How Do I Measure Fishing Line Length?

How Do I Measure Fishing Line Length?
You don't need to purchase an expensive line counter or fishing line measuring device to count the length of fishing line you have left on your fishing rod or on a used fishing line spool. Using a simple mathematical formula, you can measure the length of your fishing line manually. The process is easy; however, having an assistant is highly encouraged. Knowing how much fishing line you have left will help you calculate if you have the length necessary to fish the bottom of your favorite fishing spots.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape
Step 1
Un-spool the fishing line on your fishing reel. Tie the tag end of your fishing line, which will be draped from the tip of the fishing reel to a standing post. Press the drag mechanism located on the top or bottom of your fishing reel and walk backward with the fishing line in your hands. The fishing line will slowly unravel from the fishing line spool with each step. Continue until most of the fishing line is off the spool.
Step 2
Adjust the free fishing line so it lies flat and in a straight line--free of tangles--on the ground or over a table. If the fishing line accidentally comes completely off the fishing reel spool, re-thread it. Tie the tag end of the fishing line onto the fishing reel spool and then thread it through each rod guide along the fishing reel.
Step 3
Mark the fishing line located at the top of your fishing rod with a black marker at the point where the final rod guide is located. Create a dot or line around the fishing line so marker is clearly visible to the eye when there is movement along the fishing line.
Step 4
Step on the tip of the fishing line with bare feet or have an assistant maintain tension on the line as you rotate the reel's handle one full turn. Continue to retain tension on the line as you measure the distance the marker traveled up the fishing reel.
Step 5
Multiply the distance traveled by 10. For example, if one rotation puts 12 inches of fishing line on the spool, then 10 turns puts 120 inches onto the reel. Use this calculation to determine how much fishing line is on the fishing reel spool. Continue to rotate the reel's handle in 10-turn intervals, counting each rotation until all the line is on the fishing reel spool.
Step 6
Make a final calculation. For example, if you rotate the reel's handle 30 turns, and 120 inches is added with every 10 turns, then you have 3,600 inches of fishing line or 300 feet.

Tips & Warnings

You don't have to measure a new fishing line spool. The length is marked on the spool as well as on the outside of the package.
You need not take your shoes off to complete this task, but doing so will cause less friction and allow you to create tension on the line while still reeling it in.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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