How to Rig a Spinning Rod

Written by bob haring
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How to Rig a Spinning Rod
One version of a spinning reel. (spinning wheel image by Zbigniew Nowak from

Spinning reels and rods come in all sizes, from ultralight rigs to massive versions used in ocean and deep-sea fishing. Regardless of size, they are rigged the same up to the point where the bait or lure is attached. There are multiple variations in the final rigging, depending on the water being fished and the type of fish being sought, ranging from panfish in a pond to giant tuna in the ocean.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Extra line
  • Clippers
  • Weights, hooks, swivels, snaps and leaders

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  1. 1

    Match the weight of your line to your spinning reel and rod. Most reels have a line indicator on them. Line weights will vary from two- and four-pound test for ultralight rigs, to 10-20 pound test for bass rods and reels to 50-60 pound test (or higher) for ocean and deep-sea fishing. The indicator also should show the amount of line needed. Ultralights will require much less line than surf-casting reels. Using too heavy a line will reduce the efficiency of the reel in casting.

  2. 2

    Load the line from the reel onto the rod. This involves just opening the reel bail -- the ring which lifts up or down -- and threading line through the guides on the rod; then pull the line back down to the reel. The next step depends on your plans. If you are just loading up for a future fishing trip, you can simply tie off the end of the line on the bail until you are ready to put on bait or lures. If you want to set up for fishing at once, basically choose one of two options: single line, tied to a hook or snap swivel, or multiple ending, tied to a three-way swivel to hold bait and weight.

  3. 3

    Use special riggings for freshwater fishing such as black bass, which has become the preferred quarry of many fishermen. There are three basic versions: Carolina, Texas and wacky. The Carolina rig uses a three-way swivel with a leader, which holds the hook and bait (typically a plastic worm or other soft plastic bait), a weight which drops down to determine the distance of the lure from the bottom, and the line from the reel. The Texas rig is mostly for plastic worms; it uses a sliding weight of some type ahead of a hook, which is threaded through the worm lengthwise. The wacky variant puts the hook through the middle of the worm.

  4. 4

    Adapt the basic techniques for special fishing, such as in streams or rivers for trout and in the surf or the ocean for striped bass and other large fish. Spinning rigs for trout tend to use a single line with a lure at the end, often with no additional weight because the lure is weighted. Pond fishing usually uses a single hook tied on the end of the line. Surf or bay fishing usually involves some variant of the Carolina rig, with a lure or bait and a suspended weight.

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