How to Fill a Fishing Reel Spool With Line

How to Fill a Fishing Reel Spool With Line
You did the research and put the time into selecting a rod and reel that will meet the needs of the type of fishing you will be doing. But before you head out to the lake or stream you need to put line on that new reel. Pause for a head scratch. Spooling new line on a reel is a simple process that all anglers should be capable of doing. With some basic understanding of the process and knots required, spooling line can be easily done.


Difficulty: Easy

Spinning or Bait Cast Reel

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing reel
  • Snips
  • Monofilament line
  • Fly line backing
  • Fly line
Step 1
Wrap the free, or tag end, of the line around the arbor of the reel. For spinning reels it will be necessary to open the bail first. Pull at lest 5 to 6 inches of line around the arbor to allow enough room for tying the knot.
Step 2
Form an Arbor knot to attach the line to the reel. Tie an over-hand knot with the tag end of the line so that the loop passes around the main line. Tie a second knot below the first one, this time using only the tag end.
Step 3
Moisten the knots slightly and pull the knots down securely around the arbor. Trim excess line from the knot with snips.
Step 4
Close the bail of the reel, if necessary, and apply tension to the line. Turn the handle of the reel to wind the line onto the spool. Refer to the manufacturer's directions for the amount of line to place on the reel. A rule of thumb is to fill the reel about 3/4 full.

Fly Reels

Step 1
Attach the backing to the spool of the fly reel using an Arbor knot. Refer to steps 3 and 4 from the Section 1. Pull the knot down tightly and trim any excess from the tag end of the line.
Step 2
Wind about 100 yards of backing onto the fly reel. Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for exact amounts.
Step 3
Attach the main fly line to the backing with a Albright knot. Begin forming the Albright by doubling the main line about 2 inches from the end of the line. Pass the tag end of the fly line backing through the loop.
Step 4
Wrap the tag end of the backing line around the doubled main line and the backing line making 8 to 10 turns. The turns should be made so that you are working toward the loop of the main line. Pass the end of the backing line out through the loop following the same path it took in. Pull the knot tight and trim excess with snips.
Step 5
Wind all of the fly line onto the spool. Do not cut the main line, as many fly lines may have a taper or weight forward design that may be damaged.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure to pull all knots down tightly and trim the knots as close as possible to avoid hang ups in the line guides.

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.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.