How to spool a Baitcaster

Spooling line onto your baitcaster does not simply entail winding line onto the spool as quickly as possible. Having poorly spooled reel with poor alignment is eventually going to end up as a mess of line and tangles sitting atop your baitcaster with the bass chuckling beneath you. Maybe no one has ever shown you how to put line on a baitcaster or give you some pro tips. We are about to change that.

In this article, we will take a look at the proper way of spooling your baitcaster. The method is simple enough, but it’s important to do it correctly or risk dealing with the problem on the water when you should be working fish. We will look at some the various steps of spooling a baitcaster, including the use of backing, knots for certain lines used, spooling efficiently, and several tips in between.

How to Put Line on a Baitcaster: Step by Step Guide

So we have gone through all of the different aspects of spooling a baitcaster. Before we wrap up this article, we wanted to provide a step by step guiding you on how to put line on a baitcaster reel.

  1. If using monofilament, attach the mono to the braided line using a double uni knot.
  2. Set up your baitcaster so that it is level with the spool of line that you will be using. The spool should be set up so that it can rotate freely when reeling line onto the reel’s spool.
  3. Pass the line that will be attached to the spool through the level wind, under and then over the spool and tie an arbor knot. Be sure to trim the tag. You can also pass the line through the eyelets of the line guides if you are spooling with the reel on the butt end blank.
  4. While keeping the line tight, begin reeling at a decent and constant speed. The level wind on the reel should be the line being spooled evenly across the entire width of the spool.
  5. Continue spooling the line until it reaches app. 1/8” from the top of the spool mounts. You can add more, but be sure that the spool can rotate without touching any other part of the reel body.
  6. Once the reel is fully spooled, you can leave enough line to thread through the rod guides and go ahead and tie on a lure.
  7. Hit the water!

3 Tips – How to spool a Baitcaster

Do you need a mono backing to line a bait caster?
If you are planning on using braided line, you should consider using a backing of monofilament that is attached to the reel. The reason for this is because of the slickness of braid. Braided line attached to an aluminum spool can slip, causing the drag to perform poorly when the line is running out towards the end of the spool. This backing of monofilament holds the reel easier and even if the line is run out, you should still have a functioning drag system.

Now, if you’re spooling with anything else other than braid, mono backing is not going to be needed.

Another reason a lot of people have mono backing with braid or fluorocarbon is if they are using larger reels and do not want to spend the extra money to fill the spool completely with that line. Using 100 yards of monofilament with an expensive braid allows you to fill up the reel so that casting and other reel performance is not affected.

When it comes to how to put line on a baitcaster reel, there is some discussion in the fishing world if this is necessary to have mono backing. There is a small chance that you are going to have a fish that can take the entirety of the line of the spool when fighting it. Our thoughts are that this almost never happens unless you are chasing after fish with equipment that was not intended to handle that size.

The Knots

The type of knot that you should use spooling a baitcaster is going to depend on the type of line that you are using on your reel. If you decide that you need to add a monofilament backing or are spooling your baitcaster with mono, a simple arbor knot should be used for attachment. This is an easy knot to tie and added pressure on the knot only tightens it.

An arbor knot will work for attaching braid to a spool as well, but we recommend a mono backing if there is no gripped surface on the spool for braided line. It’s really up to you how much monofilament backing you have on the spool. If you just want a to mono attached to keep the line from slipping, then you only need around 10 yards. If you are putting mono backing on to fill up more of the reel, you can get up to 50 or more yards.

If you are using a mono backing, you are going to have to attach your braided line to the mono backing before spooling. Our favorite knot to use for this is a double uni-knot. It’s a bit more complicated than the arbor knot, and you might have to practice a few times before you get a knot that you are comfortable with. We love this knot because it is low profile and if you happen to get taken down to the mono backing, it won’t get hung up in any of the guide eyelets. We also love this knot because it keeps the mono and braid in perfect alignment without any kinks. Of course, it’s also a strong knot.

As we have discussed, a lot of anglers love to use a fluorocarbon leader when fishing clear water. You might not add the leader until you’re on the water, but if you’re already there, you might as well go ahead and add it to your outfit. For attaching a fluorocarbon leader to braided line, we think a simple Palomar knot is the most effective means of attachment.

If you’re attaching backing to your line before spooling, we find it easier to connect the two before spooling, then tie the backing onto the reel before spooling all of the line. This is, of course, a personal preference and you will eventually determine your stance on this.

When learning how to line a bait caster, understanding these simple concepts and knot types are not only going to make the initial process easier, but will lead to less frustration on the water.


When you think of how to put line on a baitcaster reel, most imagine this step. Spooling line onto your reel is not a difficult task, but there are some important tips that can make it much easier and reduce frustrations you will have when on the water.

One tip that greatly helps is to have the spool of line positioned so that it is level with the reel being spooled and have it positioned so that it can rotate freely while reeling in with the reel handle. This is going to help lay line down evenly across the entirety of the spool. There are several tools that are available for this and some home remedies as well.

However you do it, it is also important that there is tightness to the line as it is coming onto the spool. Slack line going on to the spool is a good way to introduce tangles and knots deep in the spool and if not corrected will eventually reduce the amount of line that you can get on as well as hurt casting performance. With baitcasters, slack line on your reel is going to greatly increase the chances for dreaded backlash.

With some of the commercial stands for spooling, they make it very easy, but if you are going with a homemade design, you might need to keep your off hand on the line just before it comes in the reel. Add a little pressure with your thumb and finger to the line coming in to keep a tight and even lay. It might also help to have the reel attached to the butt end piece of the rod blank that should have two or three guides on the blank. Running the line through the guide eyelets will help keep everything in line as you spool.

With a baitcaster, the level wind should lay line down evenly across the entirety of the reel without any of your assistance. Still be sure to keep plenty of tightness on the line as you reel line onto the spool.

For baitcasters, spool your line up to a 1/8” from the top of the spool mounts on either side of the spool. Make sure that the spooled line is completely clear from the surrounding reel and adjust until the spool can rotate freely. The type of line is going to impact the amount that can be spooled. You are going to be able to get more 20lb braided line on your spool than you will 20lb monofilament.

Don’t Overspool

It’s human nature always to try to get a little more of something we need or want. A problem we often see with anglers learning how to spool a baitcaster is they add more line than the reel is meant to hold. When you’re done, you might have a sense of satisfaction that you got a little more line on there, but that feeling will not last long once you get out onto the water.


Understanding how to spool a baitcasting reel and executing it, as you will soon see, is a simple task and after a few rounds, you’ll be a pro at it. You might even find yourself looking forward to the task, where you can let your mind wander to the next day’s trip on the water and that trophy fish you know you’ll hook into. Even with its simplicity, understanding how to line a bait caster correctly is a critical aspect of successful fishing and we hope this article makes the process even easier.