How to Spool a Spinning Reel

Spooling line correctly and maintaining your spool is critical to successful fishing and spooling a reel incorrectly can hinder casting and line durability. All of which leads to a poor day on the water.

In this short article, we are going to take a look at a step by step instruction on how to spool a spinning reel and give you some insider tips that will make the process much easier and make your day on the water much more enjoyable.

Step 1

You first need to determine the spool capacity of your reel for given lb test line and determine what type of line you are going to use. Capacity is important because not enough line is going to decrease line retrieval and too much line can lead to poor casting performance and more issues with line twist and knots.

For a new reel, even if it comes spooled, we recommend replacing it with line of your choice.

Step 2

There are several ways to spool up your spinning reel. The traditional method is having it attached to your rod and running the line from the spool to the reel through the line guides.

For spinning reels, this is our preferred method, and we will discuss the reason why shortly. There are line winders that are great for baitcasters, conventional, and fly reels, but we do not care for them for spooling your spinning reel.

The reason is that the way you see a lot of people holding the spool, with the label facing out and on a bar, pencil, or whatever to allow the spool to rotate easily produces a tremendous amount of line twist throughout the reel’s spool. This means trouble on the water. The method we will use eliminates a vast majority of line twist.

So, take your rod and reel and run the line through the eyelets to the reel spool with the bail open. You can keep the spool of line on the ground or have a friend hold it for you through the process.

Step 3

There are several knots that can be used to anchor the line to the spool, but by far the most popular is an arbor knot. Wrap the tag end of the line around the spool twice before tying an arbor knot.

Leave a decent tag end after wrapping twice to give yourself plenty of line to work with. Once the knot is tied, you can trim off any excess line. With monofilament and fluorocarbon, they can be attached directly to the spool.

Some spools are not designed to have braid attached directly to them. In this case, you will need to use several yards of mono backing. Attach the mono to the spool with an arbor knot and then attach the braid to the end of the monofilament. Again, there are several knots that will work, but our personal favorite is the double uni- knot.

Step 4

Once you have the line attached securely, close the bail and pull on the line to tighten the knot. During this entire process, you will want to keep the line running to the spool taut. Here is where the main step is to reduce the amount of line twist.

With the rod and reel facing out at a normal position, check to see which direction your rotor and bail turn. For the vast majority of spinning reels, it is going to be in a clockwise direction. If so, you want the line to come off the spool in the opposite direction, counterclockwise.

Most line manufactures know this and line will come off the spool counterclockwise with the face of the spool facing you. If not, just flip the spool, so the back face is towards you.

You can lay the spool on the ground in front of you or have someone hold the spool, as long as the line is coming off in the opposite direction your bail rotates you are fine.

Step 5

Now, when you reel line onto the spool, keeping the line tight, line is leaving the spool and coming onto your reel in the same direction is was spooled by the manufacturer. The line has memory, and spooling line in the opposite direction goes against this memory and causes the line to twist.

By following the steps we have outlined, you are putting line onto your reel in the same direction it was put onto the spool by the manufacturer. This is going to dramatically reduce line twist.

Step 6

One thing that a lot of people mess up on when nearing the end of the spooling process is over spooling. You should never put so much line on the reel that it comes out to the lip of the spool.

This is going to hurt casting, and it’s also going to end up being a mess of knots and tangles. You should always leave at least a 1/8″ of space at the spool lip.

Step 7

Once you have the reel spooled, it’s up to you how you store the reel. You can leave some line coming out of the last eyelet, tie on a lure and stuff the rod and reel back in the boat or you can break it down.

If you are breaking down the rod and reel for storage, we like to tape down the tag end of the line to the reel with a little piece of tape to keep it from wrapping itself into the reel.


And there you have it! It is as simple as that. With a little attention to the details, you can easily spool up your spinning reel correctly and greatly reduce the amount of line twist while doing it.

Doing it the right way back at base camp is going to save you from major headaches on the water when the fishing is hot.

How to Spool a Spinning Reel
Article Name
How to Spool a Spinning Reel
Spooling might not always be easy, especially for beginners. Here's a great guide on how to spool a spinning reel.
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Cast For Fish
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