Nearby Store: Find a Store

Posted 22th March 2023

How to Put Line on a Fishing Reel

How to Put Line on a Fishing Reel
How to Put Line on a Fishing Reel

By Robert Thornton 

Taking a new reel out of the pack or becoming the new custodian of someone’s old reel is an exciting time. Thinking about the captures to come always gets the blood pumping, and there’s a sense of satisfaction when you add another tool to the inventory on your angling journey.

There’s a little bit more to a new reel than just sticking it on the nearest rod and going fishing, but with a little bit of forethought and care, this phase shouldn’t rob you of too much time or resources. Let’s look at how to spool a fishing reel. 

Feeling Reel

You’re holding your new baby back at home for the first time, but before we get into how to put line on a fishing reel, we need to make sure everything is where it should be. For second-hand reels, a bit of visible wear and tear is normal, however it’s important that a reel, whether new or second hand, should feel smooth when winding.

Listen out for any grinding or whirring, as this may indicate damaged bearings or gears.

Second is to test the basic functions of the reel, which may include the bail arm on spin reels, the thumb bar on baitcasters, as well as making sure the drag and any cast-control features are adjustable (you won’t be able to properly test these latter two until the reel is spooled up with line). Any damage to the line roller (on one side of the bail arm) may also affect your line, so be sure to check this area as well.

Spooling Up

Putting line on your new fishing reel is where the most care needs to be taken, as spooling up carelessly can greatly affect its functionality. Before you do though, it’s important to think about and decide what sort of line you want to put on it.

Braided or Gel-spun Mainline

Braided or gel-spun lines, more commonly referred to as just ‘braid’, are very common and popular line types for those casting lures. Braided lines are usually made up of several or more fibres woven or ‘braided’ together to create a thin, rope-like line. Braid is much thinner than other lines for its poundage, and because of this it is easier to make longer casts. The trade-off is that braid tends to be less abrasion-resistant, especially when under tension.

Spooling up with braid can be as simple as tying your braid around the spool with an arbour knot (or other simple, small knot), running it through the line roller, and winding it on. Some reels also have line attachments on the spool itself to save the need for a knot.

Winding line onto a reel is easier to do with the reel on the rod, and the line running through at least a couple of the rod guides.       

Remember to wind the braid on under tension so the braid wraps tightly around the spool. Tension can be applied by the person winding the line on with their non-winding hand, or by a second person holding the spool of line. Don’t wind on too much, otherwise it will risk springing off in messy loops or backlash when you cast with it ; try instead to fill it so it sits below the lip of the spool, whether it’s a baitcast or spin reel.

If you want your braid to sit more comfortably and last longer, you can put ‘backing’ on your spool first. Backing creates a little cushioning for your braid, and most experienced anglers tend to prefer the use of backing. Backing is usually a monofilament line of a lighter poundage than the braid (poundage isn’t super important), and a reel only needs enough to cover the spool; around 20-30m or so.

Once again, attach the backing to the spool with a simple knot and wind it on under tension. Once you’ve wound enough on, any trusted braid-to-mono knot will be fine to tie your braid on with. After this, you can wind your braid on tightly as well.

Daiwa has a range of high-quality and affordable braided lines, with Daiwa’s J-Braid 4 Yellow and Multi-Colour good choices for baitcaster reels, and J-Braid 8 Grand Island Blue and Multi-Colour ideal for light spinning reels.

Monofilament or Fluorocarbon

There are many reasons anglers may choose to run monofilament lines on a reel. Monofilament, or mono, has more stretch than braid, and this provides shock absorbance, which is popular when bait fishing with small hooks. Mono also has better abrasion resistance, making heavy mono preferable over braid when game fishing.

Quite often when spooling up a reel with mono, there is no need for backing. Therefore, simply attaching the mono to the spool with an arbour knot or something similar and winding on the amount you need under tension is enough. Some people will soak their mono in warm water before spooling onto their reel, as this can help the line to bed down properly and not spring off. However, spooling it up under decent tension and not over filling the reel should be enough to prevent any springiness. J-Thread Nylon from Daiwa is a high-quality Nylon monofilament, is designed as a mainline mono, and is excellent for bait fishers.

Some anglers, namely those fishing finesse techniques with lures, often have a few reels spooled up with straight fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible in the water and doesn’t cast a shadow like many monofilaments and braids do. 

Spooling a reel up with light fluoro can be done the same way as with mono, and once again some anglers like to soak their line before winding it onto the reel. A little trick used in bream circles, however, is to use braid as backing line. Having quite a lot of braided backing and only about 50m of fluoro helps to stop the fluoro springing off, and allows it to sit comfortably. Once again, make sure the braid and the fluoro is wound onto the reel under tension.

Daiwa’s J-Thread Finesse FC is the perfect fluorocarbon for anyone wanting to set up a straight through fluoro reel. It comes 100m spools, allowing enough line to spool up two small spinning reels.

Check out these other Posts

See All
See All