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How to Spool Line onto a Reel at Cabela's

How to Spool Line onto a Reel

Author: Wes Wiedmaier

Spooling line onto fishing reels is a common chore. If done improperly it can lead to angling ailments such as line twist and poor line release.

A tip to remember on spinning and casting reels with line already on them: only strip off the first 100 yards or so and add new line with a blood Knot. This front section receives the abuse from constant casting and catching. It should be replaced at least a few times a season, and up to four or five times with frequent use. The full spool of line can be replaced less frequently.

You can spool line onto a reel the easy way with a line winder or the old-fashioned method using a rod. I highly recommend picking up a line winder for the task. The models you'll find at Cabela's are affordable and easy to use. If you decide on a line winder, please refer to its included instructions. The following guide will be for the MacGyver method using only what you have around the house.

Tip: Before you get started, soak monofilament in water overnight before you spool it. This relaxes the line and reduces memory.

Spinning Reels
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1. Attach the reel to a rod for easy reeling.

2. Place the supply spool of line on a table or the floor with the label facing up. Set the rod and reel on a table to make tying knots easier.

Tip: If you're using braided line, be sure to add a layer of monofilament to the spinning reel spool as backing to prevent slippage. Use a double uni knot to attach the mono to braid.

3. Take line and thread it through the top side of the stripper guide (first one up from the reel seat) on the rod.

4. Flip open the bail on the spinning reel, take line underneath the bail and wrap it around the spool. Anchor line to the spool using an arbor knot. Flip down the bail.

5. Pick up the rod and reel and start reeling a few feet of line onto the spool. Be sure to hold the line between two fingers near the stripper guide and keep it taut as you reel. Stop reeling and examine the line for twist. Do this by dropping the line toward the supply spool. If the line twists and tangles easily, turn the supply spool over label down before adding more line.

6. Continue filling the reel with line. Leave 1/8" of empty space on the spool and cut off the excess.

Baitcasting and Round Reels/Spincast Reels
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1. If you're spooling braided line, add a layer of monofilament to the spool as backing to prevent slippage. Use a double uni knot to attach mono to braid.

2. Attach the reel to a rod for easier reeling.

3. Thread line through the top side of the guide closest to the reel seat and then through the casting reel's line guide. For a spincast reel, be sure to run line through the opening in the reel face before tying it to the spool, and screw the reel face back on before spooling the line.

4. Tie the line to the spool using an arbor knot.

5. Put a pen or pencil into the center of the supply spool and have an assistant place some tension on the spool as the line comes off. The line should feed off the top of the supply spool to avoid twist. Keep the line taut as you reel to ensure even line lay. Fill the reel to within 1/8" of the outer rim of the spool and cut off the excess. Be sure to stop and check the progress to make sure you are not adding too much line to a spincast reel.

Fly Reels
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1. Check the reel's retrieve. Generally, if you are right-handed, you will want a left-hand retrieve. If you are left-handed, you will want a right-hand retrieve. Check the manual included with your reel to determine how to switch the retrieve.

2. Attach fly reel to a fly rod for easier reeling and set them on a table. Thread backing through the top side of the guide closest to the reel seat.

3. Determine what direction you need the backing to come off the reel's spool. If you have a left-hand retrieve, the backing should be coming off the bottom with the retrieve facing your left hand. For a right-hand retrieve, the line will come off the bottom with the retrieve facing your right hand.

4. Attach backing material to the spool using an arbor knot.

5. Start reeling the backing onto the spool with an even back-and-forth motion. Line should be coming off the top of the backing spool. Keep the backing taut as you reel, but do not apply excess tension. Spool size determines the backing capacity. Refer to the manual or box for exact capacity. When in doubt, put a little less backing on the reel than you think it can hold. If you put too much on, you won't be able to fit the fly line. Also, when you put line on for the first time it will lay tighter than it will after you start fishing. Allow some extra space for this effect.

6. Once you've filled the spool with the proper amount of backing, cut it off and attach the end of the backing to the fly line using an Albright knot.

7. Reel fly line onto the spool the same way as you did the backing.

Tip: Replace old fly line when it becomes cracked and weathered. You can "renew" some fly lines by rubbing the surface with a mildly abrasive pad, or using a conditioner.