as you wind it onto your reel's spool.
  • lightly pinch the line between your index finger and thumb at a point above the reel but before the first guide.
  • alternatively, hold a rag soaked in a silicone lubricant like Real Magic and wind the line through it (this helps limber up monofilament line).
  • fill your spool to a level no more than 1/8" below the rim of the reel.

Baitcasting Reels

Spooling fishing line on a baitcasting reel is quite simple compared to a spinning reel. When adding or changing fishing line on a baitcaster follow these steps.

  • Run some line from the filler spool down through the rod guides to the reel.
  • Run the line through the level-wind device.
  • Put a loop of line around your spool.
  • Tie your line securely on the reel using one of the following: Arbor knot(preferred, see below)Uni-knot

Wind the line on your reel while maintaining tension on the line. This can be done by

  • putting a pencil, pen etc through the hole off the filler spool and having someone hold it while you wind on line, or
  • by using a fishing line winder device (there are several)

Fishing line spoolers like the one I use shown above is from Berkley. It is quick and simple to use. There are others available which fasten to the rod shaft or stick to table tops with suction cups that are much more portable.

When Spooling Fishing Line Where And How Do You Tie An Arbor Knot?

Step One:

Wrap line around your spool in a clockwise direction and tie an overhand knot around the standing line. Run the tag end through it.

Step Two:

Tie another overhand knot in the tag end as close to the first knot as possible and pull it tight.

Step Three:

Slide the completed knot down to the reel spool so it fits snugly against the spool. Cut off the tag.

Fishing line spooling is one of those little things which deserve your focused attention. Do it wrong and you can easily ruin a good day on the water fooling with line twist and birds nests.

Return To Best Fishing Line From Spooling Fishing Line

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.