If you feel frustrated with the tedious process of setting up and learning how to properly use your spinning rod, we have prepared a list of instructions that will guide you every step of the way. Furthermore, if you are looking to purchase a new spinning rod to replace your old one, we recommend you take a look at our review of the Ugly Stik GX2 combo.
The parts of the reel and rod
If you haven’t yet purchased or used a spinning rod, you should first take the time to research what type of reel will suit your needs. Often times spinning rods are designed to go only with specific reels, so it is important to make sure that you’ve got the one you need.
Just as important is to understand the crucial parts of the equipment that you are about to use. This way, once you have a holistic understanding of the equipment at hand, you will find it much easier to grasp each step that you need to take.
The reel itself is made of the spool, handle, bail, reelfoot, line roller, and drag knob. The spool is very easy to explain as it is the part of the reel that the fishing line is wound around. The handle once turned is used to force back the line into the reel.
The metal arm you see on your reel is called the bail and it is used to stop the line from coming out of the spool. When the bail is open, the line can come out of the spool freely while when it is closed the line is stopped from coming out of the spool.
Another important piece of the reel is the drag knob which lets you decrease or increase the amount of friction, or drag, applied. The drag system uses a set of washers that hold the spool to the shaft. The final two parts of the reel are the reelfoot which is a piece that connects the rod to the reel and the line rollers which guides the line from the spool to the rod.
Things are much more simple to explain in the case of the rod which has only four main components: the rod tip, guides, reel seat, and the handle. The road tip refers to the last four inches of the road and is the thinnest part of the unit that lets you feel once a fish bites. You should be careful with it since it is also the easier part that can break.
The guides are the circles through which you will need to pass the line and they are designed to keep the line close to the rod and to avoid damage to it. The reel seat is the part that works hand in hand with the reel foot, like a puzzle, to connect the two units. Finally, the handle which is often times made of a softer material is what you will be holding when fishing.
Choose the line
Before you can start stringing your rod, you need to choose the line that you want to use. It is recommended to use a monofilament line if you want to fish with floating baits. Monofilament lines have quite a bit of stretch which adds to the flexibility of the line so that it can help the hook stay secured in the mouth of the fish.
If you plan to fish in calm and shallow waters, fluorocarbon lines are the best pick since they are harder for the fish to see underwater. They seem similar to monofilament lines, but they have less stretch and can hold up better to abrasion. This type of line is also more reactive to bottom contact and light bites.
One final alternative is the braided line which is best used when bottom fishing. Braided lines are made of several lengths of braided synthetic material and that makes it easier to throw. You should use it for situations in which a larger casting distance is needed. The braided line won’t stretch, but it can offer a much better breaking strength.
Loading the reel
The first thing you will need to do before loading the reel is to determine if the model you have turns clockwise or counterclockwise. The simplest way to do it is to hold the reel and turn it at least two to three times to see in which direction it turns.
Another detail worth to keep in mind is that spinning reels are designed to hang down from the rod, not above it like baitcasting and spin casting reels are.
Make sure you hold the reel properly by wrapping the fingers of the hand you use for casting around the mounting bar and letting the rod hang while you use the other hand to reel. To load the reel you need to open the bail with the help of the small handle and close it when you are finished.
If you notice that there is any old fishing line on the spool, you should remove it at this time since later it will be impossible. Start by stringing your line through the guides and use an arbor knot to secure the line to the spool. Any extra line will need to be cut with a line cutter or scissors. Make sure that there is at least ¼ inch of additional line for you to tie the knot.
If you are not familiar with the arbor knot, we will try our best to teach you how to do it. The goal of this knot is not to handle the force of a fish, but to keep the line secured on the spool and help you retrieve the rod if it ever falls overboard by pulling the line.
Start by wrapping the line around the arbor of the spool with the tag end of the line. Next, tie a simple overhand knot just around the standing with the tag end. Tie a second overhand knot following the same instructions but just one inch or two from the first knot.
The final step is to pull the standing part of the line to slide the first knot down to the spool and second overhand knot to jam against the fist. If you are a beginner and find fishing knots to be overly complicated you can use just a simple overhand knot.
Spooling the reel
You need to make sure that the line can enter the reel properly, which is why you should lay the spool flat on the floor with the label facing up. Setting the rod and reel on the table can make tying knots much easier for you. If you are using braided line, this is the time to add a layer of monofilament as a backing to help prevent any slippage.
The spool should line up so that the line comes off of the spool in the same way it will need to go into the reel. Now you can turn the reel until you have the desired amount of line on it. The length of the line that you will need depends on the kind of reel you have, and the type of line that you are using.
Certain reels have a line capacity mark that you can find on the side of the gear. This feature can help you see when you’ve reached the maximum amount of line that your reel can handle. While you load the line into the reel, you should keep an eye for any knots or tangles. You will need to unspool the line immediately once you notice them if you want to fix them.
Once you’ve gotten all the line on the reel, you should grab the tip of the line with one hand and open the bail arm with the other. Place the line through each of the rod guides and with that last step you have finished stringing your spinning rod.