Re-Spooling Carp Fishing Reels Guide

Neil Spooner gives you the low-down on which line to choose and the best way to get it on your reels.

For me, this is the time when the slightly tedious job of respooling my reels with new line just has to be done. Quite often your fishing gear will have been in the garage or loft for a long period of time, and there is the chance that your line could have deteriorated. It’s an absolute no-brainer to have a freshen up before you wet a line in the spring. As the carp start to wake up and get caught again, it’s time to get out there and amongst them!

First, choose your main line, bearing in mind what you need it to do

Choosing the right main line in the first place is very important, so I will explain how I make my choices regarding which line I’m going to use:

If you’re going to be fishing a weedy lake then I would always recommend the use of a 15lb breaking strain line; I even use 20lb at times. A weeded fish can be almost impossible to budge at times, and if your line isn’t strong enough then you’ll stand no chance. With this in mind I use as thick a line as possible, as long as I can reach the necessary ranges I’ll be fishing. I would use either the SUBline, which sinks very well, Touchdown, which has very limited stretch and is great for feeling the lead down, or the soon-to-be-released Carp Line, which is a sort of cross between the other two.

If you’re into your distance fishing, or you want to try your hand at some long-range fishing, then you’ll need to opt for an appropriate line, and my favourite would be 10lb or 12lb Touchdown, depending on exactly how far I need to go. The thinner your line, the further you will be able to cast, but always bear in mind how strong the line is, as it still needs to be tough enough to deal with any obstacles the venue boasts.

Another firm favourite of mine, particularly for clear waters, is Kontour fluorocarbon. I use this on venues where I am particularly fussy about the line lay or the carp’s ability to spot the line. Kontour not only sinks like a brick, but it’s also nearly invisible once submerged in water, and with a very limited amount of stretch, it’s great for feeling the lead down too.

Your main line is one of the most important things in your setup as it has to deal with every underwater obstacle that you can think of, whether that be gravel, snags, lily pads or even shopping trolleys! The last thing you want to happen is to get that first bite of the year and then lose it due to not changing the line.

The re-spooling process is quite simple, but it is important that you do it right. First thing to do is give your chosen line a bit of a soaking. Some people like to soak it for 24 hours, but Tom Dove recommends that just an hour is more than enough. The line will absorb enough water in that time to make it easier to work with and go on to the spool nice and tight, so that you don’t under-fill.

Whilst your line is soaking you need to take the old stuff off. If you use big pit reels, as I do, I’d recommend just stripping off approximately 200 yards. Most of your fishing over the course of a season will be at ranges under 100 yards, so I don’t see the need to fill my reel with 500 yards; it just seems like a bit of a waste.

For clear, weed-free waters Kontour flourocarbon is perfect

Next up is connecting the new and old lines together. Thread the line through just the butt section of your rod (that’s all you’ll need) and tie your choice of connecting knot. My favourite has always been the back-to-back grinner. You need to hold both lines together and tie a grinner in your new and old lines, making sure that when doing so the opposites are being wrapped in the knots. You then pull it all tight and trim the tag ends. If that isn’t clear enough then please check out the Korda website for a full step by step.

Finally, it’s time to get your chosen line on to the spool. Leave the spool in the bucket and start turning that reel handle. There are many ways that this is recommended, but due to the way the line is put on to the spool when it’s made, you should have the spool upright and spinning. This ensures that you are putting it on to your reel with the least amount of twist possible. Hold the line under tension with your thumb and forefinger while reeling, and if you do have soft skin then use a wet towel or cloth as it can burn. You are finished when the line is level with the lip of your spool. I choose to over-fill slightly rather than under-fill.

When I’m using new line for the first time I tend to do a few light casts, gradually building up to range to ensure that it all beds down correctly. If you give it the big ’un at the first time of asking you could find yourself with a nasty wind knot, which nobody likes to see!


  • STEP 1: Remove around 200 yards of old line from your reel
  • STEP 2: Pass the line through the butt ring
  • STEP 3: Join the new line to the old – Spoons uses a back-to-back grinner
  • STEP 4: Place the spool of fresh line into a bucket of water and then start reeling – the line should come off a rotating spool, as shown
  • STEP 5: Stop when the line reaches the lip of the spool

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