How to know when a line needs replacing

Anglers should replace their fishing line at least once a year, and perhaps more often if they notice the following:

A lot factors into a line’s lifespan, including weather, fishing conditions and storing a line. High temperatures can cause stretching, which breaks down its strength. Fluorocarbon fishing lines are more durable, but still require more frequent changing than traditional braided lines.

Attaching the new fishing line

Tackle shops usually have machines that load fishing lines for customers, but if you plan to do it yourself, here’s how.

First, open the bail on the spinning reel by flipping up the reel’s little wire arm. Use an arbor knot to tie the new line on the arbor, then flip the wire arm down to close the bail.

Learning the arbor knot

For those new to arbor knots, they’re pretty simple:

  1. Wrap the tag end of the line around the arbor, then use it to tie a simple overhand knot around the line’s standing end. 
  2. Again using the tag end, tie another standing knot a couple inches down from the first.
  3. Pull both knots together to jam against the spool.
  4. Trim the tag end.

Spooling the spinning reel

Place the spool label-up on the floor. Make sure it’s lying flat, not on its side, and that the line is loading onto the reel in the same direction that it comes off the spool.

Pinch the line between the thumb and index finger to apply some pressure and prevent twists. Turn the handle 15 to 20 times, maintaining pressure on the line.

Stop and check the line for twists by giving it slack. If it twists, flip over the spool and try again. Use whichever side gives less twist. Once the spool is full, i.e. about one-eighth of an inch from the rim, it’s good to go.

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