How to Put Fishing Line on a Reel

By Richard | Fishing Advice

how to put fishing line on a reel
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Choosing a fishing line for your reel is difficult, but putting the line on a reel is definitely harder. If you don’t have any idea how to put the line on a reel properly or you did it wrong, you will surely deal with a lot of line twists and other problems once you start fishing. This is one of the biggest nightmares of anglers since it would take so much of your time just to deal with a line twist.

If you don’t know what to do, you can learn how to do it yourself or ask someone else do to it for you. That said, you should learn it yourself so that you won’t have to ask for help every time you need to put the fishing line on the reel.

Thus, let’s talk about the simple steps on how you can put the fishing line on a reel and simple tips on how to remove and prevent line twists.

How to Put Fishing Line on a Reel

Before you can start fishing, you have to put the line on the reel first. This is a bit complicated and you have to make sure that you can put the line properly as it would cause a wide range of problems for you when you start fishing.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to put fishing line on a reel.

Step #1: Choose the Fishing Line Wisely

Before everything else, you should buy a correct fishing line. You need to be very meticulous when it comes to the fishing line as you cannot simply buy the first item that you see. You have to consider a few factors like the type of fish that you want to catch, your skill level, and the area where you plan to fish.

Step #2: Prepare All the Materials

The most important thing to do before you put the fishing line on the reel is to prepare everything that you need. You would spend a lot of time trying to find all of the things you need if you won’t prepare them before you start putting the line on the reel.

You need to prepare the spinning reel, fishing line, fishing pole and you have to prepare scissors just in case you made a mistake while putting the line on the reel.

For Spinning and Baitcasting Reels

Step #3: Open the Bail

For spinning reels, the wire arm hanging from the reel is the bail. Lift it up to open it and pull it down to close the bail. If you are using a baitcaster, you can skip this step and proceed to step four.

Step #4: Place the Spool on the Floor

Before you start putting the line on the reel, make sure that you put the spool on the floor and the label is facing up. You have to make sure that the line will be loaded to the spinning reel or baitcasting reel the same way that it comes off from the spool.

Step #5: Place the Fishing Line in the Line Guides

You can see the line guides on the fishing rod. These are the small holes hanging from the underside of the fishing rod.

While the spool is on the floor, take the fishing line and start at the end of the rod. Push the line through the holes until you reach the reel. If you are using a baitcaster rod, you have to find a small hole on the reel and you have to run the line with the use of this guide.

Step #6: Tie the Line on the Arbor

The best way to tie the line on the reel is to use an arbor knot. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. You should put the line around the arbor.
  2. On the standing line, you have to tie an overhand knot.
  3. You have to tie another overhand knot at the end of the fishing line.
  4. Hold the tag for both sides of the knots and pull it tightly.

You can do this for both spinning and baitcasting reels.

Step #7: Close the Bail

Once you are done tying an arbor knot, the next step is to close the bail. By doing this, the line will be locked in place. If you did not tie the knot properly, you have to lift the bail again and redo the knot.

Step #8: Crank the Handle of the Rod

You have to crank the handle of the rod to figure out the direction of the bail. You can go back to step number four before you place the spool on the ground.

Based on step number four, you have to check the rotation of the bail. If it is rotating clockwise, you have to stand at the left side of the spool to make sure that the line will go to the line in a clockwise manner.

If you are using a baitcaster rod, you have to put a pencil in the middle of the spool and ask someone to hold it for you. It is also better to get a reel spooler to make this process easier.

Step #9: Apply Light Pressure on the Line

You have to apply light pressure on the line while you are turning the handle. Make sure that you do this for at least 15 to 20 turns. If you will not do this, the line will go loose and it will tangle later on.

Step #10: Check for Line Twists

After about 15 to 20 turns, stop for a while and check for line twists. How do you do this? You should let the line go slack. If you noticed that the line is starting to twist, flip the spool and try again.

Step #11: Don’t Overfill the Spool

You should only fill the spool until there is about 1/8 inch left from the rim.

For Spincast Reels

Step #3: Remove the Top Part of the Reel

You won’t be able to spool the line without removing the face of the reel. Twist the cover counterclockwise until you can pull off the reel.

