How to Spool a Spinning Reel Explained

Improper spooling of a spinning reel can cause real issues. Take a look at how to properly spool the reel.

There isn’t a fish in the southeastern United States that I have not gone after with a spinning reel. I don’t think that there is a more versatile type of reel out there, but that does not mean it is perfect. There are many things that can confuse new and seasoned anglers when using a spinning reel. One of those is how to spool the reels. It may sound simple, but actually requires a little more thought. In this article, we will discuss how to spool a spinning reel and avoid line twist. We will also discuss other issues that plague those who improperly spool. 

First Things First

Let’s talk about what actually causes line twist before diving into how to correctly spool a spinning reel. Line twist is present on fixed spool reels only. That means that baitcasters do not have to deal with line twist since the spool rotates as line is retrieved or removed. 

Line twist (pictured above) can cause knots and other issues with your line

As the line comes toward the spool, it is forced to turn sideways to rotate onto the spool. This inevitably creates line twist with each turn of the handle. If the line twist goes unchecked, it can eventually cause issues during casting. Issues such as wrapping around the rod tip or bunching up in the eyes of the rod. 

Follow the steps below to help avoid the line twist and have a more stress free trip out on the water. 

  • First, lay the spool of the fishing line on a flat surface.
  • Rotate the bail and ensure that the line coming off the spool comes off in the same direction as the bail is rotating. 
  • Open the bail and pass the line from the spool through the eyes of the rod. 
  • Tie the line to the spool with a double overhand knot. 
  • Close the bail and begin spooling the line onto the reel.
  • Use two fingers from your off hand to apply tension to the line between the spool and eyes of the rod. 

If you find that this method for spooling line is difficult or would like a more efficient way to spool line onto the reel, try a fishing line spooler. The reel attaches to the spooler, as does the new spool of fishing line. The mechanism holding the spool of line rotates and ensures there is no line twist when spooling on the line. It makes the process much easier and more foolproof. Line spoolers can be purchased for $25-$30 from sites like Amazon or Bass Pro. If you are spooling multiple reels a year, it makes more sense to buy a line spooler. They will end up paying for themselves rather quickly and will save you some time spooling [1]. 

If line twist causes your line to knot up out on the water, consider cutting it. You can spend a good amount of time trying to unravel the twisted line, but it may not be worth it. Depending on the line you are using you could deal with the issue routinely throughout the day. It would be more beneficial to cut the line and be rid of the section that continues to twist. It will save you a lot of time and headaches at the end of the day.

A spinning reel is definitely one of the more difficult reels to spool for anglers. Follow the 6 easy steps above to make sure that you are not dealing with line twist and causing avoidable issues out on the water. If you would like to learn more about the different types of fishing reels, make sure to read our article that goes in depth on the differences. 

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