How to Set Up a Reel for Saltwater Fishing

How to Set Up a Reel for Saltwater Fishing
Saltwater fishing is enjoyed by many people from beaches, piers and offshore boats in deep waters. The equipment used when angling for saltwater game fish species is typically more heavy duty than that used with freshwater fish species. Setting up a reel for saltwater fishing will commonly involve heavier lines, leaders and terminal tackle. Some lines may require special consideration or installation due to the inherent qualities that make them a good choice for saltwater fishing applications.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Saltwater fishing reel
  • Monofilament fishing line
  • Braid fishing line
  • Sharp scissors
Step 1
Open the bail of a saltwater spinning reel or locate the line guide on the front of a saltwater casting reel. Choose a monofilament fishing line for the purpose of backing that is similar in diameter to the braid line you will be using. Braid lines typically have a small diameter in relation to pound test strength in comparison to monofilament lines. A 20-pound test braid can be the same diameter as 8-pound test monofilament.
Step 2
Thread the monofilament line through the line guide of a saltwater baitcasting reel or open the bail of a saltwater spinning reel. Wrap 6 or 7 inches of the monofilament line around the spool of the reel. Attach the line to the spool with an arbor knot. Form the arbor by tying an overhand knot with the free, or tag, end of the line with the loop passing around the main line. Tie a second overhand knot with only the tag end below the first knot. Pull the knots down tightly.
Step 3
Close the bail of the saltwater spinning reel, if necessary, and wind 20 to 30 feet of monofilament onto the spool. Connect the end of the monofilament line to the braid main line with a uni to uni knot or double uni knot. Form the knot by overlapping the monofilament and braid line for 6 to 8 inches.
Step 4
Continue tying the knot by holding the crossed lines firmly in place where they cross in the middle. Turn the free end of the monofilament back toward the middle forming a loop below the double line. Wrap the free end of the monofilament around the double line and through the loop three to four times. Pull the knot tight. Repeat the process with the free end of the braid line. Pull the knots down tightly against each other and trim the excess from both ends to within 1/8 inch with sharp scissors.
Step 5
Hold the braid line several inches in front of the reel. Apply slight tension to the line to help it spool smoothly and evenly and begin turning the handle of the reel slowly. Continue spooling line onto the reel until the spool is filled to within 1/2 inch of the spool edge.

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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