Best Way to Put New Line on a Fishing Reel

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Knowing how to spool up your reel with new line properly is one of the most important skills that you need when getting into fishing. If you do not know how to spool up new line, then your fishing will suffer, and you will be heavily restricted in the sport. There are a few techniques you need to know that are essential to getting a well-bedded spool of line that casts and lays well. In this article, we will be going over all the do’s and don’ts and going over the best way to put new line on the four main types of fishing reels.

Preparing to Spool up Your Fishing Reel

You should plan out when you are going to spool up your fishing reel and have your new line ready a day or two before you spool. Ideally, you will soak your new spool of monofilament line in a bucket of water overnight so that it beds down tight on the spool of your reel. Soaking your mono will help it stretch better and you will get a tighter wind on your reel. If you really don’t have time to soak your new spool of line overnight, then 2 or 3 hours is better than nothing. Braided line will also benefit a good soaking before you spool it up, however, you will only need to soak your new braid for an hour or two before spooling as it is absorbent.

When you are spooling up monofilament it is a good idea to leave the new line in a bucket of lukewarm water while you wind it on to your spool. This will aid the bedding in further and ensure you get the tightest and most efficient spool of line on your reel. As well as soaking your lines prior it is also wise to clean up the spool of your reel and the rings on your rod that the line will be fed through. Doing this will also ensure you get the best results from your reel and line.

If you plan on spooling up your reel with braided line, then it is a wise idea to back your spool with a light layer of monofilament line. This will help you massively in the spooling up process as well as preventing line slip when you are playing a fish at a longer distance. When braid is spooled straight onto the spool of your reel it tends to slip against the carbon or metal which makes spooling up difficult and can cause slip during a fight.

Make sure you have a large enough area to spool up your reel and ensure that it is clean and tidy. You can spool up new line either indoors or outdoors but avoid doing it in the wind or muddy areas. This should be common sense but making sure you have enough room in a clean and tidy area will make your life much easier.

If you are spooling up a bait-caster reel it is a good idea to get yourself a spooling station if you plan on spooling up the reel on your own. If you don’t want to buy a spooling station for your bait-caster then make a plan with a friend or family member so they can assist you by holding the new spool of line while you wind it onto the reel.

Spooling up an Open-Face Fishing Reel

  1. First, soak your monofilament line for 3 hours or more (the longer it soaks, the better). If you are spooling up with braided line, an hour or two in water will be fine. This will make it much easier to spool on to your reel and will help it bed down tighter.
  2. Ideally, if your line in monofilament, place your new spool of line on its face in a bucket of shallow lukewarm water while you wind it onto your reel. If you are spooling up with braided line, place your presoaked braid spool on a clean flat surface on its face.
  3. Attach your reel to a rod and open up the bail-arm.
  4. Take the end of the new line from the bucket and run it through the line rings on your rod, tie it to the spool on your reel with a simple overhand knot. If you are spooling up braid, attach a layer of monofilament as backing and then tie on the braid using a uni-knot or similar.
  5. Once your line is secure on the reels’ spool, flick over the bail-arm and grip the line against the rod to build tension.
  6. While the line is under tension start turning the handle of the reel to wind the line onto the spool.
  7. Once you have filled the spool up to the point where there is 1/16 of an inch of space between the line and the edge of the spool, cut off the line and clip it up on your spool.

Spooling up a Bait-Caster Spinning Reel

  1. Soak Monofilament line for 3 hours or more and braided line for an hour or two. This allows the line to bed down better on the spool (the same as spooling up on open-face reels).
  2. Next, you want to set up your spooling station or line spooler ready with your new spool of soaked monofilament or braided line on it. If you haven’t got a line spooler then get a friend to hold the new spool of line with a pencil or pen through the hole. Make sure they are holding it horizontally – the same way as the spool on the bait-caster.
  3. Run the end of the line through the line rings on your rod, through the line guide on the reel, and then tie it to the reels’ spool with a simple overhand knot. If you are spooling braided line, then spool up a layer of mono as backing and tie the braid onto the mono using a uni-knot or similar.
  4. Once you are all tied up and ready, hold some tension on the line and start winding your line onto the spool of your bait-caster reel.
  5. Once you have filled the spool up to the point where there is 1/16 of an inch of space left between the line and the edge of the spool, cut off the line and clip the line up to the reel.

Spooling up a Centerpin Fishing Reel

Centerpin fishing reels used for light ledgering and float fishing require a bit more skill and time to re-spool. They also require a backing line of around 100 yards before any monofilament is spooled on to the reel. The centerpin fishing reel is free spooling so it doesn’t have any line guides to layer the line evenly across the width of its spool, this means you have to act as the guide and direct the line onto the reel.

