How To Use A Spinning Reel? – (Professional Anglers Tips)

If you are new to fishing or trying it as a new hobby in your vacations and you don’t know how to use a spinning reel, today I will help you learn it so that you could enjoy and get a big fish out of water. Initially, it seems a bit tough with all those wires and rods, but once you get to know the process, it will be very easy for you to spend your leisure time enjoying the dock and fishing.

Before the whole process, you should keep a few things in mind and spinning reels are the best product for fishing as they are durable and very efficient. Always choose the lightest spinning reel for yourself so that you are not tired from holding it or have any fatigue at the end of the day.

These are easy to handle and are good in both saltwater and freshwater fishing. It is one of the topmost choices of anglers. This article will be a great help and will have everything you need to know before fishing so that you don’t come back empty-handed. Following are the steps that are done for using a spinning reel properly.

Also Read: Best Affordable Spinning Reels Review

How to Use Spinning Reel?

Selection of Line 

Choose the right line for your spinning reel. There are different types of lines available:

  • Monofilament line: stretchable, if using live bait and flexible
  • Fluorocarbon line: less stretchable, better abrasion, and used for shallow water
  • Braided line: non-stretchable, low sinking, and strong for bottom fishing.

Loading the Reel

The following steps are doing for loading the reel:

  • You can buy a combo rod setup or separate rod and reel; in case of the separate reel, fix it in a rod seat made for the reel and screw it down nice and tight, but don’t tighten it way too much.
  • Hold it as you are fishing and check if it turns clockwise or anticlockwise.
  • Place the line in the spooling box so that it comes out tangles-free and in the straight line. It will help in the easy and smooth loading of the line, and the box will also help in the better management of the line by keeping it straight.
  • Use the line from the bottom of the spool and place it in the box, as there will be few twists because the diameter of the spool of line is bigger than the diameter of the reel spool.
  • Put the line on the reel’s spool after passing it through a small circle hook made on the rod, and make an arbor knot. Cut the excess tag line with sharp scissors or clippers and start moving the handle on the reel in a clockwise direction. Passing the line through the circular hook will help in smooth and tangle free movement of the line.
  • Fill the spool till it is 0.32 cm away from the rim.
  • Once you see that you have spooled enough lines and it is up to the mark, take some line from the box of spools and cut it.
  • Avoid overfilling the spool as it will cause tangles and it will cause problems with casting.
  • Pass that line from the remaining circular hooks made on a spinning reel rod and place the hook on the end with the help of a loop knot. Give it two knots, as it will be helpful while catching the fish and will provide additional stability to the hook.
  • Get rid of the extra tag line by cutting with the help of clippers. Put the bait on the hook that can be worms or anything that you can get from a grocery store, and Voila! You are done with setting up your spinning reel.


Now after loading the line and setting the reel, the next step is to make sure to adjust the drag according to your own personal choice. You make it too tight or too loose, but I suggest you keep it within the normal limit. A button for drag is present on the front of the spool. Turning on the right will tighten it while rotating it to the left will lose it.

Place it up to the point where you can pull the line out of the spool without too much force. Keeping the line too tight from the spool will help fish break the line after getting the bait, so keeping the drag normal is highly recommended, which will help the line loosen a bit whenever required. Drag allows the line to spool off even when the bail is closed. Set the drag to almost 25% of the strength of the line.

Drag Adjustment Button in Spinning Reel
Drag Adjustment Button

Bail Functioning

Bail is a small wire which is present with a spool. Its opening and closing are usually done while using a spinning reel while throwing the bait into the water. It opens when you flip the bail-in in an upward direction, while it closes when you move it downward.

Cut any extra line if present with the mainline. While casting away, bail is normally used, and as soon as the bait lands at your desired spot, quickly close the bail as it prevents the excessive line from coming out of the spool.


Pinch the line normally after holding the spinning reel comfortably; if you do not pinch it a bit, the line will loosen up, and that will cause tangles in the line. Once you are done holding and pinch open the bail by putting it upward, it will be open.

Choose the direction you want to cast away, select your target and after moving the rod slightly, throw the bait in that direction and loosen your pinched finger at the same time.

It will allow the line to move rapidly outwards with the bait, and it will fall on the right spot where you want it. Once you see that bait is in water, close the bail manually at that instant. Closing it prevents loops and tangles of wire.

If the line moves too up in the air, that means you moved the bail early, and if it is too down and touching your feet, that means you opened the bail too late.

There are three most popular types of casts:

  • Overhand Cast is when you go straight over with the help of a spinning reel, and the target is in the front/ straight of you.
  • Roll Cast is when you roll the spinning reel and make small circles and then throw the bait in the direction you want, specifically on your target. It is commonly used for mangroves and dock fishing. It has a low trajectory and goes just like a rolling stone.
  • Side Cast is when you throw the bait in a sideward direction to a specific target without lowering yourself or rolling the spinning reel.

After casting, when you feel a bit of movement, that means you have caught a fish, move the handle clockwise and enjoy!

Anti-Reverse Button

A button is usually present on the top or bottom of the spinning reel, which is known as an anti-reverse button. This button is usually locked and can be unlocked manually. On unlocking, it allows you to use the spinning reels freely.

You can move it in both clockwise or anti-clockwise directions. If you are pro at fishing, you can only use this anti-reverse button properly; otherwise, stick to the normal usage in which the anti-reverse button is locked, and it allows you to move the handle in one direction.

Anti Reverse Button on Spinning Reel
Small Anti Reverse Button in Spinning Reel

Tips To Use A Spinning Reel

Here are some tips that will help you while using a spinning reel:

  • Never reel against the drag; that usually happens when the fish is fighting, and the line moves out from the drag. Don’t reel at that time otherwise; the spool will get out of control.
  • Cut off if there is an extra line or rough area of the line.
  • For preventing loops and tangles, don’t take out the extra length of the line than required.
  • Spinning reels are designed to be hanging on the lower side of the rod; holding it in any other way can be problematic.
  • The reel can get dirty after you have used it for a while; make sure to clean it and get it lubed before you use it again.
  • If there is loop formation in your line when it is on the reel, that means that you have placed too much line on the pool.
  • Try to get a lighter rod. It will help you in better fishing at the dock without getting tired.
  • Do check the box of line you are purchasing, look for its quality and material that is made up of. Try to get microfilament lines because they are usually used and are best for fishing without tangling.
  • Check the new reels that are coming as they have updated features, and they make fishing much easier.
  • There are various conditioners available now, such as Real Magic and Kevin Van Dam Lines conditioners, which help the line smooth and easily manageable once dried after being applied.
  • It takes time and patience to get better at reeling, but you can certainly be good at it if you work on it properly. I hope this article will help you out with all the basics of using a spinning reel wherever you go fishing and making your experience incredible.

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