How to Load Line on a Spinning Reel

Posted by nick under Fishing Beginners Guide

Loading your line correctly is of supreme importance. Do this wrong and you’ll set yourself up for a line-twist nightmare later. The line twists into coils when it should hang limp, causing your line to tangle into an ugly nest when you cast.

The easiest way to load line onto your reel is to have someone else do it for you. If you can, just let the tackle shop take care of it when you buy your line. They have a nifty machine that will do it quickly and professionally.

If, for whatever reason, you need to do this yourself, this is how its done:

  1. Open the bail. That’s the little wire arm on the reel that flips up and down. Up is open, down is closed. Click here to see a diagram of a spinning reel.
  2. Tie the line on the arbor with an arbor knot. Click here to learn to tie an arbor knot. Close the bail.
  3. Put the spool on the floor, label facing up. A spinning reel requires that the line be loaded onto the reel the same way it comes off the spool.


    fishing line spool


    loading fishing line on spool

  4. With your free hand, use your thumb and index finger to apply light pressure to your line as you give the handle 15 to 20 turns. Always apply light pressure on the line while loading it, otherwise the line will go on loose and tangle later.

    applying pressure on fishing line


  5. Stop. Check the line for line twist. Do this by letting the line go slack. If it starts twisting, flip the spool over (label down) and try again. Use the side that gives you less twist.


    fishing line twist

  6. Fill your spool until it is 1/8th inch from the rim. Overfilling or underfilling your spool will create problems when you cast.

    line holding tab on fishing reel

Congratulations! You’re all done. You can use a rubber band to secure your line on the spool, or wrap it around the tab in your spool (if it comes with one).

Hot Technique Alert: Have you ever heard of the fly and bubble technique? It’s an awesome and versatile fishing tactic that every spin fisherman should know… read about here.

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13 Responses to “How to Load Line on a Spinning Reel”

  1. celticdaddio Says:

    Soooo… if my line twists as it comes off the spool during a cast, does that mean it was loaded onto the spool incorrectly or that I can’t cast. The twist is in line that is several loops into the spool. what I mean is that the twist wouldn’t come off the spool until a few feet (at least) were pulled off the spool. Something like backlash on a baitcast reel.

  2. nick Says:

    Hi celticdaddio,

    If your line twists as it comes off the spool during your FIRST cast, it can be because:

    A) the line was loaded onto the spool improperly.

    B) your outfit (line, reel, terminal tackle, rod) is somehow not balenced.

    If you take off the line and respool it correctly and it still twists off the spool as you cast, then it is probably an unbalalnced outfit. Please refer to “How will you know if you are a buying a balanced outfit?” section of this post (scroll down):

    Balanced Outfit

    If your line twists in subsequent casts then it can be because of one or more factors. I put up a post on line twist causes here:

    Line Twist

    Hope that answers your question.

  3. JaneRadriges Says:

    Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder’n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

  4. Anonymous Says:


  5. Pointer Men's Basketball Says:

    You you should make changes to the page subject How to Load Line on a Spinning Reel | to something more catching for your subject you write. I loved the the writing yet.

  6. cesar Says:

    I have several comments about line twisting but my English is poor. Can I send them in Spanish?

  7. cesar Says:

    It was done and this twice by error.

  8. nick Says:

    Hi Cesar,

    Yes, sure. Your comments are welcome.


  9. mark raymund Says:

    Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. Good job!!

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  11. Kevin Says:

    So i have tried many ways of winding my spinning real and with limited sucess. Could it be that i am not buying a low memory string which is much more costly? Any help would be appriciated.

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  13. Sinead Says:

    Another thing worth noting for beginners is the weight of the rod itself as some of the cheaper ones for beginners can end up being a bit heavy and tiring on the back and arms

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