A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Properly Put a Fishing Line on a Reel

How to Put a Fishing Line on a Reel: A Step-by-Step Guide


If you’re an avid angler or just starting out, knowing how to properly put a fishing line on your reel is essential for an enjoyable and successful fishing experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through each step of the process, ensuring you have all the knowledge required to spool your reel with ease.

Gather Your Equipment

Before getting started, let’s make sure you have everything you need:

  • A fishing rod and reel combo of your choice
  • A suitable fishing line (monofilament or braided)
  • A pair of scissors or clippers
  • Your preferred knot-tying tool (optional)

Selecting the Right Fishing Line

The first step towards putting a fishing line on your reel is selecting one that suits your needs. Factors such as target fish species, location, and personal preference should dictate your choice between monofilament and braided lines. Monofilament offers good versatility while braided lines provide greater strength.

Clean Your Reel

Prior to spooling new line onto your reel, it’s crucial to ensure it’s clean and free from debris. Gently wipe down the entire surface using a damp cloth; this will help prevent any damage caused by dirt accumulation over time.

Attach the Backing Line (Optional)

If desired, attaching backing line can increase overall capacity and prevent slippage of thinner mainline in larger reels. Begin by tying the backing line securely around the arbor knot on the spool using an arbor knot or preferred connection method.

Thread the Mainline

Now it’s time to thread your main fishing line through the guides of your rod. Starting from the tip, insert the line into each guide until you reach the reel. Be sure not to skip any guides along the way, as doing so may result in poor casting performance.

Spooling Techniques

You have two spooling options: manually spooling by hand or using a mechanical spooler. Below are instructions for both methods:

Manual Spooling

  1. Securely hold onto your reel and apply light tension to prevent line twists.
  2. Tie an overhand knot around the mainline and attach it firmly to your reel’s spool with a double-knot.
  3. Gently rotate the reel handle while applying slight pressure on the line with your index finger for even distribution across the spool.
  4. Add more tension periodically by gently pulling on either side of your mainline after several rotations.
  5. Continue this process until you achieve sufficient line capacity, leaving about 1/8 inch space between line and spool rim for optimal performance.

Mechanical Spooler Use

  1. If utilizing a mechanical spooler, follow manufacturer instructions specific to that device since they can vary significantly among brands and models.

Cutting and Knotting

To finish off properly, create a loop at least twice as long as desired tag end length; then tie an appropriate fishing knot (e.g., improved clinch knot) ensuring both ends are secure. Trim any excess line, leaving a tag end of around 1/4 inch for easy knot inspection.

Test and Adjust

After spooling your reel, it’s essential to ensure everything is in working order before hitting the water. Engage the drag system and gently pull on the line; it should release smoothly without any hiccups or snags. If needed, adjust the tension using the reel’s drag adjustment knob until you’re satisfied with its performance.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to put a fishing line on a reel. By following this step-by-step guide, you now have all the knowledge required to confidently spool your reel with ease and enjoy many memorable fishing adventures ahead.