How much line to put on spinning reel: 3 Must know Factors

Importance of putting the right amount of line on a spinning reel:

The amount of fishing line you put on a spinning reel plays a critical role in your fishing performance. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario; different fishing techniques and priorities require varying amounts of line. Sometimes, the focus is on casting distance, while in other instances, it’s about different priorities, and your gear and line quantity need to adapt accordingly.

If you don’t have enough line, you might miss the opportunity to land a big catch. On the other hand, having too much line can lead to knots and tangles that can damage your rod guides.

So, the big question is how much yards of fishing line should you put on a spinning reel? Well, most reels typically recommend around 200 yards of line, but here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Fishing lines are often sold in 150- or 300-yard spools, which might not match your reel’s recommendations perfectly. To overcome this, you can use what’s known as filler line.

As a general rule of thumb, you should stop filling the spool when you’re about 1/4 inch from the edge.

  • Too much line = Increased wind knots
  • Too little line = Decreased casting distance

QUICK TIP:  Start with a very affordable, cheap line to get things going. Then, top it off with the high-quality line you prefer. This strategy not only saves you money but also ensures that you have enough good line to catch all the fish your heart desires.

Consequences of over-filling line:

Overfilling your spinning reel spool with an excessive amount of fishing line can result in various problems, such as wind knots, loop knots, and difficulties with line management. When you cast with an overfilled spool, the line tends to peel off in various layers simultaneously. Occasionally, all the layers above the spool lip come off together, getting entangled on the reel or becoming jammed in one of the rod guides. This can create a messy situation that you’ll likely need to resolve by cutting the tangled line, and it can even lead to the line breaking due to the force generated by these knots.

In certain situations, the abrupt stop caused by the tangled line jamming in a guide can cause your fishing rig or expensive lure to be propelled into the water, where it may be irretrievable. This can be especially frustrating and financially costly


When using braided line, overfilled spools can lead to the line unexpectedly unraveling, often unbeknownst to the angler. This can result in the line snagging a finger, potentially causing severe cuts, especially when you’ve loaded up for a powerful cast with a heavy rig.


Wind knots can affect monofilament lines, they are more troublesome when dealing with braided lines. Some fishing line companies may claim that their braided lines are immune to wind knots, but in reality, complete prevention is not guaranteed. While features designed to reduce the occurrence of wind knots can be helpful, they are not foolproof.

What is wind knot? In fishing, “wind knots” are not actually knots or tangles induced by the wind itself. Rather, they refer to knots or tangles that develop within the fishing line during the casting and retrieval process, particularly when using spinning reels. Although these knots may appear as if they are a result of windy conditions, they are not caused by the weather.

Consequences of under-filling line

Under-filling your fishing reel’s spool can have immediate and significant consequences on your fishing experience. When your spool lacks the right amount of line, you’ll notice several issues:

Impacts casting Performance:

Because an under-filled spool creates more friction and inconsistency in the distance between the line layers and the spool lip. This increased friction not only hampers your casting distance but can also affect casting accuracy.

More wear on line and spool lip:

The extra friction generated by an under-filled spool can lead to more wear on both your fishing line and the spool lip. While spool lips are generally smooth, excessive friction and heat can accelerate wear and reduce the lifespan of your equipment.

Risk of Losing Fish:

Hooking a trophy fish is a rare and exciting moment for anglers. However, an under-filled spool can be your downfall when you hook a substantial catch and don’t have enough line to handle its powerful run, even at the maximum drag pressure your reel can provide. Losing a trophy catch due to an under-filled spool is particularly disheartening because it could have been avoided.

Imagine:  You’re out fishing with a 15-pound monofilament line on your 3000 spinning reel, and suddenly, you hook a massive 25-pound drum, a real catch of a lifetime.

Now, here’s the issue: you only have 55 yards of line on your spool when you should have at least three times that amount.

With your drag set at 30%, the drum is still running hard, showing no signs of slowing down.

