How Much Line to Put on a Spinning Reel – Feel Guide For Beginners

When you grab your spinning reel to head off fishing, do you check how much line is on your reel?

Often, we won’t check and find out the hard way that being under-spooled impacts casting performance and invites heavy friction.

Sometimes we pack our spools to the lip, only to find we end up with loop knots and tangles, and our fishing line has a mind of its own.

It’s important to load our spinning reels with the correct amount of fishing line for optimum casting performance.

Let’s check out why

Why Is the Amount of Line You Put on A Reel Very Important?

The amount of fishing line you load onto a spinning reel is very important, even critical. But it’s something the average angler overlooks.

It really is essential to apply fishing line correctly and use the right amount.

We regularly make two mistakes, fishing under-filled spools, and over-filled spools. 

Both have detrimental outcomes.

Underfilled Spools

Over time, our spool loses line as we remove the frayed and sun-damaged line. It doesn’t take long until our line sits well below the lip.

There are two common, unwanted outcomes from underfilled spools.

Poor Casting Performance

Casting with an underfilled spool invites terrible casting performance. As the distance between the top of the line and the spool lip increases, we invite heavy friction.

Friction is a casting distance killer. The friction can also impact casting accuracy.

A third issue is that it can impact the life of your fishing line. 

Granted, spool lips are very smooth, but friction and heat will increase wear. Not only for the fishing line but for your spool lip too.

Loss of Prize Trophy Fish

Hooking into genuine trophy fish is rare for many anglers – often once in a lifetime.

Let’s say we’re fishing with 15-pound mono on our 3000 spin reel when a 25-pound drum takes the lure.

The 15 pounds of drag on your Daiwa BG3000 is enough to tire this monster eventually, 

But you only have 110 yards of line on your spool when you should have twice that amount.

With your drag set at 30%, the big drum isn’t bothered or showing signs of turning. 

You now have two options.

  1. Wind on more drag to slow the run and risk a bust-up.
  2. Or allow it to run, hoping the drum stops before it spools you completely.

If you had twice the line on your spool, you’d have all the time in the world to play this drum on a modest drag setting.

With your depleted spool, you’ll likely lose the trophy fish.

Over Filled Spool

There’s a position on the spool, below the bevel, where we should not fill beyond.

Pushing the limits here invites loop knots and tangles as the fishing line tends to spring off the spool.

When we cast, the line can depart the spool in wads of loops, getting caught on the guides, impeding distance, and often tangling.

We all want to maximize casting distance and jam on as much line as possible. There’s a point, however, where more line hinders casting performance and invites trouble.

Never fill your spool beyond the bevel of the spool lip, despite the temptation to pack on as much line as you can.

How Do You Measure how Much Fishing Line to Put on A Reel?

I’ve never met an angler who sits there with a ruler or tape measure counting fishing line yard by yard.

We don’t need to anyway. The manufacturer provides line capacities for mono and fluoro and prints them on the spool and in the user’s manual.

The manufacturer will give measurements for line classes they deem most appropriate for the reel size.

For example, the BG3000 mentioned above recommends 240 yards of 8-pound, 200 yards of 10-pound mono – 280 yards of 15-pound braid, or 240 yards of 20-pound braid.

Should you fill your spool to the correct position below the lip, you have a very good indication of the amount of line on your spool.

But fishing lines vary in diameter between brands and models. 

In this case, you can use the line diameter measurements presented on the fishing line packet to gauge the amount you can spool.

How Much Line Should You Spool on a Spinning Reel?

This is a simple equation – Never too much, never too little. If you’re filling or topping up a spool with line, fill to just below the bevel on the lip.

When your spool is becoming depleted of line, there is a period of grace where the depth below the bevel doesn’t impact casting performance.

close-up shot of a man holding a fishing rod

You certainly don’t want to top up when the line is just a fraction of an inch below the bevel – this is counterproductive.

Spool brands and models have different performance capabilities with depleted spools. For some, you may need to replenish when the line amount has dropped by 20%.

For others, you may have more time before a top-up is necessary. 

I’ll not top up unless the amount required is significantly longer than my maximum casting distance.

It’s an equation that you need to learn via experience with the outfit you’re using. 

There are significant variables, and the best assessments are made using a combination of the basic principles, feel, and performance observations.

Just be sure to choose a good-quality line for your reel.

How Many Yards of Braided Line Do I Need for a Spinning Reel?

The manufacturer’s recommendations determine this. But there are further considerations with braid.

Braid is expensive, and it can cost a lot of money to fill a large spool reel with quality braids.

Many anglers will fill the bottom half of the spool with cheaper mono and connect the braid to the mono to fill the upper half of the spool.

Choosing a percentage depends on your budget, fishing technique, and target species. 

Combinations of 50/50 are fine, but you can have 60/40, or 30/70. There are no specific rules here.

The other reason we combine mono and braid is that braid will often slip on the arbor of spools.

Some spools have a rubber band on the arbor, allowing spools to accept braid straight to the spool easily. 

For those that don’t, it’s common to use a few yards of mono to give braided lines something to grip as we spool up.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is 150 Yards of Fishing Line Enough?

That all depends on the reel size, fishing technique, and target. It’s an arbitrary number that is meaningless without context.

Depending on the line class, 150 yards may be suitable for reel sizes 2500 and less.

How Much Line Do I Need for A 2500 Reel?

Again, this will be determined by the spool capacity, line class, and type. Variation between models is the norm. It’s not really the question you should ask.

A more accurate question would be. How much 12-pound mono or 15-pound braid can I fit on a 2500 spin reel? 

And the answer would be in the manufacturer’s specifications.

How Much Line Should a 4000 Reel Have?

Firstly, it should be filled to the bevel on the lip. Secondly, the answer is the same as for the 2500 reel. 

What line class and type do you intend to use?

For guidance, check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Remember, not all 4000 spin reels are the same. 

There can be significant variations between models and brands.

What Is Braid Capacity on A Reel?

One of the reasons we love braid so much is that its strength-to-diameter ratios are far better than mono and fluoro.

We can fit far more braid on our spool than the equivalent test weight mono. This is why manufacturers quote both braid and mono capacities.

Is Thicker Line Better for Fishing?

Thicker line will often kink and crease easily. We also fit far less of it on our spools. Thicker line can be very useful when there is a lot of sharp cover and toothy fish.

By and large, thicker lines will have better resistance to the abrasion caused by sharp structures such as rocks and reefs. It is also good for resisting sharp teeth.

Thick line can be an issue, as fish easily see it. Often, the thickest lines we use are used only for leaders.

What Is the Proper Way to Put Fishing Line on A Spinning Reel?

Many anglers have their preferred techniques and routines.

Here are a couple of videos demonstrating techniques.

1. Spooling Spin Reels With Braid (with mono backing)
2. Spooling Spin Reels With Mono

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Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home, and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.


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