How to String A Fishing Rod?

After thinking about the fishing trips that I would take with my family when I was younger, I remembered all of the frustration troubles that I had with stringing my rod the wrong way.

No matter how many times I tried with different kinds of reels, I always felt like I was one step short.

So, I did all of the research to correct this problem.

How to string a fishing rod?

There are plenty of effective ways to string a fishing rod, and they depend on the reel you’re using, as well as your personal motivation to learn how to string properly.

In order to master stringing, you must first understand how reels differ, and tailor this skill to your reel, rather than the other way around.

Being able to fish is a great skill to learn for the casual hobbyist and even the inner survivalist in all of us. Today, I want to provide a quick, concise guide to help you string multiple reels, and also go over common issues fishers encounter when stringing.

By the end of this article, I want you to have a valuable skill that can save you in a quick pinch, and ensure that your next fishing outing is a successful one.

Table of Contents

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Types of Fishing Reels

As a budding string master, you have a lot of flexibility in choosing a reel – this guide is meant to be a catch-all that will be useful regardless of the reel you select.

There are quite a few types of reels available on the market, and they all have a unique set of perks and cons.

Regardless of your intended choice, all reels are not created equal and require specific techniques that allow the string to do its job. There are quite a few varieties available for you to choose from.

Each of these have certain strengths depending on your needs.

Spincasting Reels

Spincasting reels are fairly basic reels, and are popular among novice or inexperienced fishers; children tend to be given these types, and they’re incredibly easy to use.

The spool itself is the smallest of the other reels, which can be a good and bad thing. While you have less string to work with, you have greater control; these kinds of lines are less prone to tangling.

Bait-casting Reels

Bait-casting reels are far heavier than typical reels, as they are meant to hold weightier bait – thus, it is the preferred reel for catching large fish.

Slightly more complex than the spincasting reel, it requires a slightly higher degree of technical skill, with a big return on better accuracy.

Spinning Reels

Spinning reels have the widest range compared to the previous two, and are especially useful for medium-sized catches. The trade-off with this type of reel is its tendency to tangle and twist. Shorter lines tend not to, so be cautious when opting for a spinning reel.

Fly Reels

Fly reels are used for the exact sport they’re named for fly fishing. Fly reels are in a league of their own when compared to the other options. You need to consider the weight of your line, and the weight of your lure, and thus, your reel needs to match both of them.

It is recommended you use a reel that has been coated in a protective covering, as they can be pricey but long-lasting.

Today, we’re going to examine the stringing methods behind each of these reel options, and walk through the best practices for stringing that guarantee consistent success and accurate technique.

How to String a Fishing Rod: Different Types of Reels

Now that you know more about the different types of reels, we can walk you through how to string the different types of reels!

fishing rod with spinning reel

How To String a Spincasting Reel

Spincasting reels are known for their ease of use, and relatively low bar for mastering – popular among new fishers, they are reliable, easy and effective.

The line is controlled by way of a button, and is usually best employed when the caster has a clear line of sight on their catch.

Stringing these kinds of reels is a piece of cake: it is crucial to check the amount of line you have on your new spool, and it’s usually preprinted.

Removing and Changing String on Spincasting Reels in Four Steps:

  • Open the cover and old line out
  • Feed line into the reel under the cover
  • Keep tension and spool your line onto your reel
  • Feed your line into the “eyes” of the rod.

Step #1: Open the Cover and the Take Old Line Out

Once you remove the cover, take off any line that is still on your reel – double check that your new line will spin in the same direction, or you risk massive tangles.

Step #2: Feed the Line Into the Reel Under the Cover

Feed your line through the end of the reel closest to your pole/hand and then through the cover itself.

Step #3: Keep Tension and Spool Your Line Onto the Reel

Now that you have fed the line through, you’re going to want to tie a knot that secures the line to the reel itself trim the excess that remains with some sharp scissors. Hold the line while you reattach the cover.

Step #4: Feed Your Line Into the “Eyes” of the Rod

While keeping tension, reel up some of the line and feed it through the rest of the hoops (eyes) of your pole.

