How to String a Fishing Pole: Easy Step by Step Guide (2024)

Featured Image CO-0049-how to string a fishing pole
Featured Image CO-0049-how to string a fishing pole

When you get a new fishing pole, it is essential to know how to string it up. It is a fundamental skill to learn, regardless of whether it’s your first fishing pole or not.

It pays to do some reading about how to string a fishing pole before you start as if you get it wrong – like I did when I started fishing – using your fishing pole becomes a lot harder than it needs to be.

You’ll end up living in a world of tangles, poor casting, and lost fish, something no fisherman needs when catching fish.

Join me as I run through everything you need to know about how to string a fishing pole correctly so you can hit the water running and enjoy using your fishing trip with your fishing pole.

Things You Will Need To String Your Fishing Pole

Fishing Line and Tools
Fishing Line and Tools

Before we get started on how to string your fishing pole, let’s first look at all the things you’ll need to string a fishing pole correctly.

Make sure you have all of this ready before you begin.

  • A fishing rod
  • A fishing reel
  • Some fishing line (backing and fly line for a fly reel and rod)
  • A hook or all purpose lure
  • Scissors or a knife
  • Electrical tape (braid only)

If you have all of these bits and bobs ready then you’re good to go.

You’ll have noticed I have added some sections in brackets that apply to different types of fishing lines, rods and reels – more on this later.

First let’s look at how to string your rod with the most common equipment; a spinning rod and a spinning reel.

A Step By Step Guide To Stringing Your Fishing Rod

Step 1 – Assembling Your Fishing Rod

  • Take your rod out of the cover and lay out the pieces on a table
  • Wipe each piece down with a cloth to remove any debris
  • Connect each section one by one, starting with the thickest bottom piece and going up from there
  • Double check each section sits tightly connected to the next
  • Make sure all the rod guides line up straight by looking down the rod
  • Adjust to straighten if necessary

Step 2 – Attach Your Fishing Reel to the Rod

  • Find the reel seat on your rod and open it up
  • Find the reel foot on your spinning reel and slot it into the open seat
  • Make sure the reel’s new spool is facing in the same direction at the rod
  • Tighten the seat so the spinning reel sits tight to the rod
  • Don’t tighten it too tight or the seat might crack

Step 3 – Learn The Arbor Knot

The arbor knot is the knot you will use to tie the line onto the reel, and it works in all types of reels from spinning reels to fly and baitcasters.

Here is a video and my instructions are below, which are an improved version. It’s a very easy knot formed of two overhand knots.

Easiest Way To Tie The Arbor Knot
  1. Wrap the end of the line around the spool of your reel twice leaving a long tag end
  2. Take the tag end (free end or loose end of the line) and tie an overhand knot around the main line (standing line)
  3. This will form a loose knot around the main line allowing it to slide to the spool – but don’t do that yet
  4. Next, take the tag end (loose end) and tie the second knot, a simple overhand knot in the tag end – this will act as a stopper for the first loose knot creating a tight knot
  5. Pull the main line tight until line tightens around the spool and the knot on the tag end cinches up to the spool
  6. Make sure to pull until the line is very tight around the spool
  7. Don’t pull too tight as the knot may break – it’s made for friction so the line sticks to the spool not for strength
  8. Cut the tag end off as close to the spool as you can

This is how you tie the knot, now let’s run through how to do it with a spinning reel in your hand and then wind the line on.

Step 4 – Filling Your reel With New Line

  • Take the line and thread it through the guides (metal loops) on your rod from top to bottom – do not miss any
  • Open the wire arm on your reel – the wire arm is called a bale arm
  • Tie the fishing line onto the spool using the arbor knot as described in the step above
  • Make sure the line goes onto the reel in the same direction as it comes off the spool to prevent line twist – if it goes on in the opposite direction, it will cause tangles later
  • Close the bail arm
  • Begin turning the hand of the reel to wind on the fishing line to the reel
  • As the reel turns, make sure the fishing line is spread evenly and wrapped tightly to the spool
  • Keep filling the reel until the spool is full
  • Leave around ¼ of an inch on the spool so the reel is not too full
  • Cut the line at the line spool end so line is hanging out the end of the rod

Step 5 – Learn The Improved Clinch Knot

The improved clinch knot is an all around knot that works well for attaching a hook, bait, or your favorite silver lure you like to attract fish with, to your line. Here is a video of how to tie it and the instructions are below.

Tying the Improved Clinch Knot Correctly
  • Take the line and thread it through the hook eye
  • Leave a 2-3 inch tag end
  • Wrap the tag end around the main line, going away from the hook eye using your index finger
  • Wrap a minimum of five times with your index finger
  • Take the tag end and put it through the loop closest to the hook
  • This will form a big loop between the hook and the top of the knot
  • Thread the tag end of the line in through this loop as well
  • Moisten the knot with saliva or water
  • Pull the main line until the knot tightens against the hook, bait or lure

Now you are ready to fish, so go cast your lure or put some bait on your hook and catch some big fish!

Understanding fishing rods, reels and fishing line types

There are a lots of types of rods, reels, and lines out there which you will probably end up using. But, the general guidelines for stringing them up and knots you will need to use are the same.

Types of Reels and Lines

You can follow the general method above to string your rod and then use the section below to adapt to each reel type’s stringing quirks.

We have covered how to string a spinning reel above so that will also not be included.

Other Types Of Fishing Reels

Fishing Reels on White Background


A spincast reel is like a closed spinning reel. They are very popular with beginners as they are very easy to use.

Attaching the line to this type of reel is just like the method described in the steps above, the only difference is that you will need to –

  • Remove the cone cover to access the spool
  • Be sure to thread the line through the cone
  • Tie your arbor knot onto the spool
  • Screw the cover back on after
  • Start winding

Baitcasting Reels

Baitcasting reels are harder reels to fish with but they offer a lot more casting distance and accuracy than other conventional reels.

To spool these reels do exactly as described in the steps above but instead of opening a bail arm –

  • Feed the line though the line guide
  • Tie an arbor knot with the line around the spool
  • Wind on your line

Fly Reels

Fly reels are simple reels but they require two types of lines, backing and fly line. Start with your backing and fill it onto the reel following the same steps laid out above then –

  • Tie a bimini twist knot in the end of the backing (video here)
  • This forms a loop
  • Use a loop to loop connection to connect the fly line (video here)
  • Add your leader using an improved clinch and then add your flies

Line Types

Fishing Lines
Fishing Lines

There are three main line types you should be aware of – braided lines, fluoro and monofilament lines.

Mono and fluoro and made from single strand nylon while braid is made with multiple strands.

You call follow the steps laid out above if using mono or fluoro, but if you’re using braid, here is how things change.

  • Before adding the braid to the spool put a strip of electrical tape on the spool for the braid to bite into – with out this it will move around and not sit tight
  • Wind the line on with more tension as braid will move around and bite into itself if it is loose
  • Use a double uni knot to add some mono or fluoro at the end of the braid to tie your bait or hook to (video here)

Fishing Tips & Common Mistakes To Avoid

  • Take your time and don’t rush
  • Go to a fishing shop and use the reel filling station if you’re unsure
  • Do not overfill your reel or you will get tangles
  • Make sure the line is tight on the reel – check by pushing it, if it’s soft, do it again

Winding Out

Thanks for reading my article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you now know how to string a fishing pole.

Please share it around with your fishing buddies and check out some of my other articles, such as this article about the different types of fishing reels or this review of the best fishing chair.

I cover everything from the best fishing rods, reels, and more.

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