How To Put Line On A Spinning Reel

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The spinning rod setup is a favorite due to its versatility and ease of use. But how do you put a line on a spinning reel without the twist? And how do you ensure you maximize your casting distance potential?

The modern spinning reel is now capable of casting relatively heavy lines, and now more than ever, it’s suitable for catching a variety of fish species. 

However, it took me years to master the art of putting a line on a spinning reel. I’ve encountered many tangles that have ruined many days of fishing, and getting used to the knots and the multiple stages involved stole a lot of my precious fishing time.

Well, I don’t want you to suffer like I did, and I’m hoping this step by step guide will adequately answer the question of how to put a line on a spinning reel.

What You’ll Need



1. A spinning rod

2. A spinning reel

3. Fishing line

4. A lure or bait

5. Scissors

6. Practice and patience!

For this article, I’m going to assume you already have your reel correctly attached to your rod. The video below can offer you some guidance if you need help with that part.

Basic Fishing Gear : Mounting Spinning Reels To Fishing Rods

I’ve also included ‘a lure or bait’ on my list of things you’ll need, but that’s so that you can start fishing the second your rod is set up and ready to go. If you don’t have a lure right now, don’t worry, you don’t need one to learn how to put fishing line on a spinning reel.

Before I dive straight into the instructions, you should know that other popular types of reel include the bait caster and spincast. Putting a line on either of those components differs to the spinning reel, but if you’re just learning how to spool a line, the spinning reel is – in my opinion – the best starting point.

Most anglers will tell you the bait caster reel is something you purchase once you already have experience, and I’d agree. There are many components and mechanisms to get used to, and casting with a baitcaster accurately takes a lot of practice. You’re likely to encounter the dreaded backlash if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

On the other hand, the spincast reel reduces the risk of backlash while also reducing the risk of the line twist problem often encountered with spinning reels. It’s a reel you might want to look into, but I think the spinning reel is the best way to learn how to avoid line twist by yourself.

How To Put Line On A Spinning Reel Correctly


If you follow these instructions carefully, you shouldn’t have too many problems spooling your line, and hopefully, you won’t miss out on as many fishing hours as I did. Learning how to put a braided line on a spinning reel requires a few more considerations, but this guide will get you and up running.

You might want to familiarize yourself with the component names before you start which are labeled in the diagram below.

Step 1 – Make Sure You Have The Correct Fishing Line

Almost every spinning reel is rated as to what pound test line it can hold. If you’re new to fishing, skipping this part might be tempting. But using the wrong line will limit your casting distance ability and make the line unmanageable.

If you look to the topside of your reel, close to the spool, you should see some numbers displayed which tell you the reel’s line capacity. The image below shows you to which numbers I’m referring. 

The numbers you can see on this reel are 6-200, 8-140 and 10-120. That means at maximum it holds a 10-pound line, but shouldn’t be used with a lighter line than 6 pounds.

If you’re unsure as to which number you should pay attention to, buying a line that fits the median number specification is probably a good idea.

Step 2 – Attach The Line To The Spool

The first thing you need to do is lie your rod flat, with the spool resting on the ground. You then need to thread the end of your line through the first guide – the one closest to the rod’s handle – towards the reel. At this point, make sure your bail is open.

Next comes the task of tying the first overhand knot. The line shouldn’t be touching the reel at this point. You’ve almost certainly tied many overhand knots in your life, but here’s a reminder before we proceed.

How To Tie An Overhand Knot

After you’ve tied your first overhand knot, you need to wrap the line around the spool and then secure the line to the spool using another very simple overhand knot. Make sure your first knot lies on the outside of the new knot, and pull tight. Then, use your scissors to clip the tag end of the line.

How To Tie The Arbor Knot (Attach Line To Spool)

Step 3 – Wrap The Line Around The Spool

This is the step where you’re going to see your hard work paying off. You need to hold the rod sturdy and hold your line near the first guide of the rod while applying a small amount of pressure.

Now, you need to close your bail and start turning the reel’s handle to thread the line onto the spool. You should turn the handle away from you to do this. And please remember, you need to apply some pressure to the line as you crank the handle.

If you forget to apply pressure, your line is going to be loose fitting on your reel, and that results in tangles right from the offset. Doing this step correctly isn’t too difficult, but I’ve wasted countless hours in the past changing and discarding lines thanks to the dreaded twisted line.

Spooling Line

Step 4 – Don’t Overload Your Spool

Now that your spool is starting to fill up with line nicely, you need to make sure you don’t put too much or too little on the line.

If you don’t put enough spool on a line, the friction between the line and reel will reduce your casting distance. If you spool too much line, you’ll be running the risk of unwanted line twist.


Step 5 – Attach Your Lure

You’re almost ready! Thread your fishing line through all the guides on your rod, from first to last. At this point, the easiest thing to do is to lay your rod carefully down flat on the ground so you can use both hands to attach the lure.

The first step is to tie another overhand knot at the tag end, but make sure there is still 6 inches of line on the tag end side of the knot and don’t pull the knot tight. Then, thread the tag end through your lure’s eye, stopping when the knot reaches the eye.

Now you need to thread the tag end of the line back through your lure’s eye and the overhand knot, wrap the tag end three times around the line, and then weave it through the gap between the wrap and the knot before pulling tight. This video will make things clearer.

Knot Tying: Lure Loop Knot

Step 6 – Go and Catch Some Fish

Now you’ve put your line on your spinning reel and attached the lure; it’s time to pick out a fishing hotspot and try your luck. As long as you followed each of the above steps carefully, you should be ready to cast without any unwanted hiccups.

If you’re completely new to fishing, you might not know the proper casting technique. It’s another reason why – in my opinion – you’ve made the right choice purchasing a spinning reel and rod, because casting isn’t too difficult to learn when compared to the likes of a bait caster.

Fishing For Beginners – How To Cast A Spinning Reel

Have You Found Success

Hopefully after you’ve read my guide, you’ll have found that putting line on your reel without twist is easier than you thought. How did you find this tutorial? Did it provide you with the guidance you needed?

Fishing is a sport that I love, but it certainly wasn’t like that in the beginning when I was struggling to set up my components instead of actually doing some real fishing. It’s a game of patience which is rewarding when you get that great catch, but wasting hours messing with a tangled mess of line is simply frustrating.

Do you have any final thoughts or some additional pointers to add? Any more top tips to put a line on a spinning reel perfectly every time? I’d love to hear from you. Submit a comment below if you know anything that needs to be shared, or if you have any unanswered questions.

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