How to put line on a spinning reel seems simple enough when you think about it. Just wind the new line on the spinning reel right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
If you’re familiar with spooling a baitcasting reel then you’ll be in for a surprise. There are some things that can go wrong and will affect your day out on the water. I’ve had days where overwinds make me lose a fish, or the line biting into itself has busted off a lure.
Learning how to spool a spinning reel is an essential skill for many anglers…
What You’ll Need
Before you start to spool a spinning reel with a line there are a few good decisions to make first.
Braid or Mono
Before we begin, the first question is; do you want to be spooling braid or monofilament line on your spinning reel?
Braid line has its advantages. However…
It’s more expensive than the monofilament line. Braid will allow you to cast further, more accurately and provide better breaking strength.
It’ll give you more of a direct connection to your bait and the fish. Also it’s material lasts a lot longer than a monofilament line so you won’t have to change it out as often.
Using Braid with Mono
You can put monofilament backing on a braid line to use less of it and save some cash.
But if you’re targeting a type of fish that takes long runs like King Mackerel, you’ll need all the lines you can get
If that’s the case, spooling with all braided lines is the better choice.
Personally I spool all my spinning reels with braided lines. It’s the best line out there.
Is Your Reel Braid Ready?
Most spinning reels today come with braid ready spools. If you’re spooling old spinning reels there’s a little trick to make it braid line ready.
Simply apply some electrical tape and make sure you’re wrapping it properly and evenly around the spool.
The braid will now have something to bite into and won’t slip when you begin to wind it on.
The List Of Tools
- Your spinning reel
- Your rod for the reel
- A long screwdriver
- A thick cloth
- Sharp scissors
- A friend to help
- Tape (electrical)
- 2 chairs, 1 for you and your friend
- A spool of line
- This line should match the weight and line capacity of your reel, make sure you have enough to fill the reel properly
- It can be braid or monofilament, the method is the same
- Make sure you have a spool of monofilament if you want to use it as backing for your braid
Now that we are organized and have everything we need, we can begin.
Below is a step by step guide to putting mono, braid, or braid with a mono backing on your spinning reels properly.
It’s different from putting a line and line backing in a fly reel, so let me walk you through the steps and give you tips that you should know…
Also check which direction the reel turns when you crank it.
Make sure to mirror how the two spools are winding.
The line should be unwinding off of one spool in the same direction it is winding onto the other. Just make sure not to wind in the opposite direction.
Matching the direction of the line and reel helps the line be spooled onto the reel more evenly and will also help prevent line twists.
Ensure that your line comes off from the line spool from the same direction that will go onto the reel spool.
The line usually comes out counter-clockwise on the side with the label on it.
If not you can place the side with the label on the floor or any flat surface.
Threading the Line
Get the line and thread your line straight through the rod guides, start to thread at the top and end at the reel.
Now open the bail arm of the spinning reel and ensure the bail arm stays open even when you’re tying the knot of the line to the spool.
Keeping the bail arm open is necessary. If you don’t leave the bail arm open you’ll have to cut the line and re-tie the knot. Also if the line isn’t under the bail arm, the reel won’t be able to wind the line onto the spool.
Tying The Line
Now, tie the braid or mono line to the spool with an arbor knot. You can also use other fishing knots besides an arbor knot, and I’ve listed all the best knots for a braided line here.
To make an arbor knot, wrap the line around the arbor and tie an over hand knot in the standing line. Tie a second overhand knot in the tag end, just about 1 inches from the first overhand knot. Now, pull the standing line to slide the first knot down to the spool and slide the second knot down to the first.
Make sure to keep the knot on the line tight and doesn’t slip as well. See this video from SaltyScales that’ll show you how to tie it.
If you’re spooling braid and your reel spool isn’t braid line ready, get the electrical tape and wrap it neatly once around the reel spool before you tie the knot. The braid won’t slip while spooling once you’ve done this.
Whilst holding the screwdriver and the spool in one hand, your friend should take the cloth with his/her free hand and use it to hold the other side of the spool.
They’ll use the cloth on the free hand to put pressure on the spool so when you wind, make sure that the line goes on the reel very tightly.
This will cause the cloth to get hot when you start winding, so pause along the process if you need to.
Always try and maintain the same amount of pressure throughout the process if you can.
Step 4 – Winding The Line On
This is the most important part. The line should be tied on to the spool neatly and with as much pressure as possible. This’ll prevent any overwinds or line bite, which are the main problems we’re trying to prevent.
Sitting on the other chair, pick up your rod and reel and point it towards your friend, who’s now holding the spool on the screwdriver and the cloth for pressure.
Securing the Line
Tighten the drag on your reel so it’s secured. Lift the rod to a small angle, maybe point it just above your friend’s head, so there’s a little bend in it when you begin to wind.
To begin winding line, start cranking your spinning reel and watch as the main line gets spooled onto the reel. Don’t go too fast when winding your reel handle, keep a medium pace.
Try to make sure that much of it is tight and neat.
Check with your friend about the pressure and ask for more or less if you need it.
Stop periodically and press into the line on the reel. It should be hard to press on, if it’s at all soft, you’ll need to start again.
Step 4b – If you’re using a mono backing
If you’re spooling with mono backing, you’ll need to leave some space and stop once a ¼ or a ⅓ of the reel is filled, add or reduce space, whichever you prefer it’s up to you.
Once you reach this point, cut the mono at the spool, not at the reel.
Now attach your braid to the mono using the FG knot. See the video below from Salt Strong explaining the quickest way to tie it.
Once it’s tied on, you can continue winding as per the above instructions.
Make sure that the line is hard by pressing it, if it’s not, go back to the beginning of Step 4.
You’ll have to wind the fishing line back from the reel on to the fishing line spool by hand, which will take a long time.
Step 6 – Tie On Your Leader
Once it’s filled and checked, cut the tag end of the line at the spool, not at the reel, and attach your leader.
I suggest you use fluorocarbon lines for your leader.
If you’re using monofilament lines, you can attach your fluorocarbon line leader using the Uni knot or double Uni knot, here’s a video from Salt Strong explaining how to tie a line using a Uni knot.
When using braid line, tie your fluorocarbon line leader using the FG knot. Here’s the earlier video from Salt Strong explaining how to tie an FG Knot.
Step 7 – The Finish
Go fishing and buy your buddy a beer for helping out!
There you have it, that’s how to put line on a spinning reel with braid or mono.
It’s easy enough and with practice, you’ll get better and be able to do the steps blindfolded on your beginner baitcasting reel.
The process of putting a new line on the reel takes no more than 10 minutes, if you know what you are doing.
Did you enjoy the step by step guide and find it useful? I hope so. I wish I had read a guide on how to put line on a reel and avoided the spooling problems like line twists when I first started putting line on my reels.
It would have saved me hours of time!
Instead of trying to work my way out and fixing line issues like line twist and tangles while I was already fishing on the water.
Please let me know what you think of this step by step guide on how to put line on a spinning reel by leaving a comment below and if you like it, please share it around with your angling buddies.
And also don’t forget to check out my other articles. There are many options to choose from, such as the Best Surf Fishing Reel Review or an article about the weird-looking ocean sunfish. There’s a lot of information waiting for you. Feel free to check them out.