If you want to be as successful as possible while fishing, you should know how to set up your equipment properly. How you do it depends on what type of fishing you’re doing: fly fishing, spinning, or baitcasting. However, the most important thing is what they all have in common, and that’s spooling your reels.
Baitcasting proves time and time again how effective it is as a technique, but spooling a baitcasting reel is possibly the most challenging. So, how do you put a fishing line on a baitcasting reel correctly?
First, you should pull the line through the first eye on the rod and the line guide on the reel. Tie it around the reel’s spool with an arbor knot, trim off the end, and start spooling directly from the new line’s spool. Keep constant tension and fill the spool.
There should be a 3-4 mm gap between the line and the edge of the spool. Pull the end of the line through the rest of the rod guides and tie a lure or a hook at the end. That’ll allow you to maintain a bit of tension and prevent the line from backing up. We’ll get into details with a step-by-step guide to help you do it properly and get the most out of your equipment.
What Is the Best Fishing Line to Put on a Baitcaster?
There are three main types of fishing lines, each having specific characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages: braided line (braid), fluorocarbon, and monofilament. All three work well on a baitcaster, and what the best choice is will depend on what you want to catch.
We prefer braid because of its strength and no-stretch properties. It’s perfect for a baitcaster because it allows you to cast the furthest, which is what a baitcaster is all about. Its strength allows you to pull out even the biggest game fish without the line breaking and is almost impossible to break.
We use the Sufix 832 Advanced Superline for a while now, and we are very happy with the price-to-quality ratio. There are stronger models out there on the market, but they cost so much more, making this braid the perfect choice.
A monofilament is a great option for beginners, as it’s much easier to cast because it provides less backlash. However, it stretches under pressure, making it break easier, too, and it’s not as visible as braid. However, if you’re going for lures that remain near the surface, be it lightweight plugs or even flies, mono is the best choice for you, as it floats on water, too.
Most manufacturers make monofilament lines, and it’s the most common, so it’s a game trying to find the best one. However, we can tell you that the Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament line is tested out, and it works incredibly well.
It’s durable and strong even when going for the biggest game fish. We prefer a bit more stretch from a monofilament line, but that’s just personal preferences.
Finally, if you choose a fluorocarbon line, it will sink instead of floating like monofilament, so it’s a great choice when going for bottom feeders or deep water fishing.
When it comes to fluorocarbon lines, there’s no one better than Seaguar. The Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon line is one of the strongest fluoro lines we’ve used. It has great strength and no color, making it perfect to use regardless of where you’re fishing.
How to Put Fishing Line on a Baitcaster Reel?
So you’ve mastered the spinning reel, and you want to challenge yourself a bit and switch to a baitcaster. Well, you can get stuck already while setting everything up. Even though the principles are the same, it’s a bit more tricky to put the line on a baitcaster reel. We’ll start at the very beginning and guide you through the entire process.
1. Attach the baitcaster reel to a rod
If you’re a beginner and have never done this before, you should probably ask somebody to help you out, at least the first time. However, if you’re eager to try it yourself, it’s crucial to start the process after you’ve attached the reel to the rod.
You can also use a line spooler to keep everything in place, but your rod will help you just fine if you don’t own one. It’s important to keep everything straight the entire time to prevent backlash, knots, loops, and other problems that might occur after improper spooling.
2. Pull the line through the first rod guide
When putting the line on any reel – especially a baitcaster – you must ensure that it’s running from the right direction. If you don’t pull the line through any guides, it’ll be free and loose, making the spooling uneven. If the line doesn’t get distributed to the reel evenly, it opens up tons of problems that can ruin your day out in the water in a second.
This step also helps you maintain control of the reeling quickness and lets you maintain constant tension to the line to prevent loops, twists, etc.
3. Get the line through the reel’s line guide
The line guide is a little hole on your reel that moves from side to side while you’re spooling the line. That ensures the line is distributed evenly across the spool, ensuring no twists, knots, or tangles.
4. Loop & tie the line around the spool on the reel
Looping a baitcaster reel can be quite tricky, as it’s closed up on both sides. However, most baitcasting reels have holes in the spool to help you get the line through and around it. Once you’ve managed to get the loop across the spool, you need to tie it to ensure it stays in place when you start reeling.
