How to Use Spinning Reels – The Ultimate Guide

Spinning reels are widely popular because of their versatility in fishing multiple species and ease of use. A spinning reel ensures an adjustable drag and easy casting by maintaining a user-friendly spool.

As fishing rods and freshwater spinning reels are used by anyone yet they are great for beginners. If you want to virtually fish any species in both saltwater and freshwater, learning how to use spinning reels is a must.

This guide covers the best practices of using a spinning reel. So, read on this guide till the end before heading out fishing.

How to Use Spinning Reels: Spooling, Casting, and Servicing

Spooling Your Line

A regular-sized spinning reel will be filled well with a 330-yard spool. Firstly, the line should be run into the guides and open the bail by flipping it. Opt for Tying an arbor knot to its spool to catch evenly and to keep the line secured. Now, pinch the line between your index finger and thumb above your reel after closing the bail.

Take help from one of your friends to hold the spool of the line from the opposite side when your reel. Also, make sure that the spool’s feeding line and the line you’re spooling onto the reel are in the same direction. Leave ⅛ inch of space between the spool’s rim and the line to make sure you don’t over-spool the reel.

When you’re done, remove it from the reel and soak it in warm water for at least 30 minutes to get rid of line twisting and to remove the memory.

Casting Spinning Reel

What is one of the greatest benefits of using spinning reels? Ease of use. Right? Hold the rod in between your index and ring finger along with the reel’s arm using your dominant hand. Now, pinch the line to the rod using your index finger and flip to open the bail.

Now, your opposite hand should be placed on the rod’s butt. Make it perpendicular to your body by lifting it back to your shoulder. Do swing the rod from back to front in a 180-degree rotation and the line should be released at about 130-degree during the rotation. Close the bail after the rotation and retrieve the lure after reeling forward.

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Setting Fishing Reel Drag

Managing your drag system in a proper way can help you catch bigger species with lighter tackle and help you get rid of missing fish. A fishing reel’s drag is a bundle of friction plates inside it.

If you find a fish fighting when you reel in, the drag helps the tension gradually release the spool and feed the line even without any slack. A perfectly set drag helps you stay connected to the catch tautly and provides an ample amount of line back if the catch fights too hard.

So, how to set it to the spinning reel? Well, turn the knob and the reel’s top on. Tighten the tension by rotating to the right and loosen it by rotating to the left.

Now, close the bail and use your hand to pull the line from the reel’s front. Also, you are allowed to adjust the knob to correct the drag while fighting a fish. If you notice your line is feeding too much or not feeding enough, immediately correct the drag.

Using Anti- Reverse Feature

Like the drag system, the anti-reverse system relieves tension and helps you play the catch. Anti-reverse refers to a switch that you will find on the reel’s bottom part. When the switch is turned off, the system will allow you to reel forward and backward.

When you will be reeling backward gradually, the line will be released. When you’re about to learn using a spinning reel, keep the system turned on for the handle to reel forward. When you master spinning reels, turn it off to play small fish species.

Servicing Fishing Reel

Servicing your spinning reel in a proper manner can make it last longer. The reel should be wiped down using a dry towel and should be placed in a dry environment after a session. One of the contrary beliefs is not to store fishing gear in the basement or garage as these spots remain damp and humid.

You can opt for storing your rods and reels inside your closet. After fishing in saltwater, rinse your gear off with fresh water and dry them using towels.

Lubricating Fishing Reel

If you desire an optimal performance, lubricate your reel once after every 3-4 trips. Remove the spool by removing the drag and unscrew the reel handle. Now lubricate all the sockets, interior edges, and shafts. After lubricating the components, reel forward and backward 10-20 times to make it work.


Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn to use spinning reels in a proper manner. If you still feel hesitant, watch online videos or consult experienced anglers. Feel free to ask any query in the comment section below.

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