How to Set Up a Fishing Reel Easily and Properly [2022]

How to Set Up a Fishing Reel Easily and Properly

Catching your own lunch and dinner is satisfying. Even if you don’t manage to catch anything, fishing is still an enjoyable outdoor activity. Fishing can be as active or as relaxing as you make it.

Want to try your hand at fishing? Keep reading to find out common fishing pole jargon and how to set up a fishing reel and a fishing pole.

If you’re relatively new to fishing, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ve put together some information that will come in really handy when setting up your own fishing equipment for the first time.

Fishing Pole Jargon

There are a huge variety of fishing poles available on the market. We aim to advise you on what kind of set-up is going to work for you. Are you jigging in a lake off a boat, ocean fishing off rocks, or fishing in a river?

The jargon used doesn’t change, so let’s start by familiarizing ourselves with some of the fishing pole jargon.

  • Ferrule

If your fishing pole breaks down into more than one piece for easier transportation, then the ferrule is the section (or sections) where the pole is joined back together. The male ferrule will always slot into the female ferrule.

  • Handle/Grip

This is where you hold the pole when you’re fishing. The handle grip is made of rubber or cork. Spinning reels are mounted on the bottom of the pole.

  • Butt and Tip

The butt of the pole is the closest end to your body, and the tip is the slimmer, more flexible end.

  • Guides

The guides are the small circles that run down the length of the pole that keeps your line in place, close to the rod. The guides are different based on the type of fishing pole. A fishing rod made for spinning reels will have large guides. The guided will face down toward the ground when the pole is level.

  • Reel

The reel is the cylindrical device and handle that you crank to “reel” the fish in. The reel cranks are designed to rotate toward the front of the pole. Most reels can be setup for left or right handed operation. 

  • Reel Seat

This is where the reel attaches to your fishing pole. It has a section that screws and unscrews to hold the reel in place once inserted, or release it if you want to change it.

  • Arbor/Spool

The arbor or spool is where the line is stored on the reel. The spool on a spinning reel is on the top of the reel and rotates on the same axis as the fishing pole.  

  • Bail

The bail is the metal handle that flips up to release the line when you cast. You flip it up to open the bail and flip it down to close and secure the line in place. Spinning reels have a bail to control and guide the line back onto the spool. The spool moves up and down when it is reeled in so the bail can guide the line on to the spool in a vertical motion.  

How to Set Up a Fishing Pole in Three Easy Steps

Setting up your pole is super easy!

Step 1

Firstly, you need to attach your reel by placing the mounting handles into the reel seat, one side at a time. The bail will indicate the top of the reel that, when flipped open, should be pointing upwards towards the tip of your pole.

Step 2

Next, you need to tighten the reel seat by screwing it. If you have the butt of the pole closest to you, then the old “righty tighty, lefty loosey” trick should work here. Make sure that you don’t screw it too tightly as you may crack the reel seat and break it.

Step 3

Assemble your pole by connecting the different sections at the ferrules, ensuring that the guides line up in one straight line. Once you’ve done that, you have just successfully set up a fishing pole!

How to Set Up a Fishing Reel in Six Steps

Setting up a fishing reel involves only six steps. Here they are:

Step 1

Find the end of the fishing line on your spool and feed it through the guides, starting at the tip and working your way to the reel.

Step 2

Tie a regular overhand knot at the end of your fishing line. Open your bail and wrap your line around the spool center. Then, fix it in place using an arbor knot (see below for how to tie an arbor knot).

Pull the arbor knot tight against the spool center and then pull it further so that the “stopper” knot slides up to meet it.

Step 3

Press your finger or thumb over the line against the fishing pole to create tension. The tension will load the line onto the reel to prevent problems.

Step 4

Place your spool of line on the ground with the label facing upwards and start to crank the reel. The line will want to curl in a particular direction. Make sure that the direction that your reel is turning matches the direction of the line.

If it looks like the line is changing direction, then stop, open your bail, and start again. Place your spool the other way up on the ground and try again. Spooling the wrong way will cause annoying problems when you’re fishing later, with the line wanting to jump off the reel every time you open the bail.

Step 5

Reel the line onto the spool. Keep your eye out for tangles and twists in the line. Straighten them out before continuing.

Step 6

Once the arbor is full, you can cut off the line near the spool and attach that end to whatever rig you want, whether it be a lure or hook and sinker combination.

The arbor is deemed full when the line reaches about an eighth of an inch from the rim. This should give you plenty of spare line for attaching different rig setups. You do not want to overload the spool.

How to Tie an Arbor Knot

Step 1

Hold the end of the line in one hand and the other side of the line in the other. The excess line hanging below your hands (or in this case, it will be around the arbor).

Step 2

Pass the end of the line underneath the other piece of line.

Step 3

Pass the end of the line back over the loop you have created, back to its original side.

Step 4

Thread it back underneath and pull it up through the small central hole.

A Reel Good Time

There are a couple of different knots that you will find useful when setting up your fishing equipment. Most of them are used for attaching hooks, lures, leaders, and swivels. The fishing pole set up is pretty straightforward, but fewer people know how to set up a fishing reel.

If you can remember how to tie the arbor knot, then you’re halfway there. Remember that putting tension on the line when you reel it onto your spool is also important. Change your line every season for better fishing results. Make sure you have a spare spool in your fishing kit for emergencies.


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