How to Remove a Fishing Line

How to Remove a Fishing Line
Removing old fishing line is viewed as a necessary evil by many fishermen. When line is removed from a reel, it typically ends up on the floor and gets tangled in everyone and everything. Changing line is necessary as conditions change and due to normal use. It is possible, however, to use a few common items around the home to make a line changer that will greatly ease the pain of removing old fishing line.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cordless drill
  • 4- to 5-inch standard pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Fishing reel
  • Snips
Step 1
Insert the pencil into the cordless drill and tighten the chuck. It is typically best, and safest, to insert the lead end into the chuck and allow the eraser end to be exposed.
Step 2
Secure the free, or tag, end of the old fishing line to the pencil with a small piece of masking tape. Wrap the line around the middle of the pencil one time and tape in place.
Step 3
Open the bail or release the spool depending on the type of reel. Spinning reels will need to have the bale wire opened back until it locks in place. Press the line release at the rear of spincasting and baitcasting reels. This is necessary to allow the line to freely unwind.
Step 4
Maintain a slight amount of tension on the line between the drill and fishing reel. Press the trigger on the drill to slowly begin unwinding the line from the reel and onto the pencil. Attempt to keep the line toward the center of the pencil during the process.
Step 5
Shut off the drill when the line is completely unwound from the reel. Use snips, if necessary, to cut the line from around the spool arbor. Loosen the chuck of the drill and remove the pencil and line.

Tips & Warnings

The pencil and line may be discarded as a whole.
If recycling the fishing line, simply pull the line from the pencil and place in a line collection container. Make sure to remove the tape from the line before recycling.
Use caution when working with fishing lines as it is possible to receive a cut or abrasion.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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