How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel? Beginner`s Guide!

How to put new line on a fishing reel

No matter if you are a complete beginner, or if you already have some fishing experience, the time will come when you will have to put new line on fishing reels.

Fishing lines can break, twist, or get tangled if they are not set up properly.

The process of putting a new line on the reel takes no more than 10 minutes, if you know what you are doing. Of course, it depends on a reel type and the steps you must take depend on that.

Of course, even if your line is in good shape, keep in mind that lines have “expiration dates” and after some time, even if unused, they lose their properties.

Torturing yourself with old and used lines is not an option and here I will explain in steps how to set it up.

So, get your reel and new line and follow up!



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What Types of Fishing Reels are There?

There are four main fishing reel types, and those are spinning, baitcasting, spincast, and fly fishing.

Here I will focus on all but fly fishing ...

• Spincast - This type of reel is completely closed. All the parts are inside under the cover and line goes trough a small opening. It is suitable for complete beginners and first-timers, and also for children. The main problem is accuracy and distance. It is easily operated by pressing a button on the back while casting and then relising the same button.

Baitcasting - The hardest one to use, and not recommended for complete beginners. When casting the spool is turning. If not controlled properly the line will tangle. They are excellent for heavy lines and lures. It is very precise.

• Spinning - this one is widely used, popular among beginners. It is the easy to set up and to use. Line capacity is high and that means you can put a very long lines on it. Only problem is using heavier lines. In that case this reel does not perform the best. You can get spare spools and easily change them on the spot. They have an open face, unlike previously mentioned spincast.

Related: You can also read my article where I made a comparison between baitcasting and spinning reels. And here you can check my reviews of some spinning reels: Piscifun Carbon X or Pflueger President.

Setting the drag - You can use a mechanism to set up the drag that will be felt by fish while pulling the line. That is important because if the drag is too high line can be damaged or break.

Now when we know which types of reels are common, we can discuss how to put a new line on a fishing reel. You can also check here, what are the main parts of a spinning reel.

How to Put / Spool Fishing Line on a Spinning, Baitcasting or Any Other Fishing Reel?

Firstly, choose a line that suits your needs. We have different types of lines, and they act differently when in use.

• Monofilament - flexible and good for floats/bobber use, and they go well with live bait.

• Fluorocarbon - less visible, ideal for calm water, not flexible. Goes well with the same bait as the previous.

• Braided - visible and sinks very slowly, ideal for topwater baits. Line consists of several thinner lines braided together. It is not stretchy and won't break easily. Greater casting distances can be acomplished. This fishing line is often used for fishing techniques like jigging, trolling and other.

• Copolymer – This line type is similar to mono ad fluoro but has some differences. It is thinner than mono, it is sinking, and visibility is quite low. It is less stretchy and has less memory, so it is a good replacement for mono when visibility is not the most important feature. Here you can read my detailed article about copolymer fishing line.

After you decided which line to use you can try to set it up on a fishing reel.

How to Put NEW Line on a Spinning Reel?

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Collage

  • STEP #1: Take the reel, hold it as you do when fishing and turn the wheel few times to see the direction reel turning. It will show you the way line should be spooled. If you spool it wrong it will strip off while casting. Spinning reels, unlike spincasting and baitcasting should be mounted on the bottom side and "hang" of the fishing rod.

  • STEP #2: Open the bail. It is done by overturning the small handle up to open and down to close. If there are old line leftovers you should remove them.

  • STEP #3: String the line trough the guides(circles down the rod) and secure the line to the spool. Be careful to leave enough line length after the knot.

  • STEP #4: Close the bail.Put the spool on the straight surface, like a table. Label should be on the upper side. Line has to come off the spool in the same way the spool will go into the reel. Turning the spool in the right way will prevent tangling.

  • STEP #5: Hold the line and carefully crank the reel. Hold it approximately 30 centimeters above and pull it. Crank the reel and let the line go trough your hand. Look for twists and tangles. If there are any remove a part of the line from spool and align it again. Make sure to put some pressure while loading it to prevent tangling that can occur if the line is loose.

  • STEP #6: Crank the reel to load the line. Check for twists and tangles regularly. This is the most tiresome part because if the twists are present you should do it again. Also, make sure you are not doing this too fast.

  • STEP #7: Fill the spool 0.3 centimeters from the rim. Spool with too much or too little line will be prone to tangles. Here you can read my full article about how much line to put on the spinning reel.

  • STEP #8: Cut the line. You can tape the free end and prevent unwrapping to make it easier for yourself.

  • STEP #9: Secure the line. Tie a lure or use a rubber band to keep it in place.

  • STEP #10: You are done! Start fishing with your new line.

How to Put NEW Line on a Baitcaster Reel?

This one is in a way similar to the spinning reel, but easier.

  • STEP #1: Thread the line through the bottom eyelet on your rod.

  • STEP #2: Thread the line through the line guide on the reel.

  • STEP #3: Thread the line through the holes in the spool arbor to get the line around the spool.

  • STEP #4: Secure with arbor knot and cut off the excess from knot tying.

  • STEP #5: Keep the line and the rod straight before cranking the reel.

  • STEP #6: Tighten the drag a little bit and keep the line tight before cranking the reel.

  • STEP #7: As you begin cranking keep a firm pressure to keep the line tight to make sure it lays evenly without loose sections.

  • STEP #8: Keep spooling until the top line layer is around 1/16 inch from the spool edge. Do not overfill your spool!

  • STEP #9: And - That's it!

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Baitcasting

How to Put NEW Line on a Close faced/Spincast Reel?

  • STEP #1: Remove the face of the reel.

  • STEP #2: Remove the leftover line.

