Reel Spooling to Save a few Bucks

You’ve just picked up that brand new reel and now you’re ready to spool it with some of that expensive braided fishing line. Here’s a tip that will save you a few bucks down the road.

If you’re like me you probably tie the line straight to the spool and start winding away until the reel spool is full or until you run out of line.  Ask yourself this, “Why?”  Will you ever use all 150 yards of that expensive line before you change it out again?  Not likely.  Try this instead.

Let’s say we have a 20-25 size spinning reel that we’re going to spool up with 10lb test braid for our jigging rod. Typically a reel that size will hold about 140 yards of 8 lb test.  To verify, check the reel spool – capacities are usually printed on the side.

Instead of tying the braid directly to the spool, use some cheaper 10 lb monofilament line to kick things off.  Using mono will also prevent your line from slipping on the spool with that slick braided line.  Reel on about 3/4 or just over half the capacity of your spool with the mono.  That will probably be about 50-70 yards.  Don’t worry about measuring, just eye it.

Connect your monofilament line to your braided line using a uni-to-uni knot.

You have about 50-70 yards monofilament left of capacity on your reel. But braided line is significantly thinner than mono at the same test. Example, my 10lb Suffix 832 Superline has the diameter of typical 4 lb monofilament which means I can put much more line on.

Now, top off the reel spool with the superline – don’t overfill the spool! Check your reel manual, it will indicate the proper fill line.  Usually about 1/8″ from the rim of the spool.

About half your new line will be on your reel, so about 70 yards.  Since this is a jigging rod, I will also tie 4-6 feet of 10-12 lb flourocarbon as a leader (uni-to-uni knot) – flouro is invisible under water, low stretch and highly abrasion resistant, perfect for attaching directly to jigs.

Doesn’t sound like much line compared to the 150 yards you purchased but consider this:

  • Your casting distance on a jigging rod is probably between 40-60 yards. Myself, I don’t try to launch stratospheric casts.
  • With proper setup and good skill, a bass or walleye isn’t going to strip your spool of all the line.  A monster pike or musky might but at that point you’re on your own!
  • Using the flouro leader, your break offs won’t consume much, if any, of your superline
  • You retain the sensitivity of the superline without having to spool it all on

Your superline will wear but it will mainly be from abrasion on structure and/or your rod guides. You can simply cut off the worn parts and tie on new leads.  Optionally, you can strip off the braid, cut it at the connection to the mono, and reconnect to the mono using the worn end of your super line.  The fresh, likely unused portion of the line will be ready to go.

As you get to know your fishing style and reel capacity you’ll figure out what amounts work best for you. The above is a good starting point. I’ve worked my way to using only about a third of my new line at a time.  That leaves more line available to other reels or respools, and more change for bait!

Let me know what you think of this tip and if you do something similar or different to save a few bucks on fishing line!

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