How to Put Line on a Spinning Reel?

new line on spinning reel

One of the most versatile fishing reels you can get is definitely a spinning reel, and these types of reel are generally the easiest to use.

There’s just one problem –  having a poorly spooled spinning reel with twists and tangles will send you home empty-handed. But, having a properly spooled spinning reel will give you the best chances of catching a big catch in the water. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from choosing the best line and how to correctly spool it.

Choosing the Right Line

Different line types

Monofilament Line

A monofilament line is a single-strand line that can have a bit of stretch. The stretch adds to the flexibility of the line, which will help the hook stay secured in the fish’s mouth.

Monofilament lines are perfect if you’re fishing with floating baits. They’re also useful if you’re using live-bait or a jig. 

Braided Line

Braided lines consist of several lengths of braided synthetic material which creates one line, which is great for longer casting distances.

As the line is braided, it provides better strength and won’t stretch. Braided lines are great if you’re bottom fishing.

Also, as the line sinks slowly, it’s great when using top-water baits. It’s worth noting that braided lines are visible, and float well, so be selective when you’re using it. 

Fluorocarbon Line

Fluorocarbon lines work very well because they are harder for fish to see underwater. They’re pretty similar to monofilament lines, but they have less stretch and are better for holding up against abrasion.

They’re pretty useful for fishing in calm, shallow waters, and are great for fishing with jigs and live bait. 

Line Selection Tips

It’s worth noting that if you’re spooling a medium-sized spinning reel, then you should use a braided line. But, if you are using a braided line, you should lay a bit of monofilament line on the spool first as backing.

This will prevent the braided line from slipping on the spool. Once you have the backing in place, you should be able to attach the braided line to the mono line using a Uni knot. From there you can put the line on as normal. 

How to Spool a Spinning Reel?

fishing reel with tied knot

The following section is a step-by-step guide on how to put a line on a spinning reel. At first, you might want another person around to help, but after a while you’ll be able to do this alone.

The following steps are based on spooling a spinning reel by yourself. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Spool of fishing line 
  • Scissors or line cutters 
  • Lure, clip, swivel, or rubber band to secure the end of the line

Step 1

First step is reel setup on rod

The first step is to attach the reel to the rod as it’s much easier to install the fishing line if the reel is already attached. 

Step 2

Next, you’re going to want to run the line through the first guide. To do this, take the end of the line off the spool it came and run the line towards the reel through the first guide. The first guide is the large one which is closest to the reel seat. 

Step 3

The third step is to open the bail, which is a step that people often forget to do. It’s important to open the bail before you attach the line to the spool. 

Step 4

tied knot on reel

After opening the bail, it’s time to attach the line to the reel spool. This is a pretty straightforward step, so start by wrapping the line two times around the reel spool before securing it with an overhand knot. Then, trim the tag end close. 

If the reason why you’re restringing your reel is because the line that was on there has worn out, you may want to leave some of the old line on the reel as backing.

If you choose to do this, you can connect the old line and new line by using a Uni knot. This is a great tip for saving you some money when you reline your reel as you won’t need as much of the new line to fill the spool. 

Step 5

Next, flip the bail closed and start slowly turning the handle to start winding the line onto the reel. As you begin to crank, the rotating bail will begin to lay the line onto the reel spool in even wraps.

After a couple of cranks, stop as it’s time to move onto the next step – making sure the line spool is facing the right direction. 

Step 6

This is the most critical step; watching the spool orientation. 

There are three different ways in which the line spool could be orientated. Only one of these ways is right, as the other two will cause the line to twist. 

It’s important to remember that you do not run the line straight off the spool like you would if you were spooling a baitcaster. You need to make sure it’s coming off with the face of the spool pointed toward you. 

When it comes to explaining how to put a line on a reel, people will often say the line should come off either clockwise or counterclockwise, but this can get a little confusing. So, what you’ll want to do is stand up, whilst holding the rod parallel to the floor.

Next, place the line pool on the ground in front of you, making sure the label is either facing you or facing the floor. 

With your hand between the reel and the first guide, put a little tension on the line and start cranking the reel. After ten cranks, you need to watch the line right near the spool on the floor and lower the rod so that you give the line some slack. 

At this point, you should be able to see one of two things. Either the loose line will lay on the floor in relaxed hoops, or, you will have loops that are twisted over themselves into coils.

You need to have relaxed coils, if you can’t see that simply flip the spool over and repeat the test. 

Once you have cranked the reel around 10 times, and see relaxed coils on the floor, you’ve got it. There is no need to unspool the line to correct any twists. 

Step 7

Finished spooling

Once you’re at this stage, all you need to do is crank the reel until the spool is full of line. 

Stand up and face the spool on the floor. Hold the rod parallel and add a little tension to the line by grabbing between the reel and first guide – just like before. Start by slowly cranking and begin to speed up once the line comes with 1/ 8 and 3/ 16 of an inch (0.125 inches) from the lip of the spool. 

Once the spool is full, you can clip the line and thread it through the rest of the rod guides. Finish off by tying on the lure. 


Properly putting a fishing line on a spinning reel is a pretty easy process that takes some practice to get right. You can also use this method to put fishing line on spincast reels.

As the instructions above apply to spinning reels – which are open-face reels – they’re pretty much the same steps you’ll need when attaching line to closed face reels, the only difference is that you’ll need to run the line through the hole in the reel face. 

We hope that these tips and instructions will help you respool your line whenever you need too. So, you should be prepared if you need to replace some worn out reel – but remember to keep some of your previous line as backing for a new line.

Using backing with a smaller amount of fresh line on top will help keep a reel filled to capacity with fresh line. With spinning reels, this will really help to maximize casting distance.


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