Step #4: Insert the Line Starting from the Tip of the Rod

There are line guides that you can follow and make sure you start at the top of the rod until you reach the reel.

Step #5: Put the Line into the Reel’s Cap

The next step is to pick the cap and put the line through the hole located at the top. You have to do this now or you won’t be able to put the cap back onto the reel. Make sure that you don’t put the rest of the cap into the reel just yet.

Step #6: Put the Line Around the Spool

If you are going to put the line around the spool, make sure that it is in the same direction where the reel actually turns. You have to do this again if you made a mistake. Wrap the line around for at least two times so that you’ll have enough fishing line.

Step #7: Tie It Into a Knot

The same with spinning and baitcasting reels, you can also use an arbor knot to tie this. You can also use a slip knot or clinch knot.

Step #8: Put a Small Amount of Pressure on the Line

With the use of your free hand, put a small amount of pressure on the line by pinching it lightly. This will keep the fishing line tense so that it won’t tangle while you are rotating the reel.

Step #9: Crank the Line

Start cranking the line until the reel is almost full. Make sure that you leave at least 1/8 inches from the rim.

Step #10: Put the Cover Back

Once you are done with everything, you can now put the cover back to the reel. This is the reason why you should not put the cover back completely in the beginning.

how to put fishing line on a reel

How to Remove a Line Twist in Different Situations

Line twists are common even for professional anglers. This kind of problem is not really a big deal for professionals, but beginners might have a hard time removing it, especially when they are already fishing. Here are some of the few tips on how you can remove line twists in different situations.

1. You Are on a Boat

If you are on a boat and your fishing line is already in the water, the first thing to do is to remove all the terminal tackles from the line. After that, start releasing more line into the water until about 100 feet.

Start dragging the line behind your boat. Make sure you do this slowly and after a few minutes; the twists should already be gone. After this, retrieve the line slowly and reel it back to the fishing rod. Put a little tension on the line while you spool it back to make sure that there won’t be any line twists.

2. In Moving Water

If your fishing line is on the river or other moving water, take the terminal tackle from the line and feed the line into the river. You should not spool the line too much. You just have to feed out the line a few feet past the part that is twisted.

After doing this, let the current drag out the line for a few minutes. This will help remove the line twists. Reel it in while putting a bit of tension on the line by pressing it using your forefinger and thumb.

3. On Land

If you are on land and your fishing line is not yet cast into the water, look for a grassy area. Release your line into the grass and let it get tangled or abraded.

Start walking the line out of the reel. Once you are done, go back to your rod and retrieve the line slowly. Pinch the line lightly by using your thumb and forefinger to make sure that there won’t be any line twists while reeling it back to the rod.

How to Prevent a Line Twist

Prevention is better than cure so instead of dealing with the line twists on the line while fishing, you can prevent it from happening. You have to remember that you won’t be able to prevent line twists 100% and there is always a chance that it would happen in the middle of fishing. We will just provide some of the simple preventive measures so it won’t happen every time.

1. Let Your Line Relax on the Reel

If you are planning to start fishing on the weekend, make sure that you spool the line to your reel a few days before your target date. If you are fishing on Saturday, you can spool the line to your reel on Monday or Tuesday.

You have to remember that the line comes from a four-inch diameter spool and you are transferring it to a one-inch diameter reel. You have to let it relax for a few days.

2. Always Check Your Line

Even if you are not experiencing any line twist while fishing, it is better to check your line regularly. Instead of waiting for the twist to happen, pinch the line and pull it back the reel. This will create slack in the line and this will help you determine if there are twists in the line.

3. Use a Good Quality Fishing Line

Line twists usually happen to cheap fishing lines. This is a fact so if you don’t want to deal with this while you are fishing, you should use a high-quality fishing line. You will have to spend more on it, but it would provide more convenience to you. Besides, cheap lines would break easily so they are not really a good choice no matter what type of fish you are planning to catch.

Final Thoughts

You should know how to put fishing line on a reel properly as it can prevent a wide range of problems when you are fishing, especially line twists. If you don’t have any idea how to do this properly, line twists would definitely make your fishing a nightmare.

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