How To

How to Spool Your Fishing Reel by Hand (Manual Method)


My entire life, I have spooled my own reels manually. I learned this skill at a very young age, and the only requirement needed for it is good hand-eye coordination. My process as it goes:

1 – Pull all old line off by hand, or by machine (drill is perfect). Ball up old line to dispose safely, or to burn.

2 – Save the reel’s remaining 50 to 75-yard section of line for your new backing. The reality of line is you’re never really going to use this segment to begin with. You’re always going to go through the top 100-yards till it’s time to re-spool, anyways.

3 – Fuse backing line and fresh line together with reliable knot such as double-uni or RP knot.

4 – With rod and reel setup in both hands, and spool of line to the floor (positioned vertically to rotate) supported by a pen or pencil pegged between your two feet an inch off the floor, proceed to spool. Never change position of spool, to maintain smoothness on reel.

5 – Pressure is needed to apply to line before it reaches spool of reel. With index finger and thumb on rod hand, pinch line as it passes through. Fill the reel and continue until the top 1/8th of an inch of spool is reached. Done.

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Andrew Ragas splits time between the Chicago area and Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Based in Minocqua, WI, he specializes in trophy bass fishing and offers guided trips from May thru October. Visit online at

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