How to Set up a Fishing Pole in a Few Simple Steps

Depending on the individual, fishing can either be a leisurely hobby or a more competitive sport. If you are a beginner, it doesn’t matter how you think you like to fish; there are a few fundamental ideas you should understand first.

For example, learning how to set up a fishing pole is key to being successful at the sport. You have to learn this regardless if you plan on being competitive or just want to enjoy the activity as a weekend hobby. You’ll need to know how to set up a rod and reel regardless of the type of fish you hope to catch, as well.

Identifying the Parts of a Fishing Pole

Before you even really get started, you need to make sure you have all of the parts of your fishing pole. You also have to be able to identify all of the different parts prior to getting started on assembly. This is especially true if you are brand-new to fishing. Knowing what the pieces and parts are can only serve to make you better at the sport.

Fishing poles can actually be quite complex, so to be successful, you’d be wise to understand each piece along with general terminology. To start, if you have a rod that breaks into two separate pieces or maybe even more, the joint where they come together is referred to as the ferrule.

Other terminology includes:

  • The butt is the thick part of the rod that sits closest to the handle.
  • The tip is the part of the rod that is most flexible, and it is right at the rod’s top. This is the part that will often bend when you’ve caught something and are reeling it in toward you.
  • The handle is simply where you hold the rod while fishing. It also referred to as the grip. You will want a handle that feels comfortable to you since this is where you’ll make the most contact with the fishing pole.
  • Guides on your rod are the rings that help guide the fishing line you’re using. They typically go the full length of the fishing pole. You’ll need to thread these with fishing line, which we’ll explain how to do below.

Cleaning the Pole

Now that you know some of the pieces, you want to make sure you clean them before figuring out how to set up a fishing pole. After all, it is always better to start your experience off with a new, clean fishing pole.

You can clean your fishing pole pretty simply. Just wipe down the pieces with a cloth. This will help to remove any debris or dirt, both of which can cause scratches to your fishing pole. You can also take a cotton ball and clean the female ferrule if your pole has more than one part.

Dirt can be pretty bad for your fishing pole. Not only can it scratch it and leave it cosmetically unappealing, but it can also cause significant damage. You want to always do your best to keep your fishing pole clean.

How to Set up a Fishing Pole

Step 1: Combine the male and female ferrules.

Now that your fishing pole is clean, you want to align the male and female pieces. Do this on a surface that is flat. To get started, hold the female ferrule and then anchor the male ferrule right around it.

Keep in mind that you want to ensure you properly align any guides when securing the ferrules together. On most fishing poles, you will need to rotate the individual pieces in order to get them to fit perfectly together. This is very easy to do. Simply hold the female ferrule and rotate the male one until they are secured together. You’ll know when it is locked.

If you find that your fishing pole isn’t coming together as it should, don’t force it. Stop before you do any damage. Take a look at the direction. Is there a mechanism that locks that you’ve missed?

Make sure that, no matter what, you do not try to force the two or more pieces together. If you do, you can cause significant damage to the fishing pole. In fact, you can make it completely unusable.

how to set up a fishing pole

Step 2: Attach the reel.

Now you need to attach the reel. Look at the bottom of your fishing pole. You’ll see a female opening. This is where you can insert the reel. The proper name for this area is the reel seat.

Take the real seat and put it over the butt of your fishing pole. It serves as a kind of handle. It will also thread right onto the reel itself. Then, just rotate the locking ring until you can tell it is all safely secure.

Here are a couple of key things to remember when working on this step:

  • Similar to previous steps, do not force anything. You will almost always do more harm than good. You do not want to overtighten the reel. This is what could happen if you force the thread to turn beyond its design. You could cause the pole to crack, which would make it useless.
  • Keep in mind that with threading, left means loosen, and right means tighten. If you are looking at your fishing pole from the back, threading to the right will tighten it. Another way to think of this is if you rotate clockwise, you’ll be tightening the thread. If you move it counterclockwise, you’ll be loosening it.

Step 3: Lift the bale arm, then pull the line.

If you don’t know all the pieces quite yet, the bale arm on your fishing pole is a piece on your reel. It is overhead and usually silver in color. You can flip it to the reel’s other side by pressing down on it just a little bit. You don’t need to use a ton of pressure.

