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Posted 24th March 2023

How to Set up a Fishing Rod

How to Set up a Fishing Rod
How to Set up a Fishing Rod

By Robert Thornton

Setting up and rod and reel combo isn’t too complicated at all, but it’s not a good idea to throw together any old rod and reel.

Matching a reel to a rod isn’t an exact science, although knowing what a well-balanced setup feels will help you understand how to rig a fishing rod to suit your own needs.

With light spin setups, you should be able to put one finger somewhere along the foregrip of the rod and balance the combo on it. Additionally, it should feel comfortable to hold, with neither the reel or the rod feeling like it’s over balancing the setup.

Baitcast setups don’t require the same attention to balance, and offer a little more leeway when pairing. Just like with a spin set up, however, the rod and reel shouldn’t feel like one is weighing the other down.

Which Line to Use

Equally important for both kind of reels is the poundage of line you spool it up with. Pretty much all rods have a line rating written somewhere on the blank (usually just above the foregrip). This is the recommended line for the rod when paired with an appropriate reel.

With most light spin or baitcast rods, running mainline within or just above the line rating is fine. For example, a light 2-5kg spin rod like the TD Zero 732LS will balance well with a 2000-2500 sized reel and 4-10lb braid. You could also go up to 12lb mainline without issue, however it’s not recommended to go any higher than this, or you may risk breaking the rod and the outfit won’t cast as well as it otherwise could. 

At the very end of your mainline is the trace or leader. Setups with mono or braided mainline will almost always have a trace. Those running fluoro straight through tend not to use a trace at all.

Lure anglers using braid will tend to opt for fluorocarbon of a similar poundage to their mainline, usually around a rod length long. This trace does a few things. Firstly, it provides a little bit of shock absorbance, secondly, it hides the line from the fish, and thirdly, offers better abrasion resistance than the braid. You could tie your lure straight to the braid, however because of the reasons above you may get less bites and/or land less fish. 

Anglers using monofilament mainlines also use traces, usually in a poundage suitable for their target species. If they’re targeting toothy fish like sharks, mackerel, tailor and so on, they will sometimes use a short length of wire as their trace to prevent their rig being bitten off.

Traces and leaders can be attached with a few different knots, including the double uni knot, FG knot, PR knot, slim beauty and more.

It’s recommended that you change your leader before each trip, as the knots can weaken over time with use, and leaders themselves can become damaged while fighting fish around structure.

All set!

Now that you’ve got all the info to set up a rod and reel, the only thing left to do is start putting together an outfit to suit your own angling! If you follow these simple steps your new outfit should work more efficiently, last longer, and ultimately, catch you more fish!



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