Whether you’re a beginner or an expert caster, spooling a bait caster can be quite a challenge.
Baitcasters are well known for their line management problems. You may have heard tall tales of twisted lines and loose loops or even experienced firsthand the terrors of kinking or backlash. The only thing worse than fish that refuse to bite is being surrounded by hordes of voracious fish when you’re stuck with equipment problems.
The good news is that you can solve most of those issues by spooling your reel right. Here are our instructions, along with a few tips and tricks, on how to spool a bait caster reel.
- Fishing rod and reel
- Fishing line
- A pencil and a friend to help you (or a toilet paper dispenser)
- Small hook
Step by Step Instructions
- Spooling your reel is easier if it’s attached to your fishing rod. Start by feeding the fishing line through your rod’s first eyelet.
- Thread the line through the small hole at the front of your reel, commonly called the line or worm guide. This will help make sure the line gets evenly distributed on the reel.
- Loop your line under the reel spool then all the way around until it comes back out the front, meeting the line where it entered. Some reels make this easier by putting holes in the spool, so you can put the line through the holes and twist the handle to get the line completely threaded.
- Tie the tag end of your line to the mainline with a simple overhand knot. Tie another overhand knot in the tag end as close as possible to the first knot to keep it from coming undone. This combination of overhand knots is called an arbor knot.
5. Pull on your mainline until the loop closes gently around the spool.
6. If the inside knot is too loose, the loop will just slide around reel the instead of coiling around it. Make sure your knot is tight enough to create the friction you need to start the spooling.
7. Use the scissors to cut any extra line off the tag end.
8. Now it’s time to reel the rest of the line in. It’s crucial to keep tension in the fishing line while you’re winding it. Without tension, some of your loops will be looser than others, which can lead to a loss of control and accuracy when you cast. It can also create kinks in the line that will weaken it and may even cause it to break when you’re reeling in the big one.
9. Here’s where having a friend who can help you comes in handy. Have them hang the spool of the new fishing line on a pencil. They should hold the pencil horizontally, grasping one end in each hand. It should look kind of like a roll of toilet paper on its dispenser. Incidentally, if you don’t have a friend available, you can hang your spool on a toilet paper dispenser to get the tension you need. The line should come off the top of the spool, not the bottom.
10. Make sure the spool of the new fishing line is lined up with your reel so that it winds evenly.
11. You can control the amount of tension even further by pinching the line right in front of your reel. You want it to be tight enough to avoid loose loops but slack enough that the line doesn’t stretch while it’s winding.
12. Reel the rest of the line in carefully until your reel is full. Make sure to always leave about 1/8th of an inch of space between the wound-up line and the reel to keep your casting as smooth as possible.
13. Snip off any extra line remaining on the new spool, and save it for later.
14. Thread the line from your reel through the rest of the eyelets on your fishing rod.
15. To keep the end of the line from getting sucked back into the reel, it’s a good idea to tie a small hook on the end, just after the last eyelet.
16. Enjoy your fishing!
Following these simple steps can prevent most kinds of tangles, kinks, and backlashes. If you do spot some loose line close to the surface on your reel, pull on the line gently and it should come right out. If it’s too deep, you may have to unwind and start again from that point.
Winding your reel with the help of a friend and just the right amount of tension will help you get the farthest, most precise casting of your life. It will make sure your fishing line lasts as long as possible and keep you ready for when the big one bites.