While it might not be the flashiest tool in your arsenal, a good fishing line spooler can save you from serious headaches.
No more threading a pencil through the spool and trying to grip it with your toes as you wind the line!
Fishing line spoolers and winders allow you to quickly and effectively spool line to a spinning, baitcaster, or fly reel. You can also use them in reverse to remove old line to a spare spool for storage.They can also be used without someone else holding onto the spool, so there’s no need to bother your significant other!
I’ll break down some of the best spoolers on the market, how to pick the right one for your needs, and briefly explain how to use them.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Fishing Line Spoolers
- Best Overall: Piscifun Fishing Line Winder Spooler
- Runner Up: Piscifun EZ Fishing Line Spooler
- Best Clamp Line Spooler: DAIICHI High Speed Line Recycler
- Budget Pick: thkfish Fishing Line Winder
- Also Consider: PLUSINNO Fishing Line Spooler
Why do you need a fishing line spooler (winder)
Why do you need a fishing line spooler – can’t you just use a pencil?
While a pencil can get the job done in a pinch, a dedicated line spooler makes the job much easier. Spooling by hand often leads to tangles, twists, and knots.
Many line spoolers eliminate these twists entirely by rotating the spool as it unwinds, matching the direction of the feeder spool and the reel. Some models feature portable mounts that attach directly to your rod or reel, making them great for longer trips where you may need to swap out line.
Line spoolers can be used with both wide and narrow spools of mono, braided or fluorocarbon line. Most will work with a wide variety of reel sizes, from the smallest ultralight spinner up to the beefiest trolling reel.
They’re also fairly inexpensive, so adding one to your fishing arsenal is a great value.
Best Overall: Piscifun Fishing Line Winder Spooler
Versatile, easy-to-use, and tough as nails, this well-made line spooler from Piscifun has all the functionality you need to spool both wide and narrow line spools. It features two different winding modes: fixed for spooling line to baitcasting reels and rotating for spooling line to spinning reels.
To switch between the two modes, simply tighten or loosen the fastener on top of the gimbal. You can also adjust the gripping arms to accommodate different spool widths by rotating the middle knob. Adjusting this middle knob also allows you to modify the amount of tension on the spool.
The frame is made from high strength graphite, which keeps it lightweight and durable. It’s also compact and lightweight, making it easy to throw in your tackle box for whenever you might need it.
The only major downside is no line counter for measuring how much line you’ve spooled is included, but that’s fairly minor.
- Works well for both baitcasting and spinning reels
- Adjustable tension
- Works for any width spool
- Compact, breakdown design makes it easy to stash in your tackle box
Runner Up: Piscifun EZ Fishing Line Spooler
This compact, multipurpose spooler can be used in a variety of different ways – providing a true all-in-one line spooling tool. It can be mounted to a smooth surface with the included suction cup or can be mounted directly to your rod with the built-in rod clip.
The adjustable grips can accommodate spools from 0” up to 5.5” wide, allowing you to spool nearly any width spool. To adjust the line tension simply rotate the same adjustment knob that opens and closes the clamp arms. The spool gripping arms can set to lock in place for spooling line to baitcasting and trolling reels, or it can be set to rotate for spooling onto spinning reels.
The rod clip works well for both thick and thin rod blanks, from slim 0.2” diameter rods up to beefy 1.1” rods. Designed to breakdown into a compact bundle, it’s one of the most portable line spoolers on the market today.
- Two mounting options: clamped directly to the rod blank, or with the suction cup on a flat surface
- Can accommodate line spool widths up to 5.5 inches
- Works with baitcasting, spinning and trolling reels
- Breaks down into a compact package for easy transport and storage
Best Clamp Line Spooler: DAIICHI High Speed Line Recycler
If you’re looking for a fast winding line spooler that securely clamps to a desk or workbench, then you’ll have a hard time beating this made in Japan Daiichi spooler. It features a gear ratio of 3.5:1 – which allows you to reel line 3.5 times faster than with most other models.
The Japanese construction is a cut above most other spoolers in this price range. It looks and feels like a far more expensive piece of equipment.
An adjustable tension knob allows you to precisely set the reel tension to your preferred level, including the high tension settings needed for Japanese style speed jigging with PE line.
The mounting clamp can fit desks or tables up to 1.4 inches (35mm) thick, so make sure you have an appropriate surface that will fit inside the clamp.
- 5:1 gear ration allows you to wind and unwind line 3.5X faster than normal
- Sturdy, high-end Japanese construction
- Surprisingly compact design is easy to fit in most tackle boxes
- The mounting clamp will fit on surfaces up to 1.4” thick
Budget Pick: thkfish Fishing Line Winder
If you’re looking for a practical and efficient line spooler without breaking the bank, then this all-aluminum clamp-on spooler fits the bill nicely. It comes in three different configurations: short, long, and vertical slim. The short style will fit spool widths up to 1.66”, the long style can fit spools up to 3.25”, while the vertical slim style will accommodate spools up to 2.76” wide.
The design is fairly straightforward, but it gets the job done. A sturdy, non-slip mounting clamp fastens the spooler to any surface up to 2.44” thick, while the double-headed fastening spring can accommodate two spools simultaneously.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to alter your spooling method to minimize line twist when spooling. When spooling line to a baitcasting reel, the line must come over the top of the feeder spool, not from underneath. For a spinning reel, the opposite is true, the line should come off the bottom of the spool.
- Compact, straightforward design is effective and easy-to-use
- Sturdy, non-slip clamp mount securely fastens to any flat surface
- 3 different configurations: short, long, and vertical slim
- Works with spinning reels, baitcasters, trolling reels and more
Also Consider: PLUSINNO Fishing Line Spooler
This compact, easy-to-assemble line spooler is the perfect option for clamping to your desk, workbench or tailgate. It uses a simple c-clamp with a quick release to attach to any flat surface up to 2.3” thick.
A standard reel seat allows you to attach a spinning, baitcaster or fly reel to the tool – so you don’t have to hold the reel in your hand while you’re spooling. The spooler can accommodate spools up to 3 1/2” wide, so it will fit the vast majority of spools other than the largest bulk-sized spools. It can also fit multiple spools of line simultaneously – allowing you to spool backing line and main line without having swap out the spools.
Turning the axle knob allows you to easily adjust the amount of tension on the line.
Like other line spoolers with fixed axels, you’ll need to ensure you’re spooling from the right part of the feeder spool.
- C-clamp with quick-release rapidly attaches to any flat surface
- It can hold two spools simultaneously
- Works with spinning reels, baitcasters, trolling reels and more
- Holds spools up to 3 ½” wide
How to pick the best fishing line spooler
With so many different features, types, and configurations, picking the best fishing line spooler can seem like a confusing task. I’ll break down what you need to know to help you choose the ideal line spooler for your needs.
Line spoolers have a maximum spool width that they can fit.
They typically vary from 1.75” to 5.5”, so make sure your spools of fishing line can fit inside any spooler you’re interested in. If you typically buy bulk sized spools, then going with the largest spool capacity available is a smart idea.
Many line spoolers are also able to hold two separate feeder spools at the same time. This is highly useful when you need to add backing and main line to a reel in one shot. Going with a wider spool capacity also makes sense in this case.
There are a wide variety of mounting options when it comes to line spoolers. Some utilize c-clamps or suction cups to mount to a flat surface, while others feature reel seats or rod clamps to attach directly to a rod/reel.
The ideal type for you will mostly depend on where you plan to use the line spooler.
If you want one that’s highly portable, and can be used on a boat, kayak or shoreline, then go with the portable style that attaches directly to the rod/reel. On the other hand, if you plan to use the spooler at home or in your garage, then a c-clamp style will work well.
I’d recommend avoiding suction cup mounted spoolers, as they tend not to mount as well as the clamp types.
Adding tension to your line as you spool is an important feature of any line spooler. Line tension is what prevents your line from creating bird’s nests or backlash when you cast.
Loosely spooled line can also damage the rest of your line during casts, hooksets, and snags by digging into the line still in the spool.
Line spoolers allow you to adjust the amount of tension by turning the knob (or knobs) that hold the feeder spool in place.
Most line spooling stations can spool line to spinning, baitcasting, trolling, and fly reels. While they’re all able to wind line fairly well, some are more effective than others.
One feature to look out for is rotating arm grips that allow the feeder spool to turn freely as you wind in line. This feature is designed for use with spinning reels – it essentially eliminates line twists from developing.
Clamp-style spoolers typically don’t have this feature, so you’ll have to ensure you set up the feeder to avoid line twists. For baitcasting reels, the line should come off the top of the feeder spool, for spinning reels it should come from the bottom of the spool.
How to spool fishing line
Spooling line to a fishing reel is a pretty straightforward process, but there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you avoid line twisting and unnecessary malfunctions.
The first step is to open the bail (the little wire arm that flips up and down) and tie your line to the spool with an arbor knot. Next, cut off any tag end remaining with a pair of scissors and close the bail.
Then attach your spool of line to the line spooler (if it’s not already attached). If you’re using a spooler with a fixed axle, then ensure the line is coming off the bottom of the feeder spool. If you’re using the type with a rotating spool grip, make sure it’s set to rotate.
Turn the knob that holds the feeder spool in place until there’s a slight amount of pressure being applied on the line. Now crank the handle until your spool is about 1/8th inch from the rim. It’s important not to underfill or overfill it, as this can make casting difficult.
Although baitcasting reels are more challenging to master than spinning or spincast reels, they’re actually easier to spool by yourself.
To spool line to a baitcasting reel, start by wrapping your line around the spool and tying an arbor knot. Then trim the tag end as close to the knot as possible.
Next, attach your spool of line to the line spooler (if it’s not already attached). Make sure the line is coming off the top of your feeder spool.
Ensure there’s a constant pressure applied to the line as you spool. Next, wind in the line until your reel is about 1/8” from the top of the spool mounts. You can add more, but make sure no part of the spool comes in contact with the reel body.
If you’re using braided line, you’ll need to add a length of mono or fluorocarbon line directly to the spool as backing. This prevents line slippage and provides a stable base for the braided line. You can attach this backing line to the braid with an Albright knot or a double uni knot.
Check out my review of the best fishing knot tying tools to help you tie any knot with ease.
Whenever you’re un-spooling old fishing line it’s a good idea to use a wet washcloth to rub off any gunk, dirt, or salt that’s built up over time. This will go a long way to preventing line deterioration and will extend the life of your fishing line.
Spooling or unspooling line presents a perfect opportunity to perform some basic maintenance on your reels.
To keep your reels in top shape, simply remove the line spool entirely, and rub down all surfaces of the reel with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol. Then apply several drops of fishing reel oil to the bearings, roller assembly, bail arm assembly and handle.
If you’re interested in an in-depth explanation of fishing reel maintenance, check out my detailed breakdown of fishing reel grease and oil.