 At this point, you’re faced with a tough decision:


You could increase the drag to try to slow down the fish’s run. But this move comes with a significant risk, the line might snap under the increased pressure….!


You can choose to let the drum run and hope it stops before it completely depletes the line on your spool…!

Properly filling your spool becomes evident in situations like this, where having the right amount of line can make the difference between a successful catch or, losing the fish.

If you had the appropriate amount of line on your spool, you’d have the time needed to play the fish at a modest drag setting.


With an under-filled spool, you run a high risk of losing that fish.

Importance of line pressure:

When you’re spooling your fishing reel, it’s important to apply the right amount of tension to the line. If you don’t use enough tension from the start, you might not fill your spool properly, and that’s a problem. Here’s why: A well-spooled reel should have each layer of line sitting neatly on top of the previous one. But if you’re inconsistent with the tension, it’s like having some layers that are too tight and others that are too loose.


When you cast and retrieve your line, this inconsistent layering can cause problems. The loose layers underneath might press down on the tight ones, leading to the line cutting into itself. This can damage your line and lead to tangles. Plus, it can affect your casting, making it less accurate and reducing the distance you can cast.

So, what you need is even and consistent spooling pressure. This way, each layer of line sits nicely on top of the one before it. When you cast and retrieve, everything moves smoothly, and you’re less likely to get knots or damage your line.

From my experience, I can tell you that taking the time to spool your reel properly with the right tension will make your fishing trips more enjoyable and successful. It’s a small detail, but it can have a big impact on your overall experience.

Keeping in view different types of fishing line:

Different types of fishing lines come with their unique properties. Manufacturers specify the amount of mono or braided line you can spool on your reel, mainly because of the difference in their diameter and how much space they occupy on the spool.

 However, it’s not always straightforward.

Even lines with the same strength and type may have slightly different diameters, depending on the manufacturer. Braided lines, in particular, can dig into the spool, which is why some reels are marked as “braid ready.”

 This means you can spool them with braided line exclusively. Otherwise, you might need to use a mono backing before adding the braid.

 The ratio between the two (mono and braid) depends on the angler’s preference. Some go as high as 80% braid, while others stay below 40%.

How much braid to put on a spinning reel? Well, the amount of line you need can vary depending on the type of braided fishing line you’re using. It’s essential to choose a line that suits your reel, and the pound test plays a major role. The pound test indicates the line’s strength, which should match the weight of the fish you intend to catch. For instance, if you’re targeting 30-pound fish, you’ll need a line with a 30-pound test. Most people can use a 4-pound test line for lighter fish.

Monofilament is known for its resistance to wind knots and is generally cheaper. It’s forgiving in the sense that you can use a bit more without running into many problems. While, braided line on spinning reel, offers several advantages. Its thinner profile allows for longer casts, and it doesn’t stretch, making it easier to feel and hook fish. Braided line is also more durable. However, it requires more attention to avoid wind knots, which can quickly disrupt your fishing trip.

Amount of fishing line is technique specific:

Knowing how much line to put on your spinning reel is important, and it depends on your fishing technique.

Spool lips on reels can have different shapes, and this can make it challenging for beginners to figure out the perfect placement of the line when spooling. It’s vital to ensure that the upper layer of the line stays below the lip and doesn’t go over it.

TIP: 1

Leaving a 1/8-inch gap between the edge of the spool and the line, if you reduce this gap to 1/16 inch, you can increase your casting distance while still keeping it large enough to prevent significant knots.

TIP 2:

The size of your reel is also a factor to consider. If you’re using a smaller reel, you might get away with a 1/4-inch gap.

Whether you prioritize casting distance or reducing the risk of wind knots depends on your preferred fishing technique.

For bottom fishing:

For bottom fishing that I’ve learned through experience. It says that the length of line you use should be about four times greater than the depth where you plan to present your bait.

For example, if you’re fishing in waters that are about 20 feet deep, you’d want to have at least 80 feet of line on your reel. Having a bit of extra line is a good idea because fishing lines can sometimes get damaged or tangled, and having that extra length gives you some flexibility. You can always cut off the extra if you don’t need it.

