How To Attach Fishing Line To A Spinning Reel

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If your fishing line snaps, gets totally torn off, or if you buy a new spinning reel, you will need to load new fishing line onto it. Otherwise you will not be able to go fishing at all. So, today we are here to talk about how to attach fishing line to a spinning reel.

We are going to do this in a step by step manner to make it as easy as possible for you. It’s really quite an easy and short process, so this is not going to take long at all. In all reality, you should be able to do this in about 5 minutes or less.


Attaching Fishing Line To A Spinning Reel – Step By Step

Remember guys, although this does get easier after having done it a few times, it can be a little difficult to get right the first time, especially when it comes to properly tying the arbor knot and loading the line in the right way. This is even truer if you do not have a type of fishing line that is easy to load or tie.

Here Is A Short Video On How To Tie An Arbor Knot

Keep in mind folks, this is something that any tackle and fishing shop will do for you with a nifty little machine. However, if for whatever reason you have to or feel the need to do it yourself, follow these simple steps for the best results.

Step 1

The first thing that you will need to do before you get started with this process is to choose the type of fishing line that you want to use. Monofilament line is a good choice to go with, the standard for most cases. This kind of line is pretty durable, has good strength, decent sensitivity, and is a good basic choice to go with, plus it has good knot strength too.

You can also choose fluorocarbon line, which has a lower knot strength, but is also very durable, with the added bonus that it is nearly invisible underwater. If you need really strong line for those big fish, you might want to look into getting braided line.

At any rate, before you start attaching fishing line to your spinning reel, you want to be sure that you are using the right kind of line for the type of fishing you want to do. (we have separately covered Copolymer, Braided Colors, and Trilele)

Step 2

The next step here is to get the spinning reel in hand. There is a little item on it called the bail. It’s that little U-shaped piece of metal that you can flip up and down.

You want to open the bail up. When it is up, it is open, and when it is down, it is closed. So, before you can start loading on the line, you need to open up the bail into the open position.

wondering the difference between open and closed reels? we have covered a comparison here.

Step 3

The next step to attaching your fishing line to your spinning reel is to get the end of the fishing line and tie it onto the arbor. The arbor is this little loop on the spinning reel specifically designed to have the fishing line tied onto it.  Now, keep in mind that both braided lines are hard to tie into knots for the most part, and fluorocarbon line knotting often unravels.

So, to make things easier for you, you might want to start out by using monofilament line, at least until you get the process down. At any rate, you want to use the aptly named arbor know to tie the fishing line to the arbor.

So, wrap the line around the arbor with the tag end of the line and using the tag end of the line, tie an overhand knot around the standing part. Then, tie a second overhand knot at the tag end about an inch from where you tied the first knot.

Finally, you need to pull the standing part of the line so you can slide the first overhand knot down directly against the spool of the spinning reel. After this has been done, simply slide the second knot down and jam it as close as possible to the first knot. Now you can trim the tag end of the line of whatever extra is remaining.

Step 4

Remember the bail we talked about during step 2? After you have tied the fishing line onto the arbor of the spool with an arbor knot, return the bail back down to the closed position.

Step 5

Now you should put the spool of line onto the ground. Here we are talking about the spool of line which you purchased, not the spool on the actual reel. Place the purchased spool of fishing reel on the ground with the label facing upwards. Be sure to remember that the label absolutely needs to face upwards when doing this.

This is because the line needs to be loaded onto the spinning reel the exact same way as it comes off the spool you purchased from the store. If you load the line onto the spinning reel with the label of the purchased spool facing downwards, you will effectively be loading the fishing line backwards, which will undoubtedly cause problems, especially where line memory and tangling is concerned.

Step 6

Now that you have the purchased spool of fishing line in position, with the end tied onto the arbor, you can actually begin loading it onto the spinning reel. While making sure the spool stays on the ground label side up, use your free hand, specifically your index finger, so apply a good deal of pressure to the fishing line right where the spinning reel is.

With your other hand, crank the handle backwards 15 or 20 times to load the line onto the reel. Keep in mind that applying pressure to the line is essential as you do this. You need the line to be wound on the spinning reel very tightly and evenly. If it is loose, it will easily get tangled on the reel, especially when you go to cast it. This is perhaps the biggest challenge that faces anybody looking to attach their own fishing line to the reel.

At any rate, make sure to apply pressure, and make sure that you don’t load the line totally on one side of the reel’s spool before moving to the other.

You want there to be an even layer of line from right to left, then once you have a single layer from right to left, move back to the right to form the second layer, and so on and so forth.

In other words, load the line onto the reel in a horizontal pattern, not vertically, as this will cause problems.

Step 7

One thing that you should do is check your line for twisting. Do this by giving it a bit of slack after winding a few layers of line onto the spinning reel. It the line has a big twist in it, you may need to start over and flip over the purchased spool and have the label facing in a different direction.

Most spools require the label to face upwards when you load the line onto the reel, but in very rare cases, this might not be so. At any rate, use the side of the spool that gives you the least twist in the line.

Step 8

If all is well and there is no twist in the line, keep cranking the handle backwards, evenly filling up the fishing reel until the line is within 1/8 of an inch from the rim of the reel. If you don’t fill the reel enough, it will cause problems when you go to cast. If you overfill the spinning reel with line, the line might just pop right off the spool and get tangled up, making a huge mess.

If the reel comes with a tab, you can wrap the end of the line around the tab to keep it in place. If not, you might want to feed the line right through the rod’s hoops and attach some tackle to it. You definitely don’t want it getting twisted up after you have loaded it all on.

If you are on the hunt for a new drop shot rod then this buying guide will help you.


As you can see, the process of attaching fishing line to a spinning reel is not overly complicated or difficult. However, with that being said, it does require some finesse and patience, and you need to know what you are doing. If it does not work the first time, don’t give up. This is something that most people do not get right on the first try.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.