How to Put Fishing Line on a Spinning Reel – Load Your Line Properly

Knowing how to put a fishing line onto a spinning reel is one of the basic pieces of knowledge every angler should know. 

Whether you just bought a new rod and reel set-up or you’re moving your old line over to another, installing fishing line onto a fishing reel is an important skill.

However, sometimes you’ll find that spinning gear can introduce line twists when you’re spooling up a reel.

This article will give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to set up braided line and monofilament line correctly and how to properly spool a reel.

Let’s get straight into it. 

4 Easy Steps to Spool a Spinning Reel

Before we dive into the four easy steps to spooling your spinning reel, we need to discuss what items you will need to make this process easier. 

Tools You Will Need to Spool a Spinning Reel

To make your spooling process easier, it would be wise to enlist the help of a friend. A friend can help by holding the fishing line’s spool while you reel the line onto the fishing reel.

The second person can put a screwdriver or pencil through the spool of the fishing line. to allow the spool to spin and release the fishing line. 

As you fill your spinning reel with fishing line, please make sure that the line is taut.

They can keep the line taut either by wearing gloves or by holding a washcloth in their free hand while holding the line gently as it passes, or by applying gentle pressure to the line.

If you do not have a friend available, do not worry, it is perfectly possible to spool a spinning reel on your own.

Whether you will be completing this process with a friend or alone, you will still need the following items to make the process as simple as can be. 

  • Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod
  • A Long Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Washcloth or Shop Glove
  • Scissor
  • Electrical Tape
  • Spool of Fishing Line

A few things to note. Make sure you know the fishing line specifications that are suitable for the spinning reel you have purchased. 

The reel will have a maximum test weight capacity for the fishing line and a maximum distance capacity measured in yards.

Stay within these parameters to prevent any issues from occurring. 

It does not matter if the line is braided or monofilament; the process is the same for each type. 

However, your spinning reel will have different capacity parameters for braided and monofilament lines.

Remember that if you are going to do a braided line, it might be a good idea to use some monofilament line as a foundation for the braided line.

Though not necessary, adding some monofilament line as a foundation on your spinning reel will prevent the braided line from slipping, saving you from future headaches when out on the water. 

Now that we have all the items, we will need to complete the spooling process. Let us jump right into it. 

We will explain side-by-side the process for both spooling your reel alone and spooling your reel with the help of a friend. 

If you are a visual learner then watch the video below and follow the steps.

Step 1: The Setup

The first thing you will have to do is assemble your rod and reel setup.

If your rod breaks down into multiple pieces, then you should properly link the individual pieces together by inserting the smaller “male” connectors into the bit larger “female” connections.

Next, line up all the eye holes on the rod, so they are all in the same direction. With a spinning reel, all the eyeholes should be pointed toward the ground. 

Last, take your spinning reel and insert it into the designated place holder located on the rod’s base.

Make sure to properly tighten all components of the placeholder to ensure your spinning reel is secure. 

Make sure you match the direction of the line between the spool and the reel. This will ensure that the line is added to the reel evenly, and twists will not occur.

Step 2: Line Attachment

Unroll about 15 feet of fishing line from the spool.

If you are using a monofilament fishing line or applying a foundation layer of mono before adding braided, you will only need to tie the fishing line to the reel using an Arbor knot.

See below

If you are only using a braided line through and through, this is where you will use your electrical tape.

First, take your first 15 feet of fishing line and thread it carefully through each of the eye holes, starting at the tip of the rod and working your way down to the base of the rod where the spinning reel is located.

Next, open the bail.

Third, if you have a monofilament line, go ahead and tie the line, using an Arbor knot, to the designated spot located on the spinning reel.

If you are using a braided line, wrap a strip of electrical tape tightly around the reel before you tie the line. 

This should help to prevent slipping while you are spooling the braided line onto the reel.

Also Read: Top Fishing Line For Trout Fishing

Step 3: Filling the Reel with Fishing Line

The next step is where your friend will come in handy. Have them sit or stand about 15 feet away from you with the spool. 

Using either the Phillips head screwdriver or a pencil, have your friend insert the tool into the hole in the middle of the spool of fishing line.

Next, make sure your drag is set to maximum tightness and begin to slowly turn the crank to reel in the first layer of fishing line on the reel. 

Have your friend apply pressure to the line by either holding the line while wearing a glove or by pushing gently on the line while holding a washcloth. This is to protect their hands from friction burns.

You will also want to apply pressure to the line as you reel but taking your middle and index finger and gently squeezing the fishing line between the reel and the first eyehole. 

Also, please wear a glove or have a washcloth handy.

If you are alone, place the reel on the floor, and from a standing position, begin to slowly reel while applying pressure to the line between the reel and the first eyehole. 

Another pro-tip for doing this alone is to make sure you do this process methodically and not fast. You can reel much faster with a second person, but alone, you do not have that luxury. 

If at this point you are planning to lay a foundation of monofilament before switching to a braided line, fill the reel ¼ of the way full of the mono and then cut it off. 

