How to String a Fishing Pole

If you’re new to fishing and just starting to learn all the basics, then you likely aren’t sure how to string a fishing pole. Don’t worry; learning how to string your fishing rod isn’t that hard. As a matter of fact, all you need are these five easy steps. 

What You’ll Need

The first part of learning how to put a fishing line on a rod is to ensure you have your fishing gear, reels, and main line ready. You can get them from your local tackle store, online, or at Walmart. Here’s your list:

  • Fishing pole
  • Reel
  • Fishing line
  • Hook or lure

1. Assemble Your Fishing Rod and Reel

Now, it’s time to start putting it all together. You have two different setups to consider: a baitcasting rod or a spinning rod.

A baitcasting reel is mostly closed, with the spool visible and a button that releases the line. On the other hand, a spinning reel or open-face reel is open with a bail that spins around as you reel.

Your reel and line guides face up toward you on a baitcasting rod. A spinning rod is positioned the opposite, with them facing down. 

Your fishing rod and reel are sometimes separate or already put together. If yours are separate, here’s how to put the fishing reel on the rod:

  1. Check your reel and rod: a bait-caster reel goes on a baitcasting rod and should face up. An open-face reel goes on a spinning rod and should face down.
  2. Place the foot of the reel on the reel seat of the pole. It is above the handle, and some will have a lip that juts out to rest your fingers on.
  3. Above where the reel foot slides into place is a piece that twists to tighten and secure it to the rod.

2. Thread the Fishing Line

There are three main types of lines for you to choose to go on your fishing pole. The kind of fishing you do or the species you want to target will determine the best kind of line for you to use. 

Don’t worry, though. All types of fishing lines go the same way on your fishing pole. 

  • To thread the line, feed it through the eyelet on the tip of the rod, and the rest of the line guides. Make sure to thread down to the handle so you have extra ready to tie to the reel.


A braided line is the strongest and thickest fishing line. It even doesn’t stretch like a monofilament line. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about your knots failing on this line because it holds strength better than other options. It is also versatile but performs best in murkier lakes and rivers.


Mono line is clear and highly stretchable. The stretchiness of this line makes it harder to break when caught on underwater structures. Its clear coloration makes it practically invisible and is preferred by trout anglers. It is best used in clear, calm lakes and streams.


The fluorocarbon fishing line is a stronger and more abrasion-resistant version of the monofilament. It also blends into the water with its clear coloration. This makes it a top choice for trout and salmon anglers because it performs well in most waters, especially in clear, rocky lakes and rivers. 

3. Tie the Fishing Line to the Reel Spool

Tying the line to the spool of your reel is simple and easy. However, it’s a little different depending on the kind of reel you have. The first step of getting the line around the spool is different for spinning and baitcasting reels. After that, tying them to the spool is all the same.

Tying fishing line to a baitcasting reel:

  1. On the top of your baitcasting reel, you’ll see a part with a small circular opening. That is the line guide. You’ll want to feed the fishing line through that first.
  2. Once through the line guide, wrap the line around the spool once or twice.
  3. Make sure you have a long tag piece to tie a knot to secure it to the spool.
  4. You can do a simple overhand knot or a double overhand knot known as an arbor knot. The arbor knot is one of the best knots when tying a line to a reel spool.
  5. Ensure the knot is tightened to the spool and won’t slip or slide around. Pull it taut to make sure your knot is secure and doesn’t come undone.

Securing line to a spinning reel:

  1. Flip the bail arm up first so you can access the spool.
  2. Wrap the line around the spool once or twice and leave a long enough tag to tie your knot.
  3. Use the arbor knot to secure the line to the spool.
  4. Make sure it’s tight so the knot won’t slip. 
  5. Flip the bail down and make sure the line rests on the line roller. 

4. Spool the Reel

Now that the line is secured to the spool, you can start filling up the reel. Again, take this time to properly check that the line is fed through the line guide part of your baitcasting reel. If you have a spinning rod, your spinning reel should rest outside the line roller on the bail arm. 

Expert Tip: Using a fishing line spooler, you can spool the reel, maintain consistent tension, and avoid line twists. 

  1. First, with your non-reeling hand, pinch the fishing line above your reel and to the pole, so it is taut. You want the line to be tight as it goes on the reel. This will prevent tangles, loops, knots, and many other issues.
  2. Next, turn the reel naturally in a clockwise direction — just like if you were reeling in your lure after a cast.
  3. For a baitcaster, reel until the spool is about an eighth of an inch from being full. You don’t want it to be over full. This will also help prevent slack knots and tangles from occurring as often. On the other hand, you should leave a quarter inch from being full for an open-face reel. 
  4. Once the reel is full, you can cut the line free using scissors. If you have an excess line, roll it up and save the rest for when you need to put a fresh new line on your reel again.

Expert Insight: Most spinning reels will tell you how much line can fit on it depending on the size. It will usually hold around 200 yards.

5. Tie the Hook or Lure

The final step is to tie on your lure, hook, swivel, or leader. There are a lot of different fishing knots that you can use to complete this step. Each one works, and it’s really up to your preference. Most anglers will find one knot they like the most, and that’s all they use.

Expert Tip: You can pick up a fishing knot tying tool for faster and effortless tying. 

Improved Clinch Knot

As its name implies, this is a stronger, more reliable version of the clinch knot. It is very popular among anglers for securing their lures. 

  1. Pass the line through the eye of the lure, hook, or swivel.
  2. Wrap the tail around the standing line (the non-moving part) 5 to 7 times.
  3. Pass it through the first small loop at the bottom, closest to the eye of the lure.
  4. Then pull it through the larger loop you just created. 
  5. Tighten it by holding the tag piece and pulling the standing line so that the knot tightens and slides down to meet the eye of the lure. 
  6. Give it a good pull to ensure the knot is secure and doesn’t slip out.

Simple Snell Knot

The snell knot is a type of hitch knot. It is one of the oldest fishing knots that is still used today — that just goes to show how well they work!

  1. Pull the line through the eye of the hook.
  2. Take the tag end and wrap it behind the eye of the hook.
  3. Continue to wrap it around the hook another 7 to 12 times.
  4. Take the tag end and pull it through the eye of the hook again.
  5. Pull the line tight, and your knot is secured. 

Palomar Knot

This is one of the strongest and most efficient knots for catching fish. However, the key to this knot’s success is tying it correctly. 

  1. Make a loop by doubling up a few inches of line. The tag end should be shorter and must not go through the hook’s eye.
  2. Pull the said loop through the eye of your hook or lure.
  3. Next, hold the line and eye of the hook between your thumb and finger.
  4. Use your free hand to grab the loop and make an overhand knot.
  5. Take the hook and pull it through the loop. 
  6. Guide the loop up to the eye of the hook. 
  7. Finally, pull the short tag end of the line, which should securely tighten the knot to the hook.

End of the Line

Learning how to string a fishing pole might seem a little daunting at first, but all it takes is a few steps. Once you do it for the first time and get the steps down, you won’t even need instructions again. You might even find it to be a relaxing activity!