Some experienced fishermen recommend checking the reel before doing this to make sure you’re not over-filling it, so if you have kids, this is a good suggestion.

And that is it! Now that your reel has a new line attached securely, you can move forward with catching all the fish your string can hold a great time for the family and a helpful skill to keep in mind for the future.

How To String a Bait-Casting Reel

Bait-casting reels are slightly different ballgame, and requires some rudimentary knowledge of how to use tools.

I know the beauty of fishing lines are simplicity, but if you select bait-casting reels, you need to understand that the heavier bait demands some adaptability.

Luckily, the process is somewhat similar to the spincasting reel tutorial, just slightly different due to the bulkier weight.

Some tutorials will recommend having a helper, but that is not necessary if you have some common tools on hand.

A reel filling station can be helpful, but it is not needed when you can improvise – anything that can exert pressure on the reel to keep it in place will be fine. Some professionals advise using a vice and a screwdriver, but you can also use anything that will allow you to attach the reel to a vertical position.

spinning rod with baitcasting reel and bait

Stringing Bait Casting Reels

  • Feed the line into the same direction as your reel
  • Tie tight knots on the reel itself
  • Tension, tension, tension! You do not want your reel to give slack.
  • Feed the string into the poles eyes.

The logic of feeding the line is exactly the same as with spincasting reels; make sure your direction matches when you feed the string into the receiver of the reel; tie a knot around the back of the receiver to keep everything in place, and trim the remainder that is left behind.

Keep a good hold on the string as you reel, to ensure that the line is tight around the receiver. Make sure that you not overfill your reel (tangles abound!). Keep filling the reel until you reach a good point – now you can begin to feed the string into the eyes of your pole.

Now comes the test of strength! Attach your bait to the hook and see how much give the line has. You’ll be surprised how much the reel can take when you start using heavier bait.

How To String a Spinning Reel

If you’re craving some range on your cast, the spinning reel is a great alternative to consider. It is the preferred line for anglers, there is not much of a learning curve involved if you have experience using a spincasting reel. Keep an open mind and rest assured, stringing these guys is a piece of cake!

The same principle applies to the last few guides in that you need to double check the direction of the reel and that your spool will match. Tangles are the enemy of fishermen, and the last thing you want is for your reel to become a messy bundle of wild wire.

Stringing Spinning Reels

  • Feed the string into the first eye of your rod, first.
  • Open the cover and wrap your line around the reel.
  • Knot it.
  • Spool it, with tension,
  • Trim excess and string into the pole.

Feeding the string into your first eye is exactly the same process as the spincasting reel. Open the cover to allow yourself some room to wrap the line and tie a knot. Some teachers advise students to use two overhand knots, which offer better security – this is especially important if you are casting far.

Apply tension to the line the same way you would as a spincasting reel, as this will guarantee your line will be wrapped tightly around the reel. Watch out for when you get to the edge of the reel, as it can cause major issues if you overshoot the amount of string you need.

Trim the excess left behind and string the rest into the eyes of the pole you are using. And voila! You are now the proud owner of a fishing rod with a spinning reel.

How to String a Fly Reel

Lastly, the fly reel will involve some creative knots, and application of the last tips we went over. By now you should be aware that the logic of stringing is pretty much universal, with some modifications included depending on the type of reel.

Anyways, stringing a fly reel should be a breeze if you follow these steps.

Stringing Fly Reels

  • Attach string to both the fly line and the backing reel.
  • Tie knots around the backing reel.
  • Keep tension on the line.
  • Wheel the string onto the reel.
  • Attach fly line with a knot.
  • Reel them together.

Uniquely, you will have to attach string to both the fly line and the backing reel. Work backwards slightly and tie a knot around the backing reel first, rather than feeding the string into the first eye (spoiler: there are no eyes!). Arbor knots are a good choice, but any knot that tightens around itself will do, too.