Take the end of the monofilament fishing line and tie on the braided line using an FG knot. Then continue to step four.

Step 4: Ending the Process

Before you are ready to cut off the line and tie on a leader or a lure of some sort, you should have continued with step three at a slow to moderate pace while maintaining a taut line the entire time. 

Having done this properly, the accumulated line on the spinning reel should be hard as a rock when you push on it. 

If it feels spongy and you can easily push on the line, the line is not taut enough, and you will need to start over. 

It is better to have to do this process again and have it been done correctly than to have a loose spool of fishing line on your reel. Trust me.

You will only have problems when you are out on the water fishing.

If everything feels nice and tight, make sure the reel is filled to the 95% mark. You want a full reel, but not too full.

It would be best if you still had a bit of a lip between the edge of the reel spool and the accumulated fishing line.

The last thing you will do now is cut the end of the fishing line and tie on your leader or lure. 

Make sure the line is still threaded entirely through all of the eye holes. Cut the end of the line with about 18-inches of line coming out of the last eyehole, then using your favorite knot, tie on a leader, lure, or hook. 

Attach the hook to one of the support bars that connect the eyehole to the rod. 

Please do not put the hook into the eyehole, for that will cause wear to the eyehole that can ultimately cause damage to your fishing line, which will weaken the line and cause it to break.

Now let’s examine how to choose the best fishing line and what you need to consider before purchasing.

Why The Line Selection is Important

When selecting a fishing line for your spinning reel, there are some essential things to consider. 

With so many options on the market for fishing lines, the sheer size of the selection out there can be overwhelming. Considering these few factors will help you narrow down your choices.

The first thing to consider is the capacity parameters of your spinning reel. 

In your spinning reel manufacturer’s instructions, you will find the maximum test weight and the maximum amount of line allowed at a particular test weight, measured in yards. 

For example, if we look at the Shimano Sienna FG Spinning Reel in the 1,000-reel size, you will see the line capacity parameters in the product description look like this.

Shimano Sienna FG Spinning Reel 1000

Mono: 2/270 – 4/140 – 6/110

Braid: 10/95 – 15/85 – 20/65

For the line capacity descriptions, the first number is the test weight measured in pounds; the second number is the amount of line measured in yards. 

For example, if you are using a 2-pound monofilament fishing line for this spinning reel, you can have up to 270 yards of line on your reel. 

The second factor to consider is what type of fish you will be going after. 

If you are going after crappie or other various panfish, then a smaller test weight monofilament fishing line will suffice. 

Going after larger Salmon, then maybe a heavier braided line would be better. The last factor to consider is what type of water conditions you will be fishing in. 

Will you be in mainly open water, or will you be pulling big bass out of the heavy cover of vegetation and other possible obstructions? 

All these factors combine to help you narrow down your options to find the best type of fishing line for your situation. 

See Also: How Much Line Should You Put on Your Reel

Braid or Monofilament?

There are several types of fishing line out there made from all kinds of materials. However, the two main types that we will focus on today are braided and monofilament fishing line. 

There are pros and cons to each type, and one might be better in a given situation than the other. 

Let us break down some of these pros and cons of braided and monofilament fishing line.

Braided Fishing Line

Braided fishing line is also known as Superline. They are thinner, stronger, and are usually created by fusing multiple braided fibers of materials like Dyneema.

Braided line is not only strong, but it has an incredibly low stretch. 

This is why it is essential to pair a braided line with a rod that has some flex. If you are fishing with a stiff rod with no to little forgiveness, braided lines could easily snap the rod with enough force. 

Also, braided lines tend to slip, and backlash can be a problem. When tying your braided line, make sure to use a Palomar knot, or even a dab of super glue to prevent slipping. 

To help with backlash, use a foundation layer of monofilament fishing line on your reel to create a solid base for the braided line to work from. 

For an article describing the best braided fishing lines currently on the market, check out this post on choosing quality braided fishing line.


  • Thinner diameter.
  • Great strength.
  • Lower stretch.
  • Less memory.
  • Abrasion-resistant.
  • High sensitivity.


  • Higher visibility.
  • Knots may slip.

Monofilament Fishing Line

Mono fishing line is a single strand of mixed polymers.

It is formed by melting polymers and various chemicals and then pushing the liquid through a certain diameter hole and letting it cool and harden. 

Usually, the bigger the diameter of the hole, the higher the test weight of the line. The quality of the mono fishing line can vary significantly by manufacturer.

A good rule of thumb that applies to the mono line is that you get what you pay for. 

When purchasing a monofilament fishing line, it makes sense to spend a little more on a trusted brand that the professionals use.


  • Easy to cast.
  • Little to no issues operating on a spinning reel.
  • Great knot strength.
  • Higher stretch.
  • Buoyant.


  • Poor abrasion resistance. 
  • High memory.
  • Quality varies greatly by manufacturer. 

Also Read:

Does Fishing Line Color Matter?

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Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet 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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