Reeling it In: A Practical Guide on How to Wind a Fishing Reel for Optimal Success

How to Wind a Fishing Reel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Anglers

The Basics of Winding a Fishing Reel

Winding a fishing reel is an essential skill every angler should master. Properly winding your reel ensures smooth casting and retrieval, minimizing line tangles and maximizing your chances of hooking that elusive fish. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to wind a fishing reel like a pro.

Gather Your Supplies

Before getting started, gather all the necessary supplies:

  • A fishing rod with an attached reel.
  • Fishing line suitable for your targeted species.
  • A secure surface or rod holder.
  • A pair of scissors or cutting tool.

Understanding Different Types of Reels

There are various types of fishing reels available, including spinning reels, baitcasting reels, and spincasting reels. Each type has its own unique mechanism for winding and requires specific techniques. Ensure you are familiar with your particular reel’s specifications before proceeding.

Step-by-Step Process to Wind a Fishing Reel:

1. Attach the Line to the Reel

Start by threading the end of your desired fishing line through the guides on your fishing rod until it reaches the tip section where you attach it securely to the correct part (spool) on your chosen reel.


  • If using monofilament or fluorocarbon lines, tie an arbor knot around the spool.
  • If using braided lines, create an arbor knot first and then wrap electrical tape around the spool before attaching it. This helps prevent the line from slipping.

2. Fill the Reel Spool

Hold your fishing rod securely or place it in a rod holder to keep it stable during this process. Begin turning the reel handle, winding the line onto the spool evenly and tightly as you go.


  • Apply slight tension on the line with your free hand while cranking to ensure proper tension and avoid loose spots on the spool.
  • Avoid overfilling the spool; leave about 1/8 inch of space below its rim for optimal performance.

3. Maintain Consistent Tension

Throughout the winding process, maintain consistent tension by using your free hand or a cloth lightly pressed against the line when necessary. This prevents tangling and ensures even distribution across the spool.


  • If you encounter twists or loops in your line while winding, stop reeling and address these issues before continuing.
  • If required, use moderate pressure with your thumb to guide and manage larger lines during filling without causing any damage or tangles.

4. Cut Excess Line

Once you have filled up your reel’s spool to an appropriate level, use scissors or a cutting tool to trim off any excess fishing line protruding from beneath its rim.


  • Make clean cuts at an angle for smooth casting later on.
  • Avoid trimming too close as this may cause slippage when fighting larger fish species that exert substantial pressure on drag systems.

By following these steps diligently, you will wind your fishing reel with precision, setting yourself up for a successful fishing experience. So go out there, cast your line confidently, and enjoy the thrill of reeling in those memorable catches!