How To Spool A Baitcaster Reel

For anglers such as myself who didn’t grow up with the bait caster, spooling it can be quite a daunting task.

It’s a reel notorious for being fickle in inexperienced hands and can cause quite the bird’s nest if improperly handled. Anglers often shun it even though it is an incredibly accurate and reliable platform. 

A bait caster will be free from line twists and malfunctions when spooled correctly. Spooling this reel is a straightforward process that can be accomplished in a few short steps without taking an exorbitant amount of time out of an angler’s day.

How To Spool A Baitcaster Reel
Source: Canva Pro


To spool a bait caster reel, anglers will need the following gear.

  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Line
  • Weight or tie-off point
  • Pencil
  • Cutting Tool
  • A table or workspace (with a clamp)
  • Optional: A friend 

Before You Start

The Knot

Getting the line onto the spool is the first and most crucial step an angler takes throughout this entire process. Keeping the night as small as possible to prevent entanglement later on, is very important.

The arbor knot is a simple one that consists of two overhand knots tied in tandem. The most challenging part of this knot is that it requires the angler to tighten the initial notch slowly, allowing for slippage of the line to get friction.


If not, it’s not the most important piece, then maintaining tension on the line certainly is. If done incorrectly, failing to keep tension on the line will result in spooling problems that include knots and loops.

We’ve all seen anglers get halfway through a cast, and then their line is jerked short by a malfunction inside the reel.

With bait casters, this problem only worsens; birds-nest, jerkiness, loss of accuracy, and even lures can occur from the improperly spooled line, all resulting from the failure to maintain tension.

Even the smallest of slips can cause the integrity of the line to be weakened and lead to malfunctions much later on. The adage measure twice cut once is applicable when spooling a bait caster.

The Step by Step Guide

Step 1

Ensure that the reel is attached to the rod and seated firmly. More than one novice angler had an open reel or rod screw up the entire spooling process.

Tighten down the seatings for the revolution, and ensure everything is working correctly. 

Insider Note: If the angler is re-spooling this reel, cleaning it before introducing a new line and ensuring that there are no blemishes is essential.

Applying a lubricant to ensure that everything is in working order and running smoothly can help expedite the re-spooling process.

Step 2

Feed the line through the first eyelet and into the worm guide in the front of the reel. This allows for tension to be kept in the bar while spooling.

During this time, a visual inspection of both the reel and the line is essential to ensure that all is as possible.

Step 3

Next, wrap the line around the spool and tie the arbor not. Tug on the mainline until both knots which comprise the arbor are down to the spool. Tension must be placed upon the line to ensure the knot is fully seated. 

Once this note is fully seated, trim the tag and or access line from the knot. This can cause malfunctions inside the reel and should be removed as close to night without damaging its integrity.

Step 4

Utilizing the pencil, poke it through the package filler hole in the spool and have either a friend hold it, or place it in a vice clamp that allows the spool to rotate. 

Step back a suitable distance to place tension on the line for a smooth spooling. Tension is the most critical piece in spooling the line.

Should any knots or loose strips of line come into play, the consequences can be far-reaching and incredibly detrimental to the angler.

Step 5

To eliminate line twists in any casting problems that may arise in the future, anglers should have their fishing line come off the filler spool the exact way it goes onto the reel.

A consistent and steady retrieval technique is necessary to maintain tension on the line and provide an even distribution across the entire reel face.

Anglers should hold the rod in the same spot or as close to the entirety of the retrieval to not cause any malfunctions in the line.

Step 6

The retrieval should continue until the line is approximately 1/8 of an inch from the top of the reel. This prevents the reel from being overfilled and causing problems with its ability to cast and retrieve. 

Once this is completed, the line should be trimmed close to the original spool of line and then threaded through each eyelet.

Braided Line

The braided line turns to tend to be popular among saltwater and freshwater anglers because of their ability to handle aggressive fish, lack of stretching, and robust design.

However, the braided line tends to be slick, bringing its own set of problems with it. Issues with drag, line slippage, backlash, and some of the most aggressive bird nests come from issues with braided lines.

To combat the issues with utilizing a braided line on a baitcaster, anglers should use a monofilament anchor called a backing before spooling the reel with a braided line.

Eating the monofilament line 1st through the worm guide and attaching it to the spool creates friction, which allows the braided line to connect better to the reel.

It only requires several turns of monofilament to coat the reel face before the braid can be fed onto the bait caster. 

Combining braided and monofilament lines can be complex. Still, both lines can be securely connected without fear of breakage or impediment to the reel’s performance by tying a double UNI knot

Spooling a bait caster reel by oneself can be a daunting task. For inexperienced anglers, the mere mention of a bait caster brings to mind images of birds’ nests and reel malfunctions. This, however, does not have to be the case.

When properly spoiled, a bait caster can be one of the most accurate and effective reels on the market today.

By following the steps and paying close attention to the minute details, such as keeping constant tension on the line and trimming off excess from knots, anglers will find themselves in fair winds and following seas. Best of luck, and as always, stay safe on the water. 

Jacob Pelle
Fishing Expert
Jake Pelle is a third-generation outdoorsman and Eagle Scout. He grew up fishing ponds and rivers in South Louisiana and Mississippi and graduated to fishing brackish/marsh and coastal waters for redfish, drum, and speckled trout. When not on a flat range, he can be found with rod and reel in hand searching for the next greatest fishing hole in South Louisiana.
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