I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

• Back To Basics: Spooling A Baitcaster

Visitors to the blog have landed here looking for instructions on how to spool a baitcaster and have ended up on the post for spooling a spincast reel. This post is for you.

Like most people, I have my own way of doing things. Some anglers spool up a baitcaster differently than I do. I used to run line off of a plain spool either resting on the floor or from a stick/pencil/rod holding the spool in place. I now use the Plano Spool Box and it makes life much easier. When I start spooling a brand new reel, I sometimes run the line out to my max casting distance and count a rough estimate of the number of cranks it takes to spool that distance up on the reel. After that, all I have to do is count crank turns on every subsequent refill. Couple that approach with a Plano Spool Box and you'll never go back to doing things any other way. By the way, I don't recommend the Spool Tool.

If you need visuals to help explain the following steps, scroll down to the bottom and view the Flash-based slide show.

Take the end of the line from the spool and run it up through the last line guide at the end of your rod and then through each of the other guides moving towards the reel. Then run the line through the line guide on the reel across the levelwind. For some, this part can be somewhat tedious because it doesn't look like fingers were meant to work on baitcasters anywhere between the spool and the levelwind. I have some extra line set aside with a loop tied at the end that I can run under the spool and out the front through the line guide to assist in running line back through the guide and under the reel's spool. I can run the end of my new line inside the loop and then pull it all through together easily without having to dig around for the end once it's through. Otherwise, a good pair of hemostats are narrow enough to get in there and grip the line so you can work with it. Companies actually sell products that do this and I'm sitting here using some extra fishing line saving myself five bucks.

Once you've run the line through the line guide and under the spool on the reel, you're going to want to tie an arbor knot or a slip knot. Other sites have great illustrations for tying the arbor knot.
Here's a decent look at an arbor knot:

Here's how I tie my arbor knot. Take the free end of line and run it under the reel's spool and then over the top of the reel's spool making a loop or U-shape around the spool. If your reel's spool has holes bored into it (to cut down on weight), make sure not to accidentally run the line into one of the holes. After I make a loop around the spool, I tie an overhand knot with the free end around the main line coming through the line guide. The line will slip right off the spool if not secured properly. Imagine your lure flying through the air on a cast, but the line keeps going and flies out along with your lure. Wave bye bye. Yeah. You don't want that. Once I cinch that knot down tight, I also tie an additional overhand knot on the free end so that the arbor knot won't ever slip. I tie it as close as I can to the arbor knot. Then I snip the extra free end of line with scissors, making sure to cut as close as I can to the small overhand knot. Next, I pull the arbor knot nice and snug down against the spool on the reel. It shouldn't slip at all. The secure knot should also not be sticking up too high. If it is, you either didn't tie it close enough to the arbor knot or you left too much line hanging off the end when you cut the loose end off. Make the necessary corrections before moving on.

I have edited this post and included a slide show at the bottom illustrating most of the steps I just explained. The link I posted for the arbor knot has a decent picture aside from a long tag end sticking out in step 2 and 3. The individual photos in the slide show are also available in my Myspace photo album.

Let's fill 'er up.

Now hold the rod and reel as if you're going to use it. Place some tension on the line with your thumb and forefinger a few inches just in front of the reel, above the foregrip of the rod. As you begin to crank, the line should start gripping against the spool and filling immediately. If it doesn't, adjust the amount of tension you have on the line with your fingers, whether it be more or less. Some spools are slippery and a little give is necessary to get it going around the spool. Begin filling the spool and keeping tension on the line the whole time. Some say to fill the spool until there is only about 1/8 of an inch of space from the edge. Some people use cheap line or monofilament as a backing taking up the extra space around the bare spool initially and tie it to the good line. The extra diameter can give you a little extra casting distance. It has to do with RPM's vs the line that comes off the spool. You can also choose to run electrical tape around the line deeper in the spool so that a backlash does not extend too far, making any other backlashes easier to sort out.

Personally, I've learned that I only want to spool a little more than I can cast instead of putting on lots of extra line. With the cost of fluorocarbon these days, backing that stuff with mono does sound tempting, but I never bother. I also don't use braid. The one situation where a monofilament backing is very useful is when spooling braided line. Braid slips on the spool and it won't take up. Mono has more grip, so put 10-30 feet of mono on first, set the mono and braid side by side, tie a uni knot on the mono side, a uni knot on the braid side, connecting them together in the process. Illustrations are available elsewhere on the net for tying two lines together with the uni knot.

Once you've got the reel filled to your desired amount, snip it free of the spool and tie it to whatever you'd like with whatever knot you prefer. Most of us tie a palomar knot. Stow your spool of line and you're done. Make a few practice casts or spritz it with some KVD Line & Lure conditioner and go fishing.

If you happen to notice line filling up one side of the spool more than the other, make sure you are holding your rod straight and not to the left or right. Hold the rod straight and that problem should resolve. There is nothing wrong with the reel.

Also consider reading Baitcaster Setup 101.

Related Posts:
Spooling a Spincast Reel
Plano Spool Box
Review: The Spool Tool
Spooling Tip
KVD Line & Lure conditioner
BPS Lubrication Guide


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! Your post was very helpful!