How to String a Fishing Rod

Newbie or beginner fishermen often struggle with “stringing” a fishing rod. There is more than one way to load the reel. First, you must get acquainted with the type of fishing reels available on the market.

Once you know how reels differ, you must learn the correct stringing technique for the spindle you plan to use. This post is about how to string a fishing rod.

Types of Fishing Reels and How to String Them on a Fishing Rod

1. Spincast Fishing Reel

Spincast fishing reel is an upgrade to the traditional baitcasting reel (discussed further). It was first introduced in 1949 by Denison-Johnson Reel Company. This type of reel provides additional stability while retrieving the catch. The device shown in the below image is the Abu Garcia Abumatic spincast reel.


As you can see in the picture, a large wire bail and line roller (found in spinning reels) are replaced with a compact metal cup. Needless to say, this cup is meant to house thinner fishing lines. The fishing line threads out of the metal cup via a small hole.

The spincast mechanism also includes a push-button placed behind the reel. For casting forward, simply press this button, and let go of it when you have enough line in the water. The ease of use of a spincast reel makes it the best choice for newbie or beginner fishers.

How to String a Spincast Fishing Reel

Step 1:

Whether you are planning to spool or re-spool a spin casting reel, it is always recommended that you check the line capacity and gear ratio of the coil. Threading a line with a capacity higher or lower than recommended would destabilize the tip of the rod.

Step 2:

Remove the cap of the reel by unscrewing it. In some cases, you might also need a screwdriver to unscrew the metal cap.

Step 3:

Next, make sure there is no spare line left in the reel. Take the fishing line and tie it around the coil. Make one or two overhand knots. Make sure the two knots are an inch apart.

Step 4:

Next, re-screw the cap. Begin spooling a reel with the crank handle. Continue spooling until you reach the line holding capacity of the coil. Generally, spin casting rods do not contain more than 100 yards of line.

2. Spinning Fishing Reel

A spinning reel is designed for anglers who wish to cast long-distance. Generally, saltwater fishers use this reel as the ocean is much deeper than a river or a lake. Also, the larger casing of a spinning reel can hold medium to heavy power fishing lines. In short, if you wish to catch bigger game fish, go for a spinning reel.

As you can see in the image above, the spinning reel (also known as fixed-spool) is mounted below the rod. Hence, the center of gravity of the rod remains low, which frees up the anger from the task of maintaining the reel in position.

When it comes to dealing with the problem of backlash, the spinning reel does not do as good of a job relative to the spin casting reel. There is always a chance of the line getting trapped underneath itself and forming a “birds nest.” Although, manufacturers have introduced advanced spinning reels with oscillating spool mechanisms.

How to String a Spinning Fishing Reel

Step 1:

The first step in stringing a fishing reel is always to check the line capacity and gear ratio of the rod. The information is most likely to be found on the reel case.

Step 2:

Once you have the appropriately rated fishing line, take one end of the line and tie an overhand knot. Wrap the string on top of the reel and tie another overhand knot. Make sure the two knots are apart by an inch.

You want to tie the line to the reel as tightly as possible. You can use other tying methods as well.

Step 3:

Finally, hold the rod up and begin spooling by rotating the crank handle. Rotate till you reach the line holding capacity of the reel. The line holding capacity of a spinning rod is much higher than that of a spin casting rod.

3. Baitcasting Fishing Reel

The construction and the mechanism of the baitcasting reel are far more sophisticated than the ones discussed earlier. It is also known as a revolving-spool reel or multiplying reel. The reason being, one revolution of the crank handle results in multiple revolutions of the spool.

As you can see from the image above, the reel mechanism is mounted above the rod. Although the reel’s position is on top of the rod, the casing is smaller and flatter than that spinning or fly reel. Hence, it does not interfere with the fishermen’s work.

A baitcasting reel is meant for fishers who wish to catch bigger game fish with a medium to heavy power fishing line. This reel enables easy and quick retrieval, but it is prone to backlashing, primarily when used by inexperienced anglers.

How to String a Baitcasting Fishing Reel

Step 1:

Stringing a baitcasting reel is much more robust than the ones discussed earlier in this post. To spool a baitcasting reel, you might need someone to hold the line spiller for you or attach the reel on a spooling station.

Step 2:

On one hand of the spooling station, you must attach the reel, and the other side will have the arrangement to place the line spiller. As you can see in the image above, the line spiller can easily be hooked on to the three screws.

Step 3:

Next, wrap the line around the reel and tie an overhand knot. Tie one more overhead knot an inch apart.

Step 4:

Now begin spooling by rotating the crank handle of the spooling station.

4. Fly Fishing Reel

A flywheel has one of the most straightforward mechanisms of casting and retrieving lines in and out of the water. It does not have a crank handle. The angler is supposed to strip the line off the reel (shaped like a flywheel) with the stronger hand and cast the rod with the weaker hand.

As you can see from the image above, the line is free to flow smoothly without any chances of backlash or a possibility of the formation of a “birds nest.” A fly reel provides smooth, uninterrupted drag when a fish bites a bait and is trying to get away with the lure.

The fish thinks it is getting away with the lure, but in fact, it is slowly being dragged out of the water. You must also know that a fly reel is one of the oldest fishing reels out there. These days most anglers prefer using an automatic fly reel equipped with a coiled spring mechanism.

How to String a Fly Fishing Reel

Step 1:

For this step, you might need a screwdriver and a plier. Unscrew the flywheel from the rod. Flywheels are incredibly flexible when it comes to line capacity. Still, it is recommended to check the label for such information.

Step 2:

Next, place the flywheel on a desk with the crank handle (if applicable) facing up. Insert the line from the top side in a counterclockwise direction.

Step 3:

After about 2-3 rotations, tie the loose end and the standing line to form an arbor knot.

Tie the same knot again on top of the first arbor knot. Trim the excess line.

Step 4:

Next, when you pull the standing line, the arbor knot will slide in the flywheel’s direction. Now, you have flexibly wrapped the line around the flywheel.

Step 5:

Lastly, hold the flywheel in one hand and begin spooling with the other hand. Use the crank handle to rotate. If the flywheel does not have a crank handle, insert one side of a pen in the flywheel and use it as a handle.


Fundamentally, loading a reel with a fishing line is quite similar in all types of reels. It’s just some reels that need to be detached from the rod, especially the baitcasting rod. If you are planning to invest more time in this hobby, I recommend learning more than one way to spool. Equipment like a spooling station can make things easy.

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