How to Set Up Gear for a Saltwater Fishing Pole

How to Set Up Gear for a Saltwater Fishing Pole
Saltwater fishing gear is typically designed to be more heavy duty than most freshwater fishing gear. Weights in the 2- to 4-ounce range, heavier lines, larger lures and baits, and often extreme elements are all considerations that go into manufacturing saltwater gear. However, rigging saltwater gear, such as a fishing pole, is not so different than a freshwater rod. Consideration should be given to fishing lines of larger diameters and tying methods.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Saltwater fishing pole and matched reel
  • Fishing line (monofilament, braid)
  • Scissors
Step 1
Attach monofilament fishing line to the spool of your saltwater fishing pole with an arbor knot. The size of the monofilament line will depend on the type of fishing, fish species and personal preference. In most situations 20-pound test will provide sufficient strength.

If using braided fishing line, you will first wind on 20 to 30 yards of monofilament and then attach the braid line. The monofilament acts as a backing to help with spooling and also helps prevent the braid line from digging into the spool.
Step 2
Form the arbor knot for attaching the monofilament to the spool by feeding several inches of line around the spool of the reel. Tie a simple overhand knot with the free end of the line so that the loop of the knot goes around the main line. Tie another overhand knot below the first one and this time use only the free end. Moisten both knots with water or saliva and pull down tightly against the spool. Trim excess line from the free end of the knot with scissors.
Step 3
Attach braid line, if you are using it, to the monofilament backing with an Albright knot. Tie the Albright by forming a loop in the braid line 4 inches from the free end. Hold the free end beside the main line. This will create a loop with a short length of double line. Insert the free end of the monofilament line that is attached to the spool through the braid loop and down past the double line. Hold the double braid line and monofilament line securely and begin wrapping the monofilament around all three lines. Make six to eight turns working toward the loop then feed the monofilament back through the braid loop the same way it originally passed through. Moisten, pull tight and trim excess line with scissors.
Step 4
Fill the spool so that there is between 1/2 and 3/4 inch of space remaining between the top of the line on the spool and the spool edge. Pull the line through the line guides and out past the rod tip. The leader rig you will attach to the end of the main fishing line will depend on the fish species, type of fishing and personal preference. A barrel swivel is often the starting point for attaching many leader rigs.
Step 5
Attach a barrel swivel with snap to the end of the main fishing line with a uni knot. The uni knot is suitable for both monofilament and braid fishing lines. Form the uni knot by passing several inches of line through the eye of the swivel. Pull the free end up beside the main line forming a double line. Hold the double line and turn the free end down toward the swivel creating a loop to the side. Wrap the free end around the double line and through the loop three to four times. Moisten the knot and pull tight. Trim excess line from the free end with scissors.

Tips & Warnings

Many tied leader rigs are available for purchase from sporting goods, tackle shops and big box stores. Many rigs feature a loop that can easily be attached to the snap you tied on to the end of the main line.
Attach weights and hooks to the loops or snaps tied to the leader rig you purchase.
A length of monofilament leader material is often necessary when fishing with larger weights. The rule of thumb is 10 pounds of test strength for every ounce of weight used. This leader is especially important for braid lines as they have no elasticity or give and the monofilament will act as a shock leader. Attach the monofilament shock leader to the braid line with an Albright knot.

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.