Fishing is an enjoyable and relaxing activity. But not using the right amount of fishing line on the reel can quickly put a damper on a carefully planned day on the water.
So, how much fishing line to put on a reel? A general rule is to fill the reel with a line leaving a 1/8-inch gap between the edge of the spool and the outer layer of the fishing line. Keeping the reel at its maximum capacity is beneficial for many fishing styles. Using too much or too little line on a reel can affect fishing performance.
Keep reading to learn how much fishing line you need on a reel, depending on the type of fishing reel you’re using.
How Do You Know How Much Fishing Line You Need on a Reel?
Knowing how much fishing line to put on a reel is hard, especially for novice anglers. Most line manufacturing companies recommend anglers use 200 yards of the line when fishing.
But this might not be the right amount of fishing line for you. How much fishing line you’ll need to put on a fishing reel depends on the type of fish you’re targeting and the type of reel you’re using.
A spin-cast fishing reel uses tension from the line and centrifugal force to spin the handle and the spool. To put a line on a spin cast reel, you’ll have to unscrew and remove the reel’s cover.
When putting a line on a spin cast reel, fill the spool until 1/8 of an inch remains at the spool’s edge.
Spinning reels are the most popular type of fishing reel. Although spinning reels are more complicated to use than spin cast reels, they are more efficient and durable. Spinning reels are ideal for beginner anglers but are used by professionals too.
When putting a line on a spinning reel, fill the spool within 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch from the edge. Putting too much or too little line on a reel will affect the spinning reel’s performance.
Casting reels are the most sophisticated type of fishing reels. Powerful and precise, baitcasting reels are often used by experienced anglers.
A general rule is to put enough lines on a baitcasting fishing reel until there is a 1/8-inch gap between the top of the spool and the line.
Fly Fishing Reel
Of all fishing reels, a fly-fishing reel has the simplest design. A fly reel is just a drum on which anglers wind the fly line.
The most important thing to remember when putting a line on a fly reel is that the line shouldn’t touch the reel’s frame. Learning how much fishing line to put on a reel takes some trial and error, but you should leave a ¼-inch gap between the line and the reel’s frame.
Trolling reels are a heavier version of baitcasting reels with higher drag pressure and greater line capacity. As their name suggests, these reels are used for trolling and are also suitable for vertical jigging and bait fishing.
Freshwater anglers keep at least 150 yards of line on their reel when trolling. Saltwater trolling reels can hold 800 yards of heavy-duty line necessary for reeling in large game fish.
Surf Fishing Reel
Surf fishing reels are specially designed for the beach so anglers can cast far into the water where the fish are. A surf fishing reel has a larger spool to hold more lines and allows the line to move quickly and efficiently to increase the casting distance.
Most anglers rarely need more than 100 to 150 yards of line on a surf fishing reel. But you can lose up to 100 yards of the fishing line while battling a large fish, so choose a 250-to-300-yard line for surf fishing.
Disadvantages of Using Too Much Fishing Line
Knowing how many lines to put on a fishing reel can increase your casting distance. Using too many lines on a fishing reel can create an array of problems. Although not impossible to solve, resolving these issues takes time and will keep you from getting the most out of your fishing trip.
Wind knots are the most common and annoying problem associated with using too many fishing lines. Having too much line on the reel will greatly increase your chances of getting wind knots.
A wind knot is created by the excess slack line that has slipped from the reel’s arbor. The slack line forms a loop within the reel when the bail is closed.
When it’s time to cast the line, some anglers manage to cast away the looseness in the line, but more often than not, a knot, tangle, or snarl in the line is inevitable. Of all types of fishing lines, braided lines are the most likely to get tangled and knotted in the wind.
Other problems resulting from putting too much fishing line on the reel include:
- The line can slip from the reel easily, even when the rod and reel aren’t used
- The line can come off the reel too quickly when casting, which can shorten the casting distance or snap the line
- Putting too much fishing line on the reel causes twists, which affect the casting distance and the reloading of the spool during retrieval
Putting too much or too little fishing line on a reel can affect your performance. Using too much fishing line causes wind knots, while too little fishing line decreases the casting distance.
Knowing how much fishing line to put on a reel maximizes the reel’s capacity and increases your chances of landing a good catch. Leaving a 1/8-inch gap between the fishing line’s outer layer and the spool’s edge is recommended for most types of fishing reels.