  • STEP #3: Pull the line trough the line guides at the tip of the rod toward the reel. Line guides are ring-like circles.

  • STEP #4: Pull the line trough the opening on the cap of the reel. This step has to be done now because later on you won't be able to. Don't fix the cap yet.

  • STEP #5: Wrap the line on the spool in the direction the reel is turning.

  • STEP #6: Tie the end. Be careful as it can unwrap easily.

  • STEP #7: Hold the line and tighten it same as in spinning reels step 5.

  • STEP #8: Crank the handle and follow previously mentioned steps in spinning reels.

  • STEP #9: Put the cover back on.

  • STEP #10: Cut the line off.

Fly fishing - there is a different process to put a line on a fly-fishing reel but it will not be mentioned here because that is another topic.

Spooling done wrong will cause tangles and twists. Monofilament lines are prone to this problem. Also, twisting and tangling is a bigger problem for spinning and spincast than baitcast.

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Spincast

FAQs about Adding NEW Line on a Fishing Reel

In case that you have more questions about spooling a line, here are the answers!

How Much Fishing Line (Is Enough) Do You Put on a Fishing Reel?

As already mentioned too much or too little will cause the line to tangle and twist.

When putting a new line on a fishing reel make sure you leave 0.3 centimeters space between the rim and the line on the spool. That is the universal rule.

Every reel will have instructions how much line it can handle. It depends on the line too. Most lines are sold in 150 yards (ca. 137 m) to 300 yards (ca. 274 m) spools. A lot of manufactures of reels recommend 200 yards (ca. 183 m).

Too much line can cause wind knots and tangled lines. If you follow given advice and manufacturer instructions you can't go wrong.

How Long Does Fishing Line Last?

How long can the fishing line last depends on how often you use it, how you store it and how much stress it takes.

Usually monofilaments can last from 2 to 3 years. Fluorocarbon can last from 7 to 10 years and a braid can last up to 10 years. Those numbers are in ideal cases which are not common.

It is recommended to change your lines once or twice per year for an average user. Lines are sensitive to sunlight, especially monofilaments. They also have a shelf-life and that is about 2-3 years.

Fluorocarbon is not sensitive to sunlight. An average user should change it 1-2 times per year. Shelf-life is up to 7 years.

Braided lines are the same as fluorocarbon, except the shelf-life which is a bit longer.

When lines are not in use they sit in the same position for years and the material deforms. Whenever you see any deformations or you experience some problems you should put new line on fishing reel.

Storage of your equipment is also important. Keeping it away from light and heat will prolong its life.

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Old Line

How to Clean and Prepare Your Reel for New Line?

Cleaning and preparing the reel is important to avoid line abrasion from impurities and particles that may be present. Even if you are not performing thorough reel maintenance that includes disassembling and oiling, you should still clean it from the outside and make sure that the spool is clean and dry.

This is especially important if the reel was used in saltwater. The better you prepare and protect your reel and new line, the longer it will last.

Use damp cloth to remove any dirt, and let it air dry before spooling.

How Do You Attach the Line Onto the Fishing Reel?

Attaching the fishing line to the reel secures the line and holds it in place. No matter which reel type is it, I would advise you to use arbor knot to do the job.

There are numerous instructions and videos available online that will guide you through the process. Picture is worth a thousand words.

Basically, the arbor knot is two overhand knots together. Pull the line to tighten the loop around the spool and start spooling!

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Arbor Knot

How Do I Check for Knots and Tangles?

Checking the line for knots and tangles is an important part. If you spool it wrongly, you will encounter big problems while fishing.

Make sure to keep the line tight when spooling. Look at the line while you do it. If you notice any irregularities, stop, pull that part out and untangle it. The line has to be evenly distributed around the spool.

If you see that line distribution is not even, you will have to do it again.

Should You Remove the Excess Line?

Removing the excess line is important both before and after spooling. Firstly, when you tie an arbor knot, you should use line cutters to remove the extra line used to tie the knot.

And then, you start spooling. As already mentioned before, overfilling the spool is not recommended. When you reach the desired amount of line on the spool, you should cut away the rest.

How Do You Know That Everything is Set Up Properly?

Testing the reel and line setup is quite easy. Firstly, you do the visual inspection and see if the line is distributed evenly across the spool. There should be no uneven line lay, visible knots, lumps, or twists.

You can also test the line by pulling it out manually while you set up a light drag and check how it spools off and if there are any loops or tangles that are showing up, or the line goes off smoothly. 

If you followed the steps written above while you were spooling, everything should be OK!

How Do You Put a Backing on a Fishing Reel? Should You?

Backing is used when anglers spool braided lines onto fishing reels that are not braid ready. If you are using braid ready reel, you do not have to use any backing.

Otherwise, I would definitely recommend using it. Braided line may free-spin around the spool under the weight and tension of a hooked fish. For this reason, you add mono line onto the spool first, before going with braid.

Firstly, choose the correct mono line diameter. It should be as similar as possible to diameter of braided line to prevent the braid digging into mono.

The process itself is easy. Spool a mono line as described before directly onto the spool, just enough to fill the bottom of the spool.

When you are done, connect your braided line to mono using either arbor or double uni knot, and continue spooling the reel!

If you are using extremely thin lines, go for smaller knots, to avoid braided line catching on it if a lot of line is peeled of the reel while fishing.

How to Put NEW Line on a Fishing Reel - Backing


Putting new lines on fishing reels can seem complicated, but when you try it a few times you will see that it doesn’t take much to do it!

It is a skill useful to every angler, and by following steps described in this article, you will do it perfectly!

No matter the reel type, this has to be done regularly to ensure maximum performance of your fishing gear and to avoid using old and damaged lines.

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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