Spooling up your centerpin wrong will make it useless for its fishing purpose, therefore it is essential to get this right. It is also important to note that during your fishing you should reel your line in under tension every two or three casts to re-bed your line otherwise the line on your reel will become loose and overlapped.

  1. First off, soak a backing line of your choosing and a monofilament mainline of your choosing in water for 3 or more hours. This will aid the bedding in and help the line form around the reel better. You would not normally spool a centerpin with braid as it is not suitable for the style of fishing you would use a centerpin for.
  2. Next, you want to set up a spooling station or line spooler that is fit for your centerpin reel. If you don’t have one of these then you can place a pen or pencil through the hole in your new spool of line and ask a friend to assist you.
  3. You will need to start with the presoaked backing line. Either set your new spool of line in your spooler or ask a friend to hold it. You then want to take the end of the line, run it through the line rings on your rod and attach the line to the bottom of your reel with a standard overhand knot. It is important that the line runs from the bottom of the spool for the reel to function properly when fishing.
  4. You want to pinch the line in your fingers close to the spool to keep a good tension and slowly reel the line from the spool onto your centerpin. You will need to move the line side to side with it pinched in between your fingers as you slowly wind up the line to ensure that it gets spread evenly over the reel.
  5. Once you have wound 100 yards of backing onto your reel cut the line and clip the line up so it doesn’t lose tension.
  6. Now take your monofilament mainline and feed it through the line rings on your rod. Attach the Mono mainline to your backing line using a double uni-knot or Albright knot.
  7. Repeat the same process as you did with the backing but with your monofilament mainline, making sure it beds down tightly and evenly across the width of the reel.
  8. Ensure that you do not spool too much monofilament line on your centerpin and certainly do not fill it all the way up. You should spool up not more than 2 – 300 yards of mainline to ensure there is more weight on the outside of the reel. This weight will help keep a good rotation during free-lining and float fishing.
  9. Once you have spooled up your centerpin, cut off the line and band the spool up to keep the tension. Make sure to bed your line in regularly while your fishing to avoid line piling, loose line, or a tangled mess.

Spooling up a Fly-Fishing Reel

Spooling up your fly-fishing reel is remarkably similar to spooling up a centerpin reel as they are basically identical fishing reels. The main difference between the two is the size and type of line you will be filling the reel with. Similar to the centerpin setup, you will need a backing line, but you will also need a fly-fishing mainline of your choice and a leader. Spooling up a fly-fishing reel is not as difficult as it seems and if anything, it is easier to do than filling a centerpin with monofilament mainline.

  1. If your fly reel has a clutch, tighten the drag adjustment so there is no give during the process of re-spooling. There is no need to soak any line beforehand, but you should place a pre-bend in your backing line to make life easier.
  2. First, you need to attach your backing line. Run the line through the line rings on your rod and feed the end of the backing line around the bottom of the reel and secure it with an arbour knot.
  3. Now wind your fly-reel until you have sufficient backing on your reel (the amount will depend on the reel’s size). Make sure to keep tension by pinching the line and ensure you move the line across the width of the reel, so it lays evenly.
  4. Now it is time to attach your fly line to your backing. To do this you should use an Albright knot (practice this knot and make sure it is perfect).
  5. Once you have attached your fly line to the backing you should wind up the reel in the same way as you did with the backing line. Make sure you keep tension and lay the line across the width evenly.
  6. Now you should attach your chosen leader to your fly line. The best knot for this is the nail knot. Again, you should study and practice this knot well as the strength of the line set up will rely on it.
  7. Reel your leader up with less tension so you do not cause too much curving in the line, this will give you better presentation when it is time to wet a line and go fishing.

Bedding in Your Line

It is important to bed in your line properly before heading out fishing. Making sure you soak your line will help greatly but to further ensure you are bedded in well and get good line lay when you head out to the river or lake, you should bed it in further. You can help bed the line in on your open-face and bait-caster reels by attaching a lead to your line and heading out to a field or large empty expanse of water to do some casting. Make plenty of casts with your reel and reel in the line with good tension.

Doing this will make sure you get out any twists that have occurred during the spooling process while stretching out monofilament to make it a bit more supple. It is best to do this before you head out fishing to make sure that your first casts are perfect, and your line lay is the best it can be. You do not want to be making several casts to bed in your line on the water you plan on fishing the same day, this will not give you the best chances of a bite.

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