However, there’s a catch.


 If your spinning reel has a small line capacity and you plan to fish in deeper waters, that can be a problem. So, it’s something to keep in mind when you’re choosing a reel. You want to make sure that your reel can hold enough line for the depths you intend to fish.

From my experience, this rule is a handy guideline to follow when setting up your fishing gear for bottom fishing. It ensures that you have enough line to reach the depths you’re targeting and account for any unexpected situations without running out of line. It’s a small but important detail in the world of fishing.

For inshore fishing:

For inshore fishing, having around 100 yards of line is often considered optimal for the majority of anglers.


Well, the water depth you’ll encounter in inshore fishing is usually not deeper than 100 feet, and this is where that 100 yards of line comes into play.

Having this amount of line is usually more than enough for inshore fishing. Most average inshore reels are designed to accommodate this length of line without compromising their casting abilities. So, with 100 yards of line on your reel, you’re well-prepared for the typical scenarios you’ll encounter in inshore fishing.

For offshore fishing:

Offshore fishing involves tackling huge fish, navigating open waters, facing great depths, and using large lures with heavy equipment.

From my experience and knowledge, here’s what you should know:

Offshore reels are built to handle a lot of line length, even though the lines themselves are heavy and have larger diameters. When you’re out in the open water, you need plenty of line to deal with the powerful fish you’ll encounter.

In offshore fishing, it’s not uncommon for anglers to spool over 800 yards, and in some cases, even up to 1000 yards, depending on the fishing conditions.

 Fish such as tuna can run for long distances, and you might need a huge length of line before you even start reeling them in. While you might not use the entire line length, in the world of offshore fishing, it’s a possibility.

For offshore spinning reels designed for this kind of fishing, they can usually hold up to 500 yards, which is ample for most offshore scenarios, except for offshore trolling. Spooling your reel with 500 yards typically means you’re filling it to its maximum certified capacity, which is perfect for techniques like drop fishing in deep water. But they don’t necessarily represent the maximum capacity of your reel.

 If you find that your reel can’t accommodate at least a similar amount of line, it might be time to consider upgrading to a more suitable reel for your desired offshore fishing technique.

When trolling:

Trolling, which is a different ballgame compared to shore fishing, involves a completely unique set of considerations, especially when it comes to the length of your fishing line. Unlike shore fishing where casting distance matters, trolling focuses on covering a wide area while moving through the water.


Filling up the entire spool of your reel might seem like the logical thing to do, but in trolling, that’s not the right approach.


 You need to think about several factors like;

  • Your trolling speed
  • The weight of your lure and rig
  • The depth at which you’re fishing
  • Last but not the least, the diameter of your fishing line.

These factors are all interrelated and have a significant impact on the success of your trolling expedition.

The length of line you let out behind your boat is crucial for achieving the desired lure depth and presentation. It’s not a matter of simply spooling hundreds of yards of line and hoping that letting out a few more yards will make your lure sink deeper.

Trolling requires precision.

In this style of fishing, you typically need a minimum of around 150 yards of line on your spool. Anything less than this poses a risk that you might not have enough line when you hook a fish.


 Losing a fish due to insufficient line can be a frustrating and potentially costly experience.

From my own fishing experience, I can tell you that successful trolling involves careful planning and a good understanding of how line length and other variables work together to help you catch more fish. It’s a different strategy, but when done right, it can be very effective.

Does the Reel Size Matters?

Choose an appropriately sized reel for your intended use. Larger reels can accommodate more line, but smaller reels may be more suitable for finesse techniques.

how to add fishing line to spinning reel

To spool line on a spinning reel correctly and effectively, follow these steps:

Ensure Adequate Line Capacity:

 Always make sure you have the right amount of line on your reel. It’s recommended to have at least a hundred yards of line, ensuring you have enough for your fishing needs.

