How to Load a Fishing Line Onto a Reel

by Larry Anderson
Before fishing, loading your reel with line is necessary.

Before fishing, loading your reel with line is necessary.

Fishermen use a variety of types of fishing reels--baitcasting and spinning reels are most popular--to catch fish. But no matter the reel type they use, anglers must load them with line before using them. Fishermen can put line on by themselves, which means they can change line while they're in the boat or fishing alone, or they can have a friend help, which makes the process easier.

Spinning Reels

Attach the spinning reel to a spinning rod, which is a fishing rod that does not have a trigger-shaped piece that extends from the bottom of the rod handle. A spinning reel is so-named because part of the reel can be seen spinning as the reel handle is turned.

Thread the fishing line through the tip of the fishing rod, and then continue threading it through each of the line guides, which are the circular objects that extend from the body of the fishing rod, and which run the length of the rod.

Flip up the bale of the reel so it is open. The bale is the metal piece that protects the reel spool.

Wrap the fishing line two times around the spool of the reel, and then tie the end of the line to the main part of the line. By wrapping the line around the spool, and then tying a knot, the line will be attached to the spool. Snip extra line above the knot, though it is a good idea to keep about 1/8 of an inch of line.

Close the bale of the reel by flipping it down.

Turn the handle of the reel clockwise to wind the line onto the spool of the reel. As you turn the handle, the reel spool will spin and take on line. Stop turning the handle once the line is 1/8 of an inch below the top of the spool.

With the scissors, cut the fishing line 12 inches beyond the tip of the fishing rod.

Baitcasting Reels

Attach the baitcasting reel to a baitcasting rod, which, contrary to the spinning reel, is a fishing rod that has a trigger-shaped piece that extends below the handle. Baitcasting reels are so-named because anglers primarily use them for casting, as opposed to trolling.

Thread the fishing line through each of the guides on the fishing rod, beginning at the tip. The guides are circular-shaped objects that are attached to the rod, but extend above it. Then thread the line through the reel's line guide, which is a circular-shaped piece of metal or plastic at the front of the reel that guides the line onto the spool of the reel.

Wrap the line two times around the spool of the reel, then tie a knot and ensure the line is tight against the spool. Cut most of the extra line above the knot, leaving about 1/8 of an inch of line.

Turn the reel handle clockwise to wind line onto the spool. Continue reeling until the line is 1/8 of an inch below the rim of the spool.

Cut the line so that 12 inches of line hangs from the tip of the fishing rod.

Items you will need

  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Fishing line
  • Scissors

About the Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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