Putting Line On A Spinning Reel: 6 Easy Steps For Everyone

The spinning reel is the most popular and versatile fishing rod for professional and beginner anglers alike. However, most people find it challenging to get their fishing reels back together. The article shows you how to put a line on a spinning reel and avoid that problem.

Read on; it takes no more than 10 minutes if you follow our steps!


Things To Prepare Before Putting Line On A Spinning Reel

Gather all the necessary tools and materials:

  • Lines: Select line with suitable capacity (The line capacity is somewhere on your spool. If you can’t find it there, look for the instructions for use on the box or the company’s website).
  • Line cutters or a pair of scissors: To cut excess lines.
  • Silicone spray and a clean cloth (not required): Some anglers spray silicone on the cloth to hold the line when whining to avoid burning hands.
  • Electrical tape (not required): Some anglers use it to attach the line to the reel. But you can knot instead.

Once you have everything in place, you’re ready to put a line on a fishing reel.

How To Put Line On A Spinning Reel (Step-By-Step Instructions)

This section guides you step-by-step on how to place a line on the reel, which you can do alone and without anyone’s assistance.

Step 1: Attach The Line To The Fishing Rod

The 5 following steps will be a lot easier if the line is already on the rod. 

So first, you attach the reel to the fishing rod:

  • Don’t assemble all the parts. Just have one line for the guidewire.
  • Take the line out of the spool and run the line towards the reel through the first guide (the large one mounted closest to the reel seat)

Step 2: Open The Bail

We have to write it as a separate step because many anglers forget to open the bail.

  • If you forget to open the bail, you’ll have to come back here after carefully attaching the line to the spool.
  • So, open your bail before doing anything else. Then, flip the bail’s small handle upside down to open it.

Step 3: Attach The Line To The Reel Spool

If this is the first time you put the line on your spinning reel, there are many ways you can tie the line. The easiest one is to use an arbor knot:

  • Wrap the line around the spool. Make sure to cross enough vertical lines.
  • Make an overhand knot around the mainline with the vertical line.
  • Make another knot with the rest of the line.
  • Tighten each loop and then tighten the first ring as close to the spool as possible.

In case you replace the old line on your spinning reel:

  • Use the Uni knot to connect the old line to the new line. This tip can save you a less new line to fill the reel.

Step 4: Slowly Start Winding Line Onto The Reel

The purpose of the bail is to distribute the line evenly:

  • Make sure to close the bail after you’ve secured the line to the spool
  • Get the line between your thumb and index finger
  • Then, start spinning the handle slowly

The trick is: Don’t whine too fast. If you whine fast as you’re bringing the line through, you might burn your fingers.

  • Apply enough pressure when you spin to keep the wire from twisting
  • Make sure the reel is lined up on the reel in even turns
  • Wind the line slowly enough to control it but fast enough to keep tangle-free
  • Keep this pace and make sure the bail is doing its job
  • After 10 spins, lower the bar to relax the line and observe the string near the spool on the floor. 

Step 5: Watch Your Spool Orientation

It’s the moment of the truth. You’ll see either thing:

  • Loose lines will rest on the floor in pleasant and comfortable loops: If you get results like this, congratulations. You can continue to rotate and do not need to adjust any more twist points. The rope has entered very deep and ensures a comfortable winding.
  • The coils twist themselves into very tangled-looking coils: In this case, you need to turn the spool over and reassemble from step 4.

Step 5 is critical: Make sure the spool is facing the correct direction to avoid twisting the current. As a rule, you need to position the spool so that the wire runs opposite to the spool. For example, if the reel windings are clockwise, the line must go out of the reel counterclockwise.

Therefore, you must carefully check the winding direction of the spool. The easiest way to avoid confusion is:

  • Place a finger on the spool and rotate the handle
  • Hold the spool as if you were using it for real
  • Turn the wheel 2-3 times to determine if the reel turns clockwise or counterclockwise

Step 6: Crank Until The Reel Spool Is Full

Now you have to finish what you’re doing:

  • Keep winding it on the spool there until it’s full. What “full” means is not overfilled the max capacity (just to the edge slightly below the edge of the reel itself)
  • Keep winding it on and get close to that point (within 1/8 to 3/16 inch of spool edge)

Step 7: Secure The Line On The Spool

Once you’re done Step 6, double-check everything one last time:

  • Check if the line is tangled after you stop the pressure
  • Check if the line is tight in the spool

If everything is fine:

  • Cut the excess line with scissors or line cutters
  • Use a clip, swivel, or lure to secure the free end of your line and prevent the line from slipping
  • Wrap a rubber band around the spool

Finally, you can thread the line through the rest of the guide and tie it to a bait (even when not in use).


All anglers should know how to take care of their equipment. Putting line on a spinning reel without twisting is a fundamental skill that any angler should have. 

The process looks complicated, but don’t worry. It’s like riding a bicycle because once you know how to do it, you’ll never forget it. Just make sure that you follow the steps in this article.

Read more: Best Spinning Reel Under $100 (Top 9 Spinning Reels For Fishing)