How to Put the Fishing Line on a Reel

How to Put the Fishing Line on a Reel
An angler faces two challenges when trying to put new fishing line onto her reel. The first is how to attach the line to the reel's arbor---that portion of the reel that actually holds the line. The second is how to spool on the line correctly, being careful not to overfill the reel. This is important because if a fisherman puts too much line on his reel, it will uncoil each time he attempts a cast, causing an awful tangled mess.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod and reel New spool of fishing line Permanent marker Old cloth or gloves Fishing hook or swivel
  • Rod and reel
  • New spool of fishing line
  • Permanent marker
  • Old cloth or gloves
  • Fishing hook or swivel
Step 1
Remove any old line from your reel and dispose of it. Avoid leaving it around where animals may tangle up in it. Put it in a plastic bag and throw it away, or ask your local tackle shop if it recycles old fishing line.
Step 2
Open a new spool of line and put it on the ground with the label side of the spool facing up. Thread the free end of the line completely down your fishing pole through the numerous rod guides. Make sure the line passes down from the top guide and through each individual guide until you finally thread it down all the way to the reel.
Step 3
Flip open the bail arm on your spinning reel. This is necessary if you want the reel to gather line after you tie the new line to the arbor. Make doubly certain that you have the bail arm open before proceeding.
Step 4
Tie the line onto the arbor with an arbor knot. Send the line around the arbor once, take the free end and make an overhand knot in the line descending from the rod guides and into the reel. Make a second overhand knot in the free end of the line. This second knot serves as a sort of safety valve. It will prevent the line from untying on the arbor.
Step 5
Wrap the new line around the arbor by hand four or five times. Close the bail arm after you have done this.
Step 6
Look closely at your reel and find the line capacity on it. There is a set of numbers on a reel such as 4/150 or 6/120. This translates into a line capacity of the reel of 150 yards for 4-lb. test and 120 yards of 6-lb. test.
Step 7
Measure off a distance of 1 yard on the line coming into the reel. Mark the line with your marker at the yard mark. Crank the reel until that point disappears down into the arbor, counting how many turns it takes to do so. This allows you to know how many turns it takes to add 1 yard of line. Multiply this by the number of yards you want to add. This gives you an idea of how many times to turn the handle to fill the reel to its capacity.
Step 8
Hold the old cloth in your other hand, and grasp the new line coming through the rod guide closest to the reel. Begin to reel line in off the new spool lying on the ground while you keep it taut with the clothed hand. The cloth will protect you from the possibility of the line cutting you, especially braided line, which has the ability to slice through your palm or fingers if you are careless. Proceed slowly and keep careful count of each turn of the handle until you reach the desired number. With your reel full of new line, cut it past the top rod guide. Tie a hook or swivel onto it and attach it to one of the rod guides.

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.