How Do I Tighten My Fishing Line?

Tightening your fishing line is an essential part of any successful fishing trip. If you don’t have the correct tension on your line, you won’t be able to cast and reel in properly, and it will be almost impossible to set a good hook.

Fortunately, there are many simple methods for tightening the line on your rod, no matter what type of reel you are using.

Spinning Reels

The most common type of reel used by recreational anglers is the spinning reel. To tighten the line on this type of reel, start by turning the handle clockwise while simultaneously pushing down on the spool and holding it in place with your thumb.

When you feel tension on the line, stop winding and release the spool with your thumb. This should give you the correct amount of tension.

Baitcasting Reels

Tightening a baitcasting reel is a bit more complex than a spinning reel. Start by turning the handle clockwise until you feel tension on the line.

Then back off 1/4 turn to give yourself some slack. Next, press down on the spool with your thumb and turn the handle counter-clockwise until you feel some resistance. Release pressure from your thumb and check for proper tension.

Fly Fishing Reels

Fly fishing reels require a different approach than traditional reels because they lack drag mechanisms that can be adjusted to create tension on the line. The best way to tighten your fly fishing line is to tie a half-hitch knot near where it attaches to your rod or reel, then pull tightly until it’s taut.


No matter what type of fishing rod or reel you are using, tightening your fishing line correctly is essential for any successful angling adventure. Fortunately, there are several simple methods that can be used depending on which equipment you have at hand – spinning reels require winding while pushing down with one’s thumb; baitcasting reels need winding followed by pressing down with one’s thumb; and fly fishing reels require tying a half hitch knot near where it attaches to one’s rod or reel.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins