How to Cast a Spinning Reel: Everything You Need to Know

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The first thing you need to know to catch your first fish is how to cast a fishing reel. There are various types of fishing reels, and they are all cast differently. Our focus today is the spinning reel.

Casting a spinning reel needs a bit of practice, but it becomes quite easy when you get used to it. In this article, I will walk you step by step to help you know how to cast a spinning reel like a professional and catch your first fish.

You may also like : What are the best spinning reels ever made? 

More about Spinning Reels

The first use of a fishing reel was in 1650 AD in England. However, the first writing about it dates back over a thousand years ago in China. By 1760, gear-retrieved reels were all over London tackle shops. In 1810, George Snyder came up with the first gear multiplying reel. A fixed-spool (spinning reel) was invented in Europe in the 1930s.

At present, spinning reels have become quite popular both among the young and the old. The reason behind their popularity is their accuracy and versatility. Also, there are various casting techniques. However, it won’t do you any good if you don’t do your homework and learn how to put a line on a spinning reel and cast properly.

Mastering how to cast a spinning reel takes several hours of practice. To learn various casts, you will need to invest more time in practice. I hope this guide will clear up any misconceptions you may have about it and, in the end, help you master how to cast. 

Spinning Reel Basics

The physics behind a casting reel is a bit different from other conventional reels. A spinning reel uses a fixed spool, meaning the weight of the lure pulls of the line out of the spool. After the lure gets into the water, the line stops coming off.

Your skill level plays a significant role in determining accuracy. Yes, the lure’s weight, the power behind the cast, and the quality of the line are vital, but you still need to understand the basics of the casting for the best fishing experience.


Spinning reels are, without a doubt, the most popular type of fishing reel in the universe. Here are the reasons for explaining their popularity.

  • Durable
  • Superior casting distance
  • Adaptable and versatile


The spinning reel limits a user to lighter gear. If you load spinners with heavy lines and lure, you will start noticing a drop in performance. It also not easy to use a spinning like it is to use a spincast . You will need to take your time and practice. Finally, These reels fairly more expensive compared to spincast reels.

Related : Spincast Vs Spinning reel – Which One to Pick

Common Problems with Spinning Reels and Their Solutions

Beginners usually face some problems with the spinning reels from time to time. Luckily, most of these problems have easy solutions that you can do yourself. Here are the solutions to these common spinning reel problems.

Line Twist

In most cases, line twist occurs due to long-term usage. Also, some beginners cause the line twist while spooling new lines.

Solution: It is quite challenging to untwist the line, so the best solution is to cut the old line and apply a new one with a machine. A machine ensures the line is tight and uniform.


If you fish on saltwater, corrosions and rusting are guaranteed. Rust affects the performance of your reel, and you may need to buy a new one. If you are interested in the saltwater spinning reel, you may check out our content on Top Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 100 dollars

Solution: The best way to fix this problem is to ensure it does not happen in the first place. Rinse your reel every time after fishing. If you notice any signs of early rust, remove them with a toothbrush.

Spinning Reel Locking Problem

The spinning reel locking problem is perhaps the most common problem faced by anglers. The problem is caused by the spring, line roller, or the bail wire in most cases.

Solution: To fix the problem, look for signs of rust or marring in the metal. Also, check for corrosions on the spring and line roller. If there are any of those problems, I recommend the replacement of the affected parts.

Gear Grinding

In most cases, gear grinding is caused by wear that happens over time. Also, if the side plate screws loosen, it may lead to grinding.

Solution: If loosened crews cause the problem, tighten them. Make sure to do it ASAP. If it is caused by long-term wear, replace the gear.

Line Size

The use of the wrong lines is usually the cause of this problem. Always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. They know their spinning reels better, and that’s why they give those recommendations.

Understand Your Equipment

Before we dive into how to cast, it is very important that you understand your equipment perfectly. Knowing what you should carry to your fish hunt makes your work easier.

Spinning Reel

If you are yet to purchase a spinning reel, do some research and identify the kind of spinning reel that suits your needs. You can get informative articles about the best spinning reels under your budget from this website

Spinning Rod

Spinning rods are designed to perfectly go with the type of a spinning reel one is using. Visit a local fishing store and get a spinning rod that feels comfortable.

Fishing Line

The quality of a fishing line is essential, and the most suitable for you depends on the type of fish you are planning to catch. Learn the basics about fishing lines. If you don’t know how to put a new line into a fishing reel, you can check this video content to learn the best way to put a new line on a fishing reel.


I usually recommend buying several types of baits. Be sure to conduct a small research about fishing baits before you go fishing.


Well, I don’t think you need to conduct any research here. Just carry with you any scissors you have at home.

Essential Parts of a Spinning Reel

Spinning Reel Parts

The spinning reel is made up of several parts that work together to make fishing effortless. These parts include:


This is where the fishing line is wrapped around


A fisher uses the handle to force the fishing line back into the reel.


The bail helps prevent the fishing line from coming out of the spool when you are not using it. When closed, the fishing line cannot come out, and when open, it comes out with ease.

Reel Foot

It connects the rod to the reel

Drag Knob

It allows you to set the flexibility of the line when the spool is closed. When loosened, the line can come out with little force. When tightened, the fishing line cannot come out at all when the spool is closed.

Line Roller

Its purpose is to guide the fishing line out of the spool to the rod.

Essential Parts of the Rod

It is vital to understand everything about the fishing rod. That way, you always know when you catch some fish. Here is what you need to know about the fishing rod.

Rod Tip

It helps you notice when the hook catches something in the water. It is about four inches thick, and it is the thinnest part of a rod. Be careful with it as it may break if you apply a lot of pressure.


Guides are circles that helps keep the line close to the rod.

Reel Seat

It secures the spinning reel to the rod.


The part of the rod you will be holding while fishing. This part is usually made of softer materials for your comfort when fishing.

Connect the Spinning Reel to the Rod

First, ensure that the reel seat on the rod is big enough for the reel foot to fit comfortably. Once the foot is in, tighten it until the reel feels steady.

Spool the Reel

If you are wondering how to spool a spinning reel, here is where you learn how. This is a crucial step in fishing, and you need to master it before you go out fishing. If not done properly, it can lead to a frustrating fishing experience. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Open the bail and place the fishing line around the reel once. By doing so, there will be two “pieces” of the fishing line.
  • Tie a knot on using the two “pieces” of the line.
  • Tie another standard knot with the resulting “pieces” of the fishing line
  • Cut loose “pieces” of the line about a quarter inch away from the reel. 
  • Close the bail
  • Hold the line at least a foot away from the reel.
  • Turn the reel until you get enough line on the reel. The amount of line needed depends on the kind of line you are using as well as the type of reel.

String the Rod

  • Use one hand to grab the tip of the line and use the other to open the bail arm
  • Place the fishing line through the guides. Be sure to start from the bottom going all the way up to the tip.

Tie the Knot

There are different types of knots. The most basic one is easy to tie, but it loosens up with time. If you plan to catch fish weighing over 15 pounds, you might want to learn how to tie other complex knots. Visit to learn how to tie different knots such as clinch knot, Palomar knot, etc. 

Set the Drag Knob

  • Turn the knob anticlockwise to loosen it and clockwise to tighten it.
  • Pull the fishing line slowly to establish how the change on the drag.
  • Repeat several times until you feel the drag is set at a perfect amount

It will take skill to determine the desired amount of drag, so be sure to ask for help from a professional. You should set the drag before you go out fishing. However, if you notice that the drag is too loose or tight while fishing, you can adjust it.

If the drag is too loose, a fish can take the line out of reel with ease. The hook will also have little tension, allowing the fish to spit it out easily. If it is too tight, the line will have too much tension, which can lead to breakage.

Cast the Bait

Now that everything is set, it’s time to catch some fish. Before we catch, we have to cast the bait into the water. Here’s how to go about it.

Step 1

I usually hold the reel with my right hand (dominant hand) and set the stem of the reel a foot between my middle and ring finger. This action ensures that the index finger reaches slightly above the bail, and my thumb wraps around the top of the rod. However, if the rod feels more balanced between other fingers, use those fingers.

Your position may change depending on the size of your spinning reel. Some models of the spinning reel are heavy, and they may require you to use both hands for a better grip.

Also Read : How to Switch Spinning Reel handle

Step 2

Reel in the fishing line gradually, until you get between six and twelve inches of the line hanging off the tip of the rod. Make sure that the bail is closed while you do this.

Step 3

Ensure that the lure does not touch the rod tips. If it does, the casting distance will be hindered. Also, make sure that it not too far away (several feet) from the rod tip. If it is too far, it will hinder the casting distance. Ideally, make sure there are around ten inches between the rod tip and the lure.

Step 4

Use your index finger to pull the fishing line off the roller. The line should be able to move out of the spool freely.

Step 5

Use your left hand (non-dominant hand) to flip the bail up. Bring the rod up over your headand release the line with your index finger. Your arm should be at about 45 degrees. The lure will carry the fishing line into the water.

Your release point will determine where the lure will land. If you release too late, the lure will fall just there near the boat or even on the banks. If you are too early, the lure will fly high, but it will not go too far. To get the right distance, I usually ensure that my release point is slightly more than the halfway mark of the forward cast range.

Finally, close the bail with your other hand (the one not holding the fishing rod). Closing the bail with your hands helps eliminate loops in the line, usually caused by the turning of the handle.

FAQs about Spinning Reels Answered

We may have learned how to cast, but there may still be some more questions that you need answers. Here, I give you answers to common questions about spinning reels to make your fishing experience even better.

Why Is My Fishing Reel Not Working

Your fishing reel may fail to reel because of one of these two reasons:

  • The cast bail is askew
  • There is a tangled line

To fix the problem:

  • Take out the housing cover
  • Check both ends of the spool and if there is a fishing line stuck in there, remove it with a tip of a screwdriver.
  • Examine the cast bail mechanism and look for any tangled fishing line. If there is a tangled fishing line, use a flat screwdriver to fix it.
  • Make sure there are no signs of awry and try to reel again.

Why Is My Fishing Reel Handle So Hard to Turn?

One of the reasons why your handle may be too hard to turn is because your drag is too tightened. Try loosening it a bit and see if it will solve the problem.

How Can I Set the Drag on My Reel?

To set the drag on your reel:

  • Assemble the rod and attach it to the reel. Put the line through the guides from the bottom up.
  • Tie the fishing line to the hook of your scale
  • Hold it (rod) at a 45 degrees angle.
  • Pull down your scale and mark the readings on the scale once the drag begins slipping.

How Much Drag Is Enough?

Most anglers are okay with 25 to 30 pounds. Some are okay with even less than 25 pounds.

Why is My Fishing Reel Making A Lot of Noise?

There is a possibility that there is debris caught between the rotor and spool. Also, there may be dirt or debris in the gear system. Just clean it up, and it may fix the noise problem.

Catch Some Fish

Congratulations, my fishing buddies! You know how to cast a spinning reel. Now go out and enjoy fishing.

The best tip I can give you is; take some time to practice before you go out fishing. Don’t learn while you are already on the water. While you can still catch some fish, it can’t be as fun as it will be when you already know what you are doing.

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