How To Spool A Spinning Reel – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated April 28, 2021

You just got a new spinning reel and you’re excited to try it out.

First, you have to figure out how in the world to get it on your rod. 

Spooling a spinning reel can be daunting at first. But, once you learn how to do it, it's as easy as tying your shoes. Read our step-by-step guide and spool like an expert in no time. 

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How to Spool a Spinning Reel

There are several ways to set up your line for this process. Some anglers lay the container flat on the ground, while others stick a pencil through the hole in the middle and prop it up in a box. 

Your setup isn’t really important, as long as the line comes off easily. 

Read the steps below to learn how to properly spool.

We’ve included pictures for reference, and you can see an example video from DEBO’s fishing below the steps. 

1. Open the Bail

The first thing you want to do is flip up your bail, which will keep it out of the way while you work.

Photo Credit:

2. Feed Your Line Through the First Eyelet

Feed your line through the first eyelet on your fishing pole. Make sure it goes off the same way it comes on. If the line comes off in a counterclockwise motion, it should also go on in a counterclockwise motion.

3. Wrap Your Line Around the Spool and Tie a Knot

Wrap your line around the back of the spool and tie it in the front. Pull tight, so it’s flush. You can use many different knots, including arbor and improved clinch. 

Photo Credit: NorthernOntario.Travel

4. Cut Off the Tag

The loose end of the line that isn’t attached to the spool is called the tag. Cut this part off. 

5. Hold Your Line and Crank the Handle

Hold your line and begin cranking. This action will put the line onto the reel. Keep tension on the line, but not too much to stop the line from spooling.

Photo Credit: ValleyProud. org

6. Apply Line Conditioner

Every so often, stop applying line conditioner to the spool. This step provides a silicone base that will help reduce memory and increase cast distance. Give two to three small spritzes each time you apply. 

7. Stop Spooling Line

At the top of the spinning reel, you’ll see a part that curves down. Stop spooling when the line is an eighth of an inch from this piece. Filling more than that will cause the line to ball up when casting. 

If you fill less than that, you’ll lose casting distance. This loss occurs because the line catches on the lip of the reel. 

8. Cut the Line and Feed it Through the Rest of the Eyelets

Cut your line and then feed it through the remaining eyelets. Now you’re ready to attach a lure of your choice and hit the lake!

How to Spool a Spinning Reel With Braid

Many anglers use braided lines because they are strong while still being thin. However, this product struggles to grip the reel spool, so a backing of the monofilament line is needed. 

Having two products to spool makes the process a little different. First, attach your monofilament to the reel, spooling it halfway. Then, thread your braided line through the first eyelet. Attach the two with a knot. 

Next, apply tension and continue spooling as you would normally. When you finish, trim your braided line and thread the rest of the eyelets. 


Spooling a spinning reel is simple. 

Open the bail, feed the line through the first eyelet, wrap it around the spool and tie it, cut off the tag, start cranking your handle, apply line conditioner, stop an eighth an inch from the curve in the spool, cut the line, and put it through the remaining eyelets. 

Now that you know how to spool, you can have fun catching fish with your new spinning reel!

People Also Ask

After reading our guide, you might want to know more about your new reel. Below we answer some common questions people ask.

How To Spool a Spinning Reel Without Line Twist

No matter how you spool a spinning reel, you’ll get some line twists. This problem happens because the bail flip is in the way. However, there are some tricks you can use to help prevent it. 

Keep your line pulled tight while spooling. High-memory products like nylon want to coil like on the spool. This tension helps reduce memory. 

When you cut off your line, you may get a lot of twists. This mangling happens because of a memory of the packaging spool. To straighten the line out, take the first few yards and pull them tight. 

You can also retrain your line to the new spool. Unscrew your spool from the reel and remove the tension knob on top. Put paper towels on both ends for protection. If it does get wet, let it dry completely before putting it back on your reel. 

Next, take the spool to a sink and turn on the hot water. Put the line under the water. Make sure the stream hits the front end. Spin the reel under the water for about a minute. Now your line is retrained.

Should You Wet the Braid Before Spooling?

Tightly spooling your braid is vital. Some people find that wetting the line makes spooling easier, and they may even soak it for 24 hours before putting it on. But, not every angler finds this step necessary. Ultimately, whether you should wet your braid is a decision you have to make for yourself.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Reel Spooled?

How much spooling your reel costs depends on how much you want to spend on materials. The overall cost can be anywhere from $18 to more than $800. But, the good news is, you can get a fantastic setup that works well on the cheaper end. 

How Full To Fill Spinning Reel Spool?

The spinning reel has a part at the top that curves down. You should fill the spool up to an eighth of an inch from this spot. Over-filling will cause your line to ball up when casting, while under-filling will make you lose casting distance. 

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.