Three Things to Consider Before You Buy a Fishing Line Winder

A line winder can help you replace old fishing line without introducing complications.

It used to be you had two ways to put fresh line on a fishing reel. The first way was to have it done at a tackle shop with help from someone behind the counter, who would use a motorized winder. Of course, you had to buy the line at the store, whatever line it was, and at whatever price the store charged.

The second way was to do it yourself by putting a pencil through a line spool and having someone hold it while you reeled new line onto the reel. The problem was the person holding the spool of line rarely put the proper amount of tension on it. Too much tension and you couldn’t reel. Not enough tension resulted in loosely spooled line that spiraled off spinning reel spools and caused unfixable tangles in baitcasters.

Those two methods still exist, but there’s a better DIY method now. Use a line-winding device. Line winders are easy to use and allow you to apply just the right amount of tension to your line. Here are three line-winder designs worth considering.

This model breaks down into sections small enough to fit into a tackle box. Piscifun

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A portable line winder is portable in two senses. You can take it on an extended fishing trip, so you and your fishing partners can put on new line, or you can change on the spot, if conditions call for it. You also can take a portable line winder into your living room, so you can spool new line onto all of your fishing reels while you’re watching TV.

Portable line winders typically consist of a device that looks like a rod butt. You attach the reel to a reel seat at the base and mount a spool of line on a holder at the other end. You tension the spool to your liking, tie the line to your reel, and start cranking.

This model helps you remove old mono or fluorocarbon before you add the fresh stuff. PLUSINNO

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Tabletop winders attach to a horizontal surface via a clamp. The line spool is held in place above the table. Some winders come with a section with a reel seat so you can attach the reel to it. Others require you to hold the reel with one hand while you reel with the other.

The advantage of a tabletop winder is that they typically accommodate very large spools of line, which allows you to save money by buying bulk spools of material. They’re also very sturdy, so you can lay the line onto large reel spools neatly and evenly. Look for a tabletop winder that has a handle on the spool holder that allows you to quickly remove old line from a fishing reel, which is normally a time-consuming, tedious process.

This model keeps your reel straight away from whatever material you’re adding to decrease twist. Berkley

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If you fish with monofilament line, you probably are well aware it’s subject to annoying loops, tangles, and knots if the line twists as it’s being reeled onto the spool. That happens often with spinning reels that are being loaded with line from a spool that’s being held perpendicular to the reel. The line comes straight off of the spool, but then twists as it is being wound onto the spinning reel. Spinning reels with narrow spools are especially prone to this happening, and it’s extremely frustrating to load up a reel with fresh mono only to have it kink up after a couple of casts.

The best way to eliminate monofilament line twist on spinning reels is to put on fresh line so the reel spool is parallel to the line spool. Some line winders allow you to do this with a clutch device that holds the reel spool in line with the new-line spool. That allows you to put fresh mono on the reel spool without all those twists—just like at the store.