Preparing To Load Fishing Line On Your Reel
Before you get started spooling up your baitcaster you'll need to gather a few tools:
How to Load Fishing Line on a Baitcasting Reel in 5 Steps
Step 1 - Feed the Line Through the Rod Guides
If you're not using a fishing line spooler, then run the fishing line from the tip of the rod down through the rod guides. This will help keep your line from becoming a tangled mess and make applying tension easier.
Step 2 - Attach the Fishing Line to the Baitcasting Reel
Run the fishing line through the eye of the baitcaster's level wind guide and tie it to the spool. The arbor knot is a common fishing knot for attaching fishing line to a spool, but you can use whatever knot you know. The knot's strength isn't that important as you should never have enough line out that you'll be relying on this knot to fight a fish. Many people also use a piece of electric tape.
Step 3 - Begin Turning the Reel's Handle While Applying Tension to the Fishing Line
Make sure that while you're reeling the line onto the reel you are applying some tension. For mono and fluoro fishing line you can just use your fingers, but if you're using braided fishing line you should use a wet towel to avoid burning your fingers. When spooling braid you need to apply more tension to help prevent it from digging into itself and causing a backlash.
Step 4 - Stop Just Before the Spool Is Completely Full
The reel's spool is full when it's about an 1/8th inch from the spool's beveled edge. Overfilling the reel's spool with fishing line is a recipe for backlashing, while underfilling it will reduce casting distance and retrieval speeds.
Step 5 - Cut the Line and Tie on Your Favorite Lure
That's it, you should now have a properly spooled baitcasting reel! You can cut the line and tie on a hook or lure.
How To Tie and Spool Braided Line on a Baitcaster To Avoid Slippage
The easiest way to tie braided line onto a baitcasting reel is by using the arbor knot, but you can use any fishing knot with a low profile that won't protrude too much. Note that you should never put yourself in a situation where you'd need to rely on the knot's strength. When using braid without backing line, you'll want to add a piece of tape to secure the line and prevent it from slipping on the spool.
However, when using braid as your main line on a baitcaster, it's common practice to use backing line first. Braided fishing line tends to slip on the reel's spool, giving the illusion that your reel has no drag. If you don't want to use backing line for whatever reason, you can also use a piece of arbor tape (or electrical tape) to lock the line down and prevent the spool from slipping underneath the braid.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much line to put on a baitcaster?
It's recommended that you spool enough fishing line on a baicaster until about 1/8th inch of the edge of the spool is visible. Putting too much line or not enough line can cause issues such as backlash or decreased casting performance. Exactly how much fishing line to put on a baitcaster depends on the spool size of your baitcasting reel and the diameter of the fishing line.
While spooling fishing line on a baitcaster isn't a particularly challenging task, there are some beginner mistakes that can result in a tangled mess. However, by following the steps in this article to properly spool a baitcasting reel, you'll avoid the common mistakes beginners make that cause backlashes and spool slippage, resulting in a frustrating day of fishing.
If you're still struggling with backlashes after properly adjusting your baitcaster's spool tension, brakes, and drag, you can check out this article that deep dives further into fine tuning a baitcaster and avoiding other common mistakes that cause backlashes.