We found that the arbor knot is the easiest and quickest solution that holds up perfectly. An arbor know is two overhand knots tied upon one another. When tying it up, make sure you tighten the knots hard enough to generate friction against the spool and prevent the loop from spinning around the spool.
When you tighten the knots, trim the end of the line to prevent it from getting in the way while you’re spooling.
5. Align the new line spool with your baitcaster reel properly
With a baitcaster, the best way to get the line on is to do it directly from its spool. Before you start reeling the line onto the baitcaster, make sure the new line spool turns in the same direction as your baitcasting reel. That way, you’ll avoid line twists and possible tangles, which can lead to the whole process having to be done from the start.
If there’s no one to help you hole the new line reel, you can pull a pencil through the spool and wedge it between something (for instance, your knees) and let the spool spin on it as you reel the line on the baitcaster.
6. Keep constant tension on the line when spooling
If you don’t maintain tension on the line as you reel it onto the spool, you’ll have problems with loose loops, varying density between the loops, etc., causing difficulty while casting.
The easiest way to maintain tension on the line is by pinching it between your fingers just above the baitcasting reel. When you start turning the handle and reeling the line on, hold just enough pressure to keep the line under tension, but not as much to make it hard to reel.
If you get too much pressure on monofilament or fluoro line while spooling, you might have problems with inconsistent casting, as they tend to stretch under tension. That’s why it’s key not to overstretch them while reeling them on the reel.
7. Start turning the reel handle
The line is now tightly tied around the spool of your reel, placed properly to avoid twists and pinched to maintain tension. That means you’re ready to start turning the handle. Do it slowly enough to see what’s going on, but fast enough not to lose tension.
You should fill it up until there’s a 3-4 mm gap between the line and the edge of the spool. Having too much or too little line on the reel will deprive you of precision and distance while casting, so it’s important to have just enough line on the reel, even if you’ll rarely use the entire line.
8. Get the line through all the rod guides
After you’re satisfied with how much line is on the reel, pull the end through all the rod guides (also known as the eyes). After pulling it through the last rod, leave yourself a meter of line hanging and tie a lure or a hook at the end right away before releasing tension from the line.
This will help keep just enough tension to prevent the line from backing up out of the guides and onto the reel. And voila! You’ve successfully put a fishing line on a baitcasting reel.
How Much Line Should Be on a Baitcaster?
There’s some disagreement between anglers about how much line should be on a baitcaster reel. Some say you should fill it up, while others say you should only go half capacity. However, both these assumptions are wrong, and we’ll explain why.
Filling your baitcaster all the way up is wrong for two reasons. One, you’ll never use that much line. Two, you only risk the line slipping to the sides and tangling up. On the other hand, leaving it only half-spooled, as some anglers do, will limit how far you can cast and how precise each cast will be.
The best you can do is fill the baitcasting reel until there’s a 3-4 mm (around ⅛ of an inch) gap between the edge of the spool and the line. That keeps the line in place and gives you the best casting performances you can get.
It’s a lot of line, though, so you should think about the expenses. we love using a braided line for baitcasting because it’s the most durable, but as you know, it costs more. That’s why we use old monofilament as a base layer to around ¼ of the reel’s capacity. Then, you tie it to the braided line with an arbor knot and keep spooling until full.
You’ll never get that far into your line to get to the monofilament, and you’ll save some expenses on the more expensive line. Plus, if you use a braided line without a base monofilament or fluorocarbon layer, it tends to get stuck and cut into itself, leading to tangles.
Can You Put too Much Line on a Baitcasting Reel?
Nothing will happen right away if you fill up your baitcasting reel all the way to the top, leaving no gap between the line and the edge of the reel. However, as you cast, you’ll notice the difference in performance you’ll get.
If there’s too much line on the reel, it will start producing this odd clicking sound while you’re casting. The casting distance will suffer, and friction can cause the line to loop up and twist, especially if it falls to one side while reeling it back on.
Be careful about backlash, too. One way to easily prevent backlashes and tangles from happening is to adjust your baitcasting reel’s spool tension knob. The spool tension knob determines how much force is needed to get your spool to rotate.
You’ll know it’s loose enough when you see your lire or hook slowly falling when the line is released. If you feel like the spool is overrunning, there’s another knob you can adjust called the brakes. Getting the perfect setup will give you the highest chance to be successful while fishing.