How to set up a fishing reel is for beginners to start right. People start fishing and forget it takes certain steps and skills to learn. Starting off right will make you have good habits and reduce or eliminate problems. In my experience, beginners often have problems from doing a few things wrong. Setting up the fishing rod properly is the first step to being successful.
You should have done the research. Then found the correct rod and reel for the species you target. A combo is often the first choice for beginners. It likely has a line already spooled on the reel. The line will work for a little time. The line on combos is low-quality. You will have better results with a good quality line. A good monofilament is best for beginners. These lines are lower in cost. Plus easy to tie knots that are strong.
Set Up the Fishing Reel with Line
Putting the line on a reel varies depending on the reel. Putting the line on incorrectly causes problems. A spinning reel will have line twists and loops. A baitcasting reel will have excessive backlashes and other issues. A few simple steps will eliminate the problems with the line.
Spooling Line on a Spinning Reel
People have many ways of placing the line on a spinning reel. The problem is too many are wrong or difficult for a novice or beginner. The combos have a low-quality line on them when bought. It is recommended to change the line soon. A good quality line will have fewer problems and cast better.
If there is a line on the reel remove the line. Attach the new line using an arbor knot. Cut the tag off from the knot as close as possible. Crank the handle to get the line started with a few wraps on the spool. You need tension on the line during the spooling process. Use a line tensioning tool or have a friend hold the spool with some tension.
The tension helps reduce the memory in the line. The memory causes the loops spinning reels are known for when spooled improperly. As you spool the line onto the reel watch how the line is laying on the spool. It should be even. The line going on uneven is a problem. Stop placing the line on the reel.
Correcting the line lay requires a shim adjustment to the spool. Remove the spool and add or remove a shim under the spool. Having too much line at the top add a shim, too much at the bottom remove a shim to correct. The shims come with a reel in the package when you bought the reel. Buy the shims at a tackle shop if you need the shims.
Spool the line until the reel is full. A few have lines to show when a spool is full. The line should be to the beveled or curve on the top part of the spool. Do not overfill since the line will jump off in coils. Underfilling will limit casting.
Spooling Line on a Baitcast Reel
Putting the line on a baitcasting reel follows a few steps also. Depending on the line, there will be an extra step or two. Monofilament or fluorocarbon are wound onto the spool. Using a braided line, you need backing to prevent the line from slipping on the spool. use monofilament as backing or a piece of electrical tape. The line is better, it does not leave a glue residue.
The line is spooled with tension to prevent problems. A line will dig in if loose on the spool. A thin diameter line will cause the problem also. Using braid go with a 40-pound test line and monofilament use 10-12 at a minimum. Improper tension and the wrong diameter of the line. Cause the most problems on a baitcasting reel.
Tie the line on the spool with an arbor knot. Wind the line onto the spool bringing the line off the top of the refill spool. If using braid, put 15-20 yards of monofilament on first. Connect the braid to the monofilament with a double Uni-knot. Then continue filling the spool with the line. Leave about 1/8th of an inch from the top edge of the spool, do not overfill.
Beginners may want to stay a little lower on the spool to start. This will reduce the backlashes. A little less line makes learning easier until you get a fee for casting the reel. The reel will cast slightly farther with a full spool. Yet, a beginner will achieve a good distance with a little less line.
Set Up the Fishing Reel Drag
Having a properly set drag is critical for successful fishing. A drag too tight causes line or rod failure. Setting the drag too loose allows the fish to run easily. You need to set the drag based on the line or rod strength whichever is lighter. Using a braided line uses the rod’s power or line rating. Usually, monofilament is set by line strength. Always use a lighter monofilament line. If more strength is needed go with a braided line.
Set the drag to 25-30 percent of the line strength. An example, using 8lb monofilament, uses a weight of 2 – 2 1/2 pounds for setting the drag. The mechanics of the rod and reel work together making a lighter setting than the line strength. Once you have the feel for your line strength and drag setting, pulling on the line is an option. Using the weight is for beginners or novices.
Start with the drag set lightly or loose. Tie the weight to your line and lift the weight. The drag will slip if set light. Tighten the drag a little each time you lift the rod until it lifts the weight. When the drag slips little and lifts the weight it is set correctly. Do not overtighten the drag, it is not a good practice. Always back off the drag when not using the reel and rod. This makes the drag last longer before the washer spring needs replacing.
Take care of setting the drag with a weight. Do not raise the rod above 45 degrees. Raising a rod too high will cause it to break. The act is called high-sticking, the leading cause of rod failure. A properly set drag reduces the chance of breaking a rod. But, do not take any unneeded chances.
A few small steps to set up a fishing reel reduces or eliminates many common problems. It only takes a few minutes to properly spool the line and set a drag. A properly set up rod and reel will perform well and land more fish. After using the techniques described you will find it easier each time. You will have fewer issues with backlashes, wind knots, and loops in the line.