Fishing Line Setup 101

by Larry Anderson
Before fish can be caught, the fishing line must be set up.

Before fish can be caught, the fishing line must be set up.

Before you can hit the water and go fishing, your equipment must be ready to go. One of the most important pieces of equipment is your fishing line, which is the link you have between you and the fish. When that link is broken, the fish get away. To prevent that from occurring, your fishing line must be set up properly.

Rod and Reel

Select the rod and reel with which you plan to fish. Spooling fishing line onto the reel is a simpler task when the reel is attached to a rod. Make sure the size of line you plan to use fits with the rod you are using. To make the determination, check the side of the fishing rod just above the handle. The various sizes of line the rod can handle should be written there.

Fill the Reel

Put the fishing line on the reel once you have selected the proper rod and reel combination. Begin by placing the end of the fishing line through the guide at the end of the fishing rod, and then thread the line through each subsequent rod guide. Wrap the line two times around the spool of the reel, and then tie a knot so the line is tight against the reel. Snip any extra line above the knot, though it is a good idea to keep about 1/8 inch of line to prevent the knot from coming completely apart should it slip a little bit. Reel line onto the spool until the line is about 1/8 inch below the rim of the spool. Cut the line about 12 inches beyond the end of the fishing rod.

The Rig

Decide what you want to rig on your fishing line. The two main choices are a hook with live bait or an artificial lure. Walleye anglers often choose to use live bait, as do beginning anglers when they are targeting fish species like sunfish and crappies. Anglers who target species like bass, muskies and northern pike frequently use artificial lures.

Live Bait Rig

Tie on a live-bait rig if you choose to use live bait. There are a variety of rigs, but the two most popular are the Lindy rig and the bobber rig. The Lindy rig, in order, consists of a sliding sinker, a swivel, a two- to three-foot leader and a bare hook. The premise behind the rig is that a fish can grab the bait in its mouth and swim off without feeling resistance from the sinker, which slides up and down the line. A bobber rig, in order, has a bobber, sinker and hook. The bobber should be attached to the line so that the distance between the hook and bobber is a foot or two less than the distance from the top of the water to the bottom. Whatever rig you opt for, attach a piece of live bait to the hook before fishing. A leech, minnow or nightcrawler is most popular for a variety of fish species.

Artificial Baits

The easiest way to set up your fishing line for artificial baits is to tie a snap swivel to the end of your line. With a swivel, you can change lures as often as you desire without having to cut the line and tie on a new lure. Pay attention, though, to the size and strength of the snap. A small snap swivel may work just fine for catching sunfish and crappies, but a larger fish like a muskie likely would break a snap swivel of that size. Use larger snap swivels for larger fish.


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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