Once you have lifted the bale arm, pull your line’s edge, and the reel will do the unraveling for you. There are a few key things to keep in mind during this step:

  • You want to make sure that the line you are using unwinds in the same direction the reel turns. This is important in order to avoid knots and twists in your line. This is an easy fix if you find that they are moving in opposite directions. You can just flip over the spool, and the direction will change so that they match with each other.
  • Be sure that the bale arm lifts easily. If it doesn’t, you might be trying to lift the wrong piece. You should never have to work at lifting the bale. It should come easily. If it doesn’t, something is wrong.

Step 4: Thread the guides.

Your fishing pole likely has four guides, while some have five. They can also be referred to as eyelets. You want to start your threading at the guide that is closest to the pole’s reel.

Just thread the line through it by starting at the bottom and ending at the top of the guide. Then, continue moving up the full length of the fishing pole.

Step 5: Flip the bale arm.

Now, you need to close that bale arm. To do so, just flip it back. You’ll want the bale arm to be in the same location and position it was before you started threading.

Choosing A Lure

Using the weather to help you make your lure selection can be a good idea. For example, cloudy days might have you choosing a different lure than sunny ones.

For a cloudy day, try and pick a gold-colored lure, if you have one. That gold will give off a good amount of reflection, which can help with lighting on a stormy or cloudy day. For sunny days, try and use a silver lure. It will reflect the sun and can attract a lot of attention.

Types of Lures

You will need to pick your lure based on what kind of fish you want to catch. You’ll also want to take into consideration where you plan on where you’ll be fishing. If you want to fish in freshwater, you’d be wise to use a jig. A jig that has a metal head and uses feathers can be attractive to fish in freshwater.

You can also use a spoon lure if you want to catch fish that usually prey on smaller fish. The spoon will move back and forth, which looks just like a smaller fish moving through the water. It is perfect for attracting those larger fish and tricking them into thinking they are preying on their next meal.

If you want a lure that you can use all the time and for nearly every purpose, you can consider using a spinner. This is a metal piece that will keep spinning in the water when it moves. This will grab a lot of attention. It is really helpful when you are fishing in an area that is more challenging.

Finally, the clarity of the water where you fish is also important when choosing your lure. You want to use something like a spoon or spinner if the water is very muddy or cloudy. These lures will provide a lot of movement. They also produce vibrations so the fish can feel it, even if they can’t see it through the cloudy water.

If the water is actually quite clean, you don’t want to use a lure with a lot of vibration. This can actually have the opposite effect; too much movement will scare the fish away.

Attaching the Lure

Once you have chosen the type of lure to use, it is time to attach that lure to your line. Here’s how you can do that.

Step 1: Thread the line.

You want to start by threading your line through your chosen lure. Once you’ve done that, make sure you save about 10 inches of line on the opposite side of the lure.

Before you get started, keep in mind that using a fishing line can be challenging. You may want to try tying shoelaces or strings first. A fishing line is very difficult to see, which makes it hard to maneuver.

Step 2: Wind the fishing line.

Keep your line and lure on the floor or ground. Then, pull the end of the line that is free back toward the other part of the line.

After that, wrap the end part of the line around the line that is on the other side of the fishing lure you’ve chosen to use. Do so loosely. It will be similar to the way a candy cane has two different colors intertwined with each other. You want to wind the lines about five times.

Step 3: Tuck the line back.

Next, you want to take the end part of your fishing line and pull it toward the fishing lure. Then, loop it through that first loop, the big one that has the fishing line. Once you loop it all the way through, tuck it one more time so that it comes right underneath the fishing line.

Step 4: Tie the knot.

Take hold of the fishing line and also keep hold of the line’s end. Pull them together slowly. The fishing line should coil tightly where it is wrapped. It should also make a tight, nice knot at the location of the lure.

You might need to work through some of the line by using your fingertips and nails to move the twists to where the lure is located. Once it is wrapped tightly, just cut off any excess fishing line.

If you find that you are having a hard time, it may help you to add a bit of moisture to the line. This can make it easier to maneuver.


It doesn’t matter if you plan on doing fishing as a casual hobby or if you want to practice to be able to fish competitively. No matter what the reason, you need to learn how to get your fishing pole ready to go. Follow the steps above and get on the water quickly and confidently.

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