how to spool a spinning reel

How To Spool A Spinning Reel: A Beginner’s First Steps

Learning how to spool a spinning reel is likely the first thing you’ll need to learn about fishing. Besides a little push-button children’s rod, a spinning rod is more often than not the first thing any angler will use to catch a fish.

How To Spool A Spinning Reel


Your line is the only thing connecting you, your rod, and the fish. So, it’s VERY important. The first thing to take notice of is the way your bail turns, and the way the line comes off the spool. As Ben Milliken notes in the video above, you’ll need to make sure they’re turning in the same direction to spool a spinning reel properly.

The next thing to note before you get started is to make sure your bail is flipped open BEFORE you tie the knot to the empty spool. If you forget, you pretty much just have to start back over. Once you’ve noted these things, you can get started spooling your spinning reel!

To start, thread your line through the bottom guide with the bail OPEN. Start from the top and thread through the hole towards the reel. Then, tie your knot to secure your line to the spool. I like to tie an overhand knot (the most basic knot, just like tying your shoes), but you can also use a uni knot if you know how. Fishing knots can be overly complicated, so if you’re a beginner, just keep things simple!

Once you’ve secured your line to the spool, you can close the bail and begin adding line to your spool! To make sure your line enters the spool properly, try to have a friend help you. Most line comes in a wheel shaped package, with a hole in the middle. Have a friend keep slight tension in the line, and hold a pen or screwdriver through the hole. This will allow you to crank line on much faster.

You should spool a good amount of line on, but leave enough space where you can still see a tiny bit of the spool. If you overload your spool you will end up with knots, twists, backlash, and other casting difficulties.

We can explain this ’til the cows come home, but you’ll definitely benefit more from watching our how to spool a spinning reel video above, featuring Ben Milliken. Watch, follow along, and go catch some fish!