Don't Overload Your Spinning Reel: How Much Line to Put on It?

How Much Line to Put on Spinning Reel

One of the most important information you should consider is how much line can fit on your reel according to the manufacturer.

Some may think that the more you put the better because let’s face it, having a lot of line length has many benefits.

But how much line to put on the spinning reel without compromising performance? Too much causes knots and too little increases drag while casting. You need to create the perfect gap between the spool edge and the top line layer. The general recommendation would be a 1/8-inch gap, however, that is not always the best.

For a beginner, creating this gap and following the manufacturer’s instructions works excellently. A bit more experienced anglers can really feel the difference and they add more or less depending on a technique.

Is casting distance your main priority? Or do you really want to avoid knots? Maybe you need as much length as possible?

If you are in search of answers, check out the chapters below.



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Why is the Amount of Fishing Line You Put on a Reel Important?

Amount of fishing line has a direct influence on fishing performance.

As I will explain in the chapter below, different fishing techniques require different amount of line. Sometimes, focus is on the casting distance. In some other instances, the main priorities may be completely different and your fishing gear, together with line quantity, will differ.

Not having enough line can prevent you from landing a big one. Having too much can cause knots and line tangles that can damage your rod guides.

How Much Line Should You Put on a Spinning Reel? [Depending on the Technique]

Now you know what the consequences are of overfilling your fishing reel. But how much line to put on spinning reel exactly is another question.

Spool lips are designed differently, and their shape can vary so many beginners have a hard time seeing the perfect place where the line should lay when spooled perfectly. What is important is the outer layer of the line stays under the lip and doesn’t go out.

Some general guidelines are to leave 1/8-inch gap between the edge and the line. Reducing the gap to 1/16 will increase your casting distance but it will still be large enough not to cause serous knots.

Reel size also plays a role here. If you are fishing with small reels, you could get away with 1/4-inch gap.

Will your focus be on the casting distance or reducing the possibility of wind knots depends on a preferred technique. So, to catch your next trophy fish, consider the perfect line amount!

When Bottom Fishing

There is a rule that says a line length for bottom fishing should be 4 times greater than the deepest point where you plan to present your bait.

So, if you are fishing 20 ft deep, you need at least 80 ft of line. If your reel can take more, there is nothing wrong with that. Lines can get damage or tangled so having some extra length that you can cut off provides certain benefits.

Problem may arise if your spinning reel spool has very small capacity and you are fishing in great depths. This is something to be considered before buying a reel.

How Much Line to Put on Spinning Reel - Bottom Fishing

When Trolling

Shore fishing is one thing, but trolling is quite opposite. This technique does not require casting distance, but it requires some thorough planning when it comes to line length.

Filling up an entire spool may seem logical here, but it is wrong.

Trolling speed, weight of the lure and rig, depth in which you are presenting it, and line diameter play a role. You can’t spool hundreds of yards and hope that if you let a few more yards out, the lure will sink deeper.

That kind of fishing require some minimum of 150 yards. Anything less than that is a risk that you will not have enough when you hook a fish.

When Inshore Fishing

Inshore fishing requires less line than trolling. Having around 100 yards is an optimal length for majority of anglers.

Water depth you will encounter is rarely deeper than 100 ft, so 100 yards is plentiful. Average inshore reel should be able to accommodate that length without any compromises to casting abilities.

When Offshore Fishing

Offshore fishing is a lot different than other techniques mentioned here. Huge fish, open water, great depths, and large lures require heavy equipment. Offshore reels can usually accommodate a lot of line length despite the fact that the lines used are heavy and have larger diameter.

Offshore anglers frequently go over 800 yards, even 1000 yards, for some serious fishing conditions.

Fish like tuna can require huge lengths of line before you even start reeling them in. Although anglers rarely use the whole line length, in some cases of offshore fishing, this can really happen.

Spinning reels that are suitable for offshore fishing can usually accommodate up to 500 yards. This is enough for anything but offshore trolling.

Spooling 500 yards means that you will probably fill the reel to its maximum certified capacity. This is ideal for drop fishing in deep waters.

All of the recommended lengths here are related to necessary amount of line for successful fishing, however, these numbers do not represent your reel capacity.

If you have a reel that can’t accommodate at least the similar amount, maybe it is time to change it to a more suitable model for a desired technique.

How Much Line to Put on Spinning Reel - Offshore

The Do's and Don'ts of Loading Line on a Reel

How much line to put on spinning reel can cause many problems. Some were briefly mentioned before, but here are a few more details.

Too Much Line

Overfilling your fishing reel with line can lead to knots and loops that are difficult to untangle. Overfilled spools will release many line layers at once so the end result will be a mess that will take a lot of time to untangle.

Besides knots, you may face the line getting stuck around the reel or even rod guides.

Significantly overfilled spools can’t hold the line even at rest, and the loops may start coming off.

If the line doesn’t break itself, you will have to cut this mess off.

Under-fill the Spool

Spooling too little line will significantly increase the drag. Line will flow over the edge of the spool under the sharper angle and cause friction. This friction results in poor casting performance.

Besides distance, underfilling the spool affects accuracy.

Catching a larger fish may turn into a nightmare because you won’t have enough length for the whole process.

If you are unsure how much line is enough, it is better to put a bit less than a bit more. This small difference won’t have too much influence on an average angler.

How Much Line to Put on Spinning Reel - Over Under

Pressure is Important

In addition to the length, pressure under which you are spooling the line is equally important. It has to be spooled firmly but evenly. Try to keep up the even pressure throughout the spooling process. A bit more tension is better than loose line.

Some mistakenly think that higher pressure causes cuts, especially with braids, but that is not the case. Pressure ensures equal line lay in all layers.

Not enough pressure will cause line cutting when you hook a fish. Under this load loose layers will tighten and dig into the layers below.

Types of Fishing Line

As you already know, various line types have different properties. Braided lines require different approach than monofilament lines. Every manufacturer states the difference between how many yards of mono can you spool and how many yards of braided line. The reason is their diameter any how much space the line occupies.

This may sound simple, but its not always like that. Same strength and type line can have slightly different diameter, depending on a manufacturer.

Braided fishing line can also dig into the spool, and this is why some fishing reels are marked as “braid ready”. This means that you can spool it with braided line only. Otherwise, you will have to use mono backing and then add braid.

What will the ratio be between the two depends on the angler. Some have up to 80% braid, while others go below 40. Besides, mono is much cheaper that braid.

How Much Line to Put on Spinning Reel - Types


Deciding how much line to put on spinning reel depends on your preferred fishing technique and priorities you have.

For great casting distance you need more line, but be careful, overfilling the spool causes a wind knot mess. Declared spool capacity should never be exceeded!

The goal is to find that sweet spot between easy casting and avoiding knots. As a beginner, don’t be afraid to test various options and learn on your mistakes!

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. 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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