Open the Bail:

 Before starting to spool the line, remember to open the bail on your spinning reel. This step is crucial to allow the line to be wound onto the spool.

Tie the Line to the Reel:

To tie the line to the reel, you don’t need a complicated knot. Follow these steps:

  • Loop the line around the spool.
  • Tie an overhand knot by looping the tag end over the main line.
  • Tie another overhand knot in the same manner.
  • Pull the knots tight, securing the line to the spool.

Trim Excess Line:

 After tying the knots, trim the tag end of the line as close as possible to the spool. This prevents it from interfering with the line coming off the reel.

Use Tape for Added Security.

 Consider using a small piece of tape (like sticker tape from the spool) over the knots on the spool. This provides added security to ensure the knots don’t slip.

Wind the Line Onto the Spool:

  • Ensure the label on your line spool is facing up. This label orientation will dictate the direction the line comes off the spool. Typically, it should be in a clockwise direction, which matches the way it will be wound onto the reel.
  • Hold the line coming off the spool tightly and keep your reel’s drag setting down.
  • Pinch the line between your fingers while slowly winding it onto the reel. Be careful not to wind too fast to avoid burning your fingers.
  • Wind the line onto the reel until the spool is adequately filled, ensuring that it’s not overfilled.

 Cut the Line:

 Once your spinning reel is fully spooled, cut the line from the spool.

Regular Line Replacement:

Keep track of your line’s age and condition. Replace it as needed to maintain its strength and performance. An annual line change is a good general guideline, but more frequent changes may be necessary if you fish heavily.

Is a 100-yard length of fishing line sufficient?

When it comes to determining if 100 yards of fishing line is enough, it largely depends on the type of fish you’re targeting and your fishing conditions. The question isn’t just about the length but also the strength and type of line you’re using;  Different fish species have varying sizes and behaviors. If you’re fishing for smaller fish like panfish or trout, 100 yards of line may be more than sufficient. However, if you’re targeting larger species like bass, pike, or catfish, you might need more line, especially if you anticipate a challenging fight.

Your fishing environment plays a crucial role. If you’re fishing in open waters where fish can make long runs, you may need more line to allow them to run without the risk of running out of line. In contrast, if you’re fishing in a confined area or around structures, you may not need as much line.

The line’s pound test (strength) is equally important. Heavier fish require stronger lines. If you’re using lighter lines, you may need more yard-age to handle larger fish.

Your fishing technique matters.

 If you’re trolling or using downriggers, you may need longer lines to cover a wider area. If you’re casting from shore, you might not need as much line length.

For instance, if you’re after lunker bass in heavy cover, you’d want to use heavy line (e.g., 20-30-pound test) to handle the fish and prevent it from escaping into obstacles. In such cases, 100 yards may be more than enough.


Q] What are the signs that indicate the fishing line is too much?

ANS] Determining when the line on your spinning reel is too much can be essential for preventing issues like tangles, casting problems, damage to your equipment, difficulty in line management, inefficient retrieval, loss of sensitivity, increased risk of knots

Q] What is Line capacity?

Ans] Most modern reels come with the recommended line length and size, either in pound test or line diameter, marked on the spool. For older reels without this information, you should spool enough line so that it reaches almost to the edge of the spool’s upper section but doesn’t extend beyond it.  Overfilling the spool will become evident quickly, as the line will slip over the top, leading to tangles and knots. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding line diameter and length and keeping the line within the spool’s edges is a good way to get started.

About Haseeb

Haseeb, a 35-year-old fishing angler, has dedicated 20 years to perfecting his craft. His passion for fishing was sparked at the age of 15 when his father instilled in him a love for the sport. Since then, Haseeb has immersed himself in the world of angling, acquiring extensive practical experience and a deep understanding of fishing techniques. With certifications, tournament wins, and a commitment to academic pursuits, Haseeb's expertise shines through as he continues to excel in various fishing environments, driven by his unwavering enthusiasm and genuine love for the sport

1 thought on “How much line to put on spinning reel: 3 Must know Factors”

Leave a Comment