How Much Line To Put On A Spinning Reel?

Last Updated on September 29, 2023

Are you wondering how much line to put on your spinning reel? Properly filling your spinning reel with the right amount of fishing line is essential for optimal performance and a successful fishing experience.

Whether you’re a beginner angler or a seasoned pro, understanding the factors that determine the appropriate line capacity is key to maximizing your reel’s potential. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to filling your spinning reel with the perfect amount of fishing line!

Understanding Line Capacity and Spool Size

Line capacity refers to the maximum amount of fishing line that a reel can hold. This capacity is influenced by the diameter and length of the line.

The spool size of a spinning reel plays a significant role in determining its line capacity. Spools come in different sizes, ranging from compact to larger ones. Smaller spools typically have lower line capacities, while larger spools can accommodate more lines. Each spinning reel model specifies its line capacity, usually measured in yards or meters for monofilament or braided lines.

If you plan to fish in open water or target larger fish that require long casts, you may need to fill your reel with more lines. On the other hand, if you’re fishing in confined spaces or targeting smaller fish, you may not need as much line.

Factors to Consider When Filling a Spinning Reel

Different techniques require varying line lengths. For example, if you’re casting long distances, you’ll need more lines compared to finesse techniques that require shorter casts.

Line thickness, also known as line diameter, is another factor to consider. Thicker lines occupy more space on the spool, which affects the overall line capacity. Thinner lines provide more capacity but may sacrifice some durability, while thicker lines offer added strength but reduce the overall line capacity.

If you frequently cast long distances, you may want to leave some room on the spool to ensure optimal casting performance. Overfilling the spool can lead to line tangling and decreased casting distance. On the other hand, if casting shorter distances or fishing in tight quarters, you may opt to fill the spool closer to its maximum capacity.

Leaving some room on the spool allows for better line control, reduces the chances of line tangling, and promotes smoother casting and retrieval. Some anglers prefer to have a bit more line on the spool for added flexibility, while others prefer a more precise amount based on specific fishing scenarios.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filling a Spinning Reel

Filling a spinning reel with the right amount of fishing line requires a systematic approach to ensure optimal performance on the water. Follow these steps to properly fill your spinning reel:

  1. Prepare your reel: Before filling your spinning reel, ensure that it is properly attached to your fishing rod and that the drag system is appropriately adjusted for your target species and fishing conditions.
  2. Choose the right line: Select the appropriate fishing line based on your fishing requirements and preferences. Consider factors such as line strength, diameter, and material.
  3. Attach the line: Begin by tying the line to the spool of your spinning reel using a secure knot, such as the arbor knot or the improved clinch knot. Leave a sufficient tag end to prevent slippage.
  4. Spool the line: Place the filler spool of the fishing line on a stable surface or secure it to prevent unnecessary line tension. Slowly and evenly begin winding the line onto the spool of your spinning reel. Use consistent tension to prevent line twists and tangles.
  5. Monitor the line capacity: As you spool the line onto the reel, periodically check the line capacity to ensure you are not overfilling or underfilling the spool. Leave approximately 1/8 inch or 3-4 millimeters of space between the line and the spool rim. This allows for proper line management and prevents line slippage.

When spooling the line, it’s important to maintain tension and avoid line twists and tangles. One technique is to apply light pressure on the line as it is being wound onto the spool. This helps prevent loose loops and ensures a consistent line lay. If you encounter any twists or tangles, pause and correct them before proceeding.

Line Management and Maintenance Tips

Line Management and Maintenance Tips

Proper line management and regular maintenance are crucial for maximizing the performance and lifespan of your fishing line. Follow these tips to ensure optimal line management:

  1. Regularly inspect your line: Check your fishing line for signs of wear, such as fraying, abrasions, or weak spots. Replace the line if you notice any damage that could compromise its strength and reliability.
  2. Monitor line memory: Over time, the fishing line may develop memory, causing it to retain the shape of the spool or reel. To reduce line memory, periodically strip the line off the reel and stretch it gently to remove any coils or twists.
  3. Maintain line tension: When not in use, keep tension on the line by closing the bail on your spinning reel or using line clips or bands. This prevents loose coils from forming and helps preserve the line’s casting performance.

Proper storage of your spinning reel and fishing line is essential for maintaining their integrity. Follow these recommendations:

  1. Clean and dry your gear: After each fishing trip, rinse your reel with fresh water to remove salt, sand, or debris that could cause corrosion or damage. Thoroughly dry the reel and line before storing them to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
  2. Store in a cool, dry place: Find a cool, dry area to store your spinning reel and fishing line. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, or excessive humidity, as these can degrade the line’s quality and weaken its strength.
  3. Use line spoolers or holders: To prevent tangling and maintain proper line tension during storage, consider using line spoolers or holders designed for fishing lines. These tools help keep your line organized and prevent unnecessary twists or knots.


How do I know if my spinning reel has too much line?

Casting reels should measure between an eighth of an inch and all the way to the top. If you put too much line on them, you’ll get an unusual sound when casting. Spinning reels should be completely full, all the way to the top. The line can bounce off the spool in coils if you put too much on them.

How much backing line should I use before adding my main fishing line?

Typically, filling the spool about 1/8 inch (3-4 mm) from the edge with backing line is recommended. This provides a base for your main fishing line.

Can I change my line’s capacity by using a different diameter or type of line?

Switching to a thinner line might allow you to put more line on the reel, but it’s crucial to stay within the reel’s recommended capacity to avoid problems.

Should I fill the entire spool with the main fishing line?

It’s not necessary to fill the spool entirely. Leave about 1/8 inch (3-4 mm) of the spool lip exposed to avoid line-related issues.

What happens if I overfill my spinning reel with line?

Overfilling can result in line twisting and tangling, causing casting issues and potential backlash during retrieval.


Remember, each fishing scenario may require different line capacities, so it’s essential to assess your specific needs and preferences. Experiment with different line amounts and adjust accordingly to find the setup that works best for you.

Thank you for joining this journey of understanding how much line to put on a spinning reel. I hope this guide has provided you with the knowledge and confidence to make the most out of your fishing adventures. Tight lines and happy angling!

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