Keep tension on the line like previously cautioned, and wheel the string onto the reel, making sure there is no slack on the line while doing so. Attach your fly line with a knot (Albright is a classic choice) and make sure it can support the weight of your fly.

Now reel them together! Since you technically extended the length of your string by adding the fly line, be extra cautious at this stage as you can easily overfill your spool with knowing it.

Once secure, attach your “fly” and you’re good to go!

Some Helpful Fly Fishing Tips

  • Make sure you have the right type of fly attached! Fish are selective.
  • Learn how to read the water – knowing how your fly will drift is a valuable skill.
  • Practice casting often; technique matters when fly fishing as you are very close to the water (you’re in it!) A wide cast will save you in a pinch.

Stringing a Fishing Rod: Avoid These Common Mistakes

saltwater fly fishing rod and fly box with flies

There are few things more discouraging than a fishing rod that was improperly strung up, and sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Even professionals sometimes get frustrated with how easily small mistakes can cause catastrophe while out in the field.

As the technology develops, it is hard to believe that stringing a fishing rod was considered very easy to do – progress does not always equal ease of use, and that is especially clear in the amount of issues fishers have with stringing.

Just because it is objectively more advanced does not always equal efficiency. We should probably go over some of the most common gripes professionals have about stringing.

Common Mistakes in Stringing Fishing Rods

  • Tying the wrong knot, especially one that is too weak to hold the line
  • Overfilling your line and causing the slack to explode.
  • Not applying tension to your line while spooling
  • Using the improper type of string
  • Tying the Wrong Knots

The wrong knots can be a critical misstep. It is incredibly important to use a knot that can withstand the tug of a catch on the line. Consider using two knots or double knotting, almost to the point of being excessive. Rather be safe than sorry.

Overfilling the Line

Overfilling can be a bit of an issue as well – depending on the type of reel, you can have anywhere between to ¼ inch of room to work with between the line and the end of the spool, so be careful not to overstep.

Keeping the line tight against itself is almost impossible when you have string overfilling the spool, and even worse, it can result in tangles that can throw a wrench in your fishing plans for the whole day!

Not Using Enough Tension

Tension, tension, tension, I cannot stress that enough when spooling! Slack on the line can lead to disaster if you aren’t careful, as keeping string too loosely wrapped can cause tangles as catches pull on the give. Triple check that you have tied the line tight enough – you will not snap the line, I promise.

Using the Improper Type of Line

Finally, it is crucial that you choose the proper line for your needs as you would be surprised to know the type of material makes all the difference.

Do you ever hear the old saying that gut and nylon produce two completely different sounds on the ukulele? Well, the same logic kind of applies here in this case.

Braided Lines

Braided lines are a tried and true line type for anglers, as they’re fairly strong – beware though that not all braided lines are created equal. Some can carry roughly 200lbs, while others will surely fall short.

One of the noted downsides of the braided type of lines is that it is easily spotted by fish in the water. An opaque line will scare catches off in a heartbeat, so be conservative depending on where you are fishing.

Monofilament Lines

You can also try monofilament fishing line, which is the most common choice for modern fishers as they are extremely durable despite being relatively older technology. It is extremely stretchy, but because of this, it can transfer the energy of the cast rather well.

A downside of this type of line though is that once it is stretched, it holds the shape of the reel, and will generally be prone to looping around itself.

Flourocarbon Lines

Flourocarbon is a new type of line, and it is very strong and heavy. It can hold very heavy catches, and is transparent – this was the main boone to using lines like these, as fish have difficulty spotting them.

This type is very prone to tangling due to its sturdiness, so be cautious when spooling it onto your reel.

Nanofil Lines

Nanofil is made of the same material as braid, but it is not braided. It is very thin, which allows it to have the widest possible cast. The fiber itself is pretty strong, so this is a good middle ground.

Ready to String Your Fishing Rod? You’ve Got It!

In conclusion, I hope you now have a valuable skill to help you out in a pinch when you’re stringing your fishing rod.

Knowing all the types of reels helps with determining the best stringing process for you, and at the end of the day, that is the most important message.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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