How to Put Line on a Reel: 10 Steps

April 9, 2021


Many people have questions about how to put line on a reel, but don't know where to find the answers. Luckily for you, we've created this blog post that includes 8 steps to help you learn how! We go over things like: How much line should be on your reel?, What are some tools required? and so forth. People often struggle to do it effortlessly on their own. Or don't understand why their line isn't staying or lying on their reels spool correctly once finished. 

Here's a great video above from "Fishing tutorials" that I would recommend watching which shows you how to do it correctly!! If you prefer a step by step guide then I also have that option for you in this article as-well just keep reading!


This section will give you a read through step by step guide of how to attach your line to your reel:

  1. 1
    Attach your reel to you rod, this way its much easier to wind your line onto your reel with control.
  2. 2
    Place your spool of line inside a bucket of water. The water helps reduce friction and helps make the line sit on the reel better. This is especially important with braided line otherwise the line will spring off once wound on. The bucket also helps keep the spool of line in one place, stopping it from rolling away which is an annoyance for many people.
  3. 3
    Run the line off the spool that you've put in the bucket of water through the first guide on your fishing rod towards your reel.
  4. 4
    Flick the bail on your reel to its open position. This is an important part.
  5. 5
    Tie your line to the spool of your fishing reel! Your best off using a simple knot such as an overhand knot! Use saliva and pull the knot tight! 
  6. 6
    Once you have attached the line to your reels spool you can now close you reels bail over the line. If your bail doesn't close over your line, it wont pick your line up when you begin reeling. 
  7. 7
    Start winding your reel slowly and the line should now start to get wound onto your reel. Whilst doing this make sure you point your rod roughly towards where the line is coming from to help line lay onto your spool. And it will make things generally easier!
  8. 8
    Place the butt of the rod into your stomach or groin area and move your hand that's holding the rod as far up the rod as you can. Using the hand that's holding the rod, grasp the line that's been fed onto the reel at  the same time. Now you can apply tension to the line as its been reeled to better the lay of the line.
  9. 9
    Keep winding until you fill the spool up with line. There should be a line marking on the inside of your spool indicating where the max fill is! If there isn't then leave a gap of about 5 mm from the edge of the spool. You don't want to be greedy and try to overfill your spool. Otherwise it will simply uncoil all the time just as your about to cast and its damned annoying!
  10. 10
    Once you have filled your spool up to maximum capacity take a pair of scissors and cut the line. Now take the end of the line coming off your reels spool and attach it to the reel to stop it from unraveling. Your reel should have a clip or slot on it designed for this purpose, it will be located on the spool. If it doesn't have one simply grab yourself an elastic band and place it over your line on the spool. This will do just as good a job if not even better as some line clips can be fiddly to use.  


This is a hot tip if you're fishing from a boat. Once you have attached your line to your reel using the above method, you can make sure the line lay is even better. You can do this by: Simply adding the heaviest weight your rod will take and then letting your line out on the boat. Let as much of your line out as you can and then reel it back in. Your line will now be under much better tension and will reel back onto your reels spool much better!


How to put line on a reel

The size of line or strength will depend on what you are fishing for and where. I live in the UK and find that a line with a 20 lb braking strain is plenty strong enough for most fishing but light enough too! Obviously there are instances where lighter tackle is best suited. For example, shark fishing - Here you'll need at least 50 lb line depending on what species you are targeting.

Or the other end of the spectrum where trout fishing will require much lesser line. I often fish with 8 lb line when I am trout fishing and sometimes even less. And sometimes I will use heavier line especially if I know there are sea trout and salmon in the river too. In this instance I will you 12 lb mono. 


How to put line on a reel

When it comes to fishing lines you have three main types. These are mono, braid and fluorocarbon. All of which have their benefits and uses. One thing I would recommend is not using braid under 10 lb because it becomes even more difficult to use here. Braid is thinner than mono and harder to tie tie knots with, especially for beginners. I would only recommend using braid over 10 lbs braking strain. 

Braided fishing lines are more sensitive. Mono is durable and easy to use for beginners who don't want as much hassle with knots or tangles in their rods from using braids. There are many pros and cons to using both types and I already have an article that goes into depth explaining these HERE.

Instead if you would like a recommended link to go to purchasing braid, mono or fluorocarbon line then here you go:


How to put line on a reel

Make sure you do complete all of the steps above because it will increase your chances of having no problems when casting or fishing in general. It's especially important when fishing with braid as braid does end up in knots much easier than mono (especially light braid). There's nothing worse than trying to untangle your fishing line on a fishing trip or find out that you have no spare line. This leads me onto my next word of advice: Take a spare spool because you will get tangled up at some point unfortunately. Especially if you're a beginner, it just happens. 


For peace of mind I recommend changing the line on your reel at the start of every season. Even if you think your line is in good condition it may not be. You may have left it exposed in the sun light which could have damaged it when it looks okay. And even if you've stripped back the tip of your line where most ware will occur you still may have damage on your line deeper down the spool. In my opinion you're just better off replacing your line for the sake of the cost it takes to do so. This way your fish of a lifetime wont snap off when you least expect it. If you haven't used your fishing line much throughout the season and you think its in good nick. Then I'll leave it up to you!


When you dispose of your fishing line, be careful where you do so and don't do it on the beach. It can be extremely hazardous to wildlife. The best way to dispose of it is in your general recycling. If its heavy line that you're disposing of, then perhaps you can use it for tying rigs. For catching smaller species of fish where it will have ample power still to pull the fish in. 


If you're getting into fishing we have several articles here that will help you out on selecting various bits of equipment to get you going. Most of our top recommendations have been tried and tested by us in the field and are only recommended by us if we personally really like them. Spinning rods, beach casting rods, reels, tackle you name it have been reviewed. Here is a link if you would like to read more on these relevant subjects.... CLICK HERE



Jake's Outdoors is a blog for all of your hunting, fishing and general outdoor needs. Jake's Outdoors has created this space to help beginner level enthusiasts find their way into the world of outdoors and will provide advice on how to get started. We'll cover topics like what gear you need, where to go hunting or fishing in your area, how to cook fish/game animals you've caught as well as other general outdoor tips.

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