How To Put Line On a Fishing Reel

How To Put Line On a Fishing Reel

In order to avoid the dreaded line twist or worse, your line tangling and turning into something that resembles a bird’s nest, knowing how to put the line on a fishing reel will help to avoid nearly all line-related issues that can happen while fishing. While many people choose to have their reel filled at the shop when they buy their line, knowing how to do this yourself can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

To put a line on your reel, you’ll open up the reel, tie the line tightly to the spool arbor, hold the line to remove any twist, and make 15-20 turns on the handle. Check your line for twist. If there’s no twist, you can continue filling your reel. If there is, you’ll have to correct the direction of the line.

Line Replacement

Fishing is a great way to have fun, relax, and to feed your family. One thing that can change the mood on the boat and cause frustration is twisted lines and tangles. If you run into this issue, you can save the day and fix the problem by reloading the line on the reel. The prospect of replacing the line may seem intimidating but the process is fairly straightforward.

Choosing Your Line

Before you can replace the line on your reel, you need to decide which is right for the style of fishing you’ll be doing. There are a few different types of lines you can choose from. Each one has a couple of situations that they are ideal for.

Monofilament Line

When using floating baits, the monofilament line is a great way to go. The line is nice and stretchy. A flexible line is great for helping the hook stay in the fish’s mouth. This type of line can also be used for live bait and jigs.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

This is the best choice for fishing in calm, clear waters. Fluorocarbon is very similar to monolines but it is even harder for the fish to see, which is why it is ideal for crystal clear water. It does have some stretch to it, but it is a bit more rigid than monolines. Fluorocarbon is more reactive to bottom contact and light bites.

Braided Line

If you are planning on using top-water baits, the braided line would be ideal. This type of line is made of several lengths of synthetic material that have been braided together to form one strand. Braided line is great for long-distance casting, fishing closer to the surface of the water, and for people that want a line that won’t stretch. The line sinks slowly, floats well, and is visible so be sure to take those factors into account when deciding on the right line for your style of fishing. When putting braided line onto your reel, be sure to use more tension than you would with the nylon monofilament line, as you will be handling heavier fish.

Reel Direction

Before you attempt to add line to your reel, it’s very important that you figure out which way it turns. If you put the line in the wrong way, you’ll have to start over. Hold your rod as you would if you were fishing and crank the handle a few times to see whether your reel turns clockwise or counterclockwise.

Putting Your Line on The Reel

There are three types of reels that you’ll come across: A spinning reel, a spin casting reel, and a baitcasting reel. The only thing that differs in how to put the line on each style is how you initially attach the line. Whether you’re out on the water or at home getting your reel ready, follow these steps to replace the line on your reel.

Attaching The Line

  • For a spinning reel, you open the bail and firmly tie the line to the spool arbor. Be sure to trim off the tag. Close the bail.
  • If you’re using a spin-casting reel, simply remove the hood and run the line through the hood hole. Next, you’ll tie the line onto the arbor and trim the tag. Replace the hood.
  • Finally, the baitcasting reel has a line-winding guide that makes putting line on the reel simple. Use the guide and firmly tie the line around the arbor. Trim the excess line on the tag.

Filling the Reel

Now that you have attached your line, it’s time to start filling the reel.

  1. Place spool of line on a flat surface. This can be the floor, a counter, or table. As you pull up, the line will either spiral or balloon off of the spool.
  2. Be sure your line is firmly tied to the reel and going through the rod guides along the length of the rod. Hold your fishing rod so that the tip is 3 to 4 feet higher than the supply.
  3. Turn the handle of the reel 15-20 times. Be sure to keep hold of the line with your thumb and forefinger so there is enough tension to keep the line wrapped tightly enough.
  4. Check your line to ensure there is no twisting.
  5. You will reduce the tension by lowering the tip so that it is only a foot away from the spool.
  6. Does the line coil or twist? If it does you should turn your supply spool around so that it’s upside down. Pay attention to which direction you’re rotating the spool. Going the wrong way will make the issue worse.


When it comes to learning how to put line on a fishing reel, there are some things that you should keep in mind so you have the most success. Whether you’re planning on using monofilament line, fluorocarbon fishing line, or braided line, replacing the line on your reel is a piece of cake. Next time you’re on a fishing trip and the line twists or tangles, you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than cut the fishing trip short due to frustration. From a spinning reel to a spin casting reel, to a baitcasting reel, putting a new line on your fishing reel is a simple process, no matter what kind of line and reel you’re using.