Spinning reels, despite what some anglers might say about them, are the most popular reels in the country. All you need to see to tell you that are the lines of rods and reels in any sports store, most of which are spinning reels. If it’s your first time using one, knowing how to spool a spinning reel is as essential as everything else.
If you can’t spool a spinning reel, you can’t get the most out of it. You also have to worry about the line getting twisted up if you don’t spool it right. That can be pretty disastrous if you’re fighting a fish with a big ball of monofilament out in front of you.
If you have to let a fish run, you want that line to unspool as smooth as butter while she swims. You want it to be the same way as you pull and reel to force her back in. Fortunately, it’s a pretty simple process.
How to Spool a Spinning Reel
What you’ll need
If you’re new to spinning reels, the odds are you’re a beginner angler. One of the most important things you need to check before you get started is that your line test conforms to what your spinning reel can handle. You can’t buy either a spinning reel or the line without seeing its test capabilities.
- You need your spinning reel and your rod
- Some decent, thick gloves
- Spool of line
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
When you buy your spinning reel, the test weight and the length of line you can put on the reel are listed on the box and sometimes on the reel itself. If you’re still not sure, Google the brand of your spinning reel and try to get an answer that way.
How to Spool your Reel
It doesn’t matter what kind of line you are putting on there, so long as you stick with the specs for the spinning reel and purchase the right line to match those specs. Simply take it one step at a time, and if you have a buddy with you, they can certainly make the process simpler.
Step 1: Feed your line through the guides/eyes and match the spin
Matching the spin means that if the line is coming off the line spool in a counterclockwise direction, it needs to go on your reel counterclockwise. Before you start reeling in the line, however, you need to run the line through the guide at the tip of the reel.
Run the line through each eye until it reaches the reel.
Step 2: Secure the line on the spool
Once you run the line through your guides, you need to secure it to the spool before you reel it in. Flip the bail open first. The bail is the half-circle wire handle encircling half of the reel. When you flip it “open,” that means it’s perpendicular to the horizontal plane of the reel, directly in front.
The best way to secure the line to the spool is to wrap it around once and then tie an arbor knot. Once the knot is secured, wrap the line around the spool several times to secure it as well as possible.
It’s a fairly simple knot, and it holds well as you start to reel in the line. Use your handy dandy scissors to cut any excess line when you’re finished tying the knot. Flip the bail back in place, and you’re ready to spool your spinning reel.
Step 3: Spool your Reel
This is the part where you might want to have a buddy with you. If you have a friend, they can put on the leather gloves instead of you and hold the line (out in front of the rod) as you reel it in. You want the line tight on your spinning reel.
However, you don’t want it to be insanely tight, and you don’t want it loose with some of the spool showing separation from the rest as you reel it in. You just need a solid hold on the line so there is some resistance as you reel it in.
When you’re doing this alone, you can create resistance on your own. Prop the rod grip below the reel between your knees. Reach your non-working hand as far up the rod as you can and pinch the line between your gloved hand and the rod.
It’s awkward at first, but you want to create an even level of resistance as you reel the line off the spool and onto the reel. You can set the spool wherever but if you have a good steel or aluminum rod that is thin enough to run through the spool’s center hole, stick it in the ground and place the spool on it.
Be sure to stop filling the reel spool when it is ⅛” from the rim. You should never fill it all the way to avoid slippage on the rim of the spool.
Tips to Prevent Line Twists and Loops
Be sure to use monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided line only. Also, make sure that the test weight of the lines falls within the spec parameters of your reel. If you are using a braided line to spool your reel, do the first half with monofilament, tie the braided line on with an “Albright Knot” and finish spooling the braided line.
Be sure to maintain the same level of resistance on the line, as you spool your reel, from beginning to end. Always be sure to spool the reel in the same direction as it is coming off the spool—counterclockwise to counterclockwise or clockwise to clockwise.
It’s not too difficult to spool a line. It’s just a little awkward if you’re doing it on your own, and it’s time-consuming. Getting it done the right way is important, however. The wrong way could turn into a disaster out on the water.
Make sure you buy enough line on the spool to fill your reel all the way to ⅛” below the rim. Nothing is more aggravating than spending an awkward amount of time putting line on your reel just to realize you’ll end the spool long before you fill the reel where it needs to be.
Do it the right way, and you’re all set for whatever kind of fishing your line is meant for.
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