How Much Line to Put on a Reel? [Getting it Right]

To determine how much line you can put on your reel is to use the line weight by line yards information written on the side of the reel by the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s specification, therefore, becomes a vital element in determining the number of lines you need to put on your reel.

Another factor is the intended catch; this would also help you to determine how much line (weight option) you need.

Nevertheless, this factor still has a lot to do with the manufacturer’s specification. The manufacturer has tested the product and knows the number limit and weight options that will allow for optimum usage.

It’s wise to bound yourself by them lest you encounter tangles and a fishing line coming off at the wrong time. Other factors include the type of fishing line and the type of reel you are using (more details on this later).

In this article, you will find details on each of these factors that determine the number of line you can put on your reel. Let’s begin by understanding what we mean by line capacity on a reel.

What is Line Capacity on a Reel?

The phrase “line capacity” is self-explanatory; it tells you how much line your fishing reel can take and function properly without a glitch. The line capacity is often considered alongside the weight limits of the intended catch.

Line Capacity on a Reel

For instance, if you were to use a reel that can only hold a 10-pound test line (per the manufacturer’s instruction) on a 30-pound catch, there’s bound to be a problem, leading to the loss of your catch/fish.

Although I agree that sometimes you can use fishing line weights beyond the bounds of the manufacturer’s rating, this should be done when you’re certain you have a stronger line than your catch. Nevertheless, it’s only best to strictly follow the manufacturer’s specifications.

Types of Fishing Line

You need to understand the types of fishing line anglers use to help you determine the right amount of line you need. There are four major types of fishing line:

Braided Line

A line made of various materials from a few strands and lasts longer than other line; little wonder it’s the famous fishing line. Nothing lasts forever though; so, you may need a replacement once in a periodic while (two seasons perhaps), especially if you want to maintain a consistently optimal outcome.


A line made of nylon polymer strands (of a single material) and the cheapest of fishing line. The material gets weak in no time when exposed to the hot sunshine. For s consistent optimal outcome, you’ll also need to replace it once a season.


A line made from two types of nylon polymers ad referred to as an upgraded version of the monofilament line is the copolymer line.


This line is a developed fishing line with more durability than the monofilament line. Like the braided line, you must replace the fishing line every few years.

How Much line to Put on a Fishing Reel

There’s probably not one specific answer for this question, but on a general note, most manufacturers of the fishing line often recommend 200 yards.

How Much line to Put on a Fishing Reel

We know that in some cases, manufacturers’ recommendation does not particularly play out in the real world as that number may be incorrect for your line. Line are sold in 150 to 300-yard spools, and that right there transfers the problem to you; so, you’re still left with that bothering question: how do you know when it’s just enough?

Maybe there’s a simple way to determine how much line you can put on your reel by marking a fill level – 1/16 inch from the lip. If you hope not to have a problem while fishing, keep the line below the lip.

While that measurement may be general, each fishing reel has its number of the line with which it works at its best. The next section is, therefore, crucial to answering your question.

Types of Fishing Reels

When you’re about to put in your line on your fishing reel to go catch fish, you should consider the type of fishing reel in your hands. In this section, we will look into the various types of fishing reels and concerning the number of line to be used:

Spincast Reel

Remember how we said a general way to determine the number of the line put on your reel is marking a fill level from the lip. For spincast reel, fill the spool up to 1/8 inch of the lip.

Spinning Reel

The general rule of thumb for a spinning reel is to put the line up to 1/8 inch from the spool’s edge. Now, an important fact to note here is that leaving a little bit of space is better for casting with a spinning reel; hence, lining up to ¼ inch is somewhat preferable.

Baitcasting Reel

The type and size of the line are the primary considerations in spooling your baitcasting reel. Your best choice would be the fluorocarbon or monofilament line. As for size, spooling the thinner weight test is better.

Surf Fishing Reel

Surf fishing reel can take at least 200 yards and function adequately. You don’t need to stop at 200 yards if the reel can still hold more line. 300-yard spools are appropriate if you’re going to use a braided line; use the entire spool.

Fly Fishing Reel

For a typical length of 90 to 110 feet for a fly fishing line, the number of the line you need is only half of the intended casting distance, which is somewhere around 60 feet. Therefore, casting 30 feet of line will do the trick.

Trolling Reel

If the trolling reel does not come with rubber, then you should put a monofilament line first; otherwise, spool with braided line straightway. If you have to go with the former, put 10 to 20 yards of a monofilament line.

Why is the Number of Line Put on your Reel so Crucial?

When you use too much line, you are bound to encounter some problems, which may interrupt your fishing (perhaps because you want to fix what’s not functioning or it’s broken). Some of the problems you can experience when you put too much line on your reel are:

  • Wind knots; the tangling of your line in the wind
  • Even when the rod and reel are not in use, the line can slip off easily
  • The line could come off too quickly when casting, which could cause tangles in the eyelets; consequently, your line snaps or you have to deal with a shortened casting distance
  • The emergence of fishing line twists will affect your casting distance and reloading of the spool

Final Words

Even though there are a few factors that determine how much line you can put on your reel, there is not much difference between the specificity of the number for each reel and the general rule of 200 yards as recommended by most manufacturers or keeping the line below the lip as recommended by most anglers.