Spinning: The Set-up.

Spinning Rod Set-Up

When starting off spinning I wish I had had a page like this that I could have looked at. Diagrams are so much easier to digest when it comes to rigs and rod/reel set-ups and so I have made some images to explain exactly what you need and what your set-up should look like. Obviously this is a guide and not set in stone by any means. You don't have to use braid for example and your mainline could carry on all the way through to the clip with no leader if you prefer. However, this is what I use and it is what I feel works the best for me. My advice is to start simple but don't be afraid to branch out a little and experiment with different ideas and set ups. If you don't try you'll never know what works best for you. Remember, travel light.  A standard set-up may look a little like this:

 Your main components should be : mainline, (knot), leader, (knot), swivel-clip, lure. Ensure you have about 12 inches of line hanging free at the end to help you with casting. We will look at the main components of the standard spinning set up individually for some tips.

The reel should not be over-full. If you have opted for braid, this is even more important. The reason why is to do with the friction of the line as it comes off the reel during casting. Under-fill the reel slightly and you will have more friction and this will keep a certain amount of pressure in the line and help prevent massive tangles in the line which are a nightmare to sort out. These are called wind-knots. Bear in mind though that to much friction (too little line on the reel) will start to affect the distance and accuracy of your casting. Notice the subtle difference between the two spools below.

Over filled spool
Perfectly filled spool

What you will have is the mainline (of around 12lb. If you use braid you can use higher as its diameter is still small) attached to a length of fluorocarbon leader with a blood-knot. For freshwater setups you do not need the flurocarbon. This will ensure a tidy knot that will not affect your casting as the knot travels through the eyelets of your rod. Here's how you tie the blood knot. Remember to moisten the entire knot before pulling tight. NB: I have been reliably informed by one of the famous names in fishing, the great Keith Arthur that bloodknots can be dreadfully unreliable especially when tying braided line due to the materials that are used. He mentioned that they can be used for similar diameter mono to mono knots but recommends checking out the following website for alternatives. Thanks Keith :) Www.animatedknots.com/usesfishing.php
Full Blood Knot

Now you will have a length of fluorocarbon (try around 10lb) You will want enough so that the lure can hang off the end of the rod about 1 foot and you are casting using the mainline. See the diagram above for an idea. As a good rule of thumb if your rod is 8 foot use 7 foot leader, if your rod is 7 foot use 6 foot leader etc. The fluorocarbon should then be attached to a swivel-clip or bait-clip. My advice is always go for the swivel because tangles or twists in the line will almost certainly affect the action of your lures. So use a half-blood knot to attach the fluorocarbon leader to your clips and make sure the clips are small enough in diameter that they will easily attach to all of your lures. Most lures have eyelets or rings to attach your clip to but some are very small -especially jig-heads which you may use for soft plastic lures- and sometimes your bait clip will not fit which is a real pain in the neck.

Half Blood Knot

Here's how you use a half-blood knot. Remember to always moisten any knot that you tie before pulling firm. There are all sorts of different varieties of knots and many anglers will insist that theirs is better of stronger than the last. This may well be true, check out the above website for ideas.

Your swivel clip is then attached to any lure you wish and your set up is ready to go! Remember when choosing a swivel clip that it must be strong but also have a thin diameter so you can attach it to all your lures. I prefer this style of swivel-clip myself. They are cheap and easy to use and I have yet to have one break on me. If you are setting up for freshwater, simply tie your wire trace directly to your main line ignoring the fluorocarbon and the swivel-clip.

Here's a video showing you exactly how to do it:


  1. Why use a fluorocarbon leader of similar strength to the mainline? I thought I.e. when beach casting, you have a shock leader to absorb the shock of the cast, yet this is weaker?

    This is a brilliant write up, ESP as I'm looking to start spinning for bass this summer!

  2. The Bass aren't massive and the tackle is lightweight so ypu don't have so much of the cast shock to worry about. fluoro holds its memory and is quite thick and tangley which can affect your cast. so I use as light as I can get away with. it also makes the fight more fun but beware of snags etc. enjoy your spinning, tight lines and thanks for commenting :)

  3. Thanks Ras,

    Would you ever use a wire trace for bass?

  4. Not for bass, there's no need. Only use for pike or other toothy fish.

  5. Not for bass, there's no need. Only use for pike or other toothy fish.

  6. This is a great site and a good effort - thanks mate. Am always in a conundrum as I use lures and spinners - but many times i see advise that says don't put a snap swivel - just connect the main line with a raphala knot to the lure as the swivel can interfere with the action . Was wondering if one can attach Fluro only the last 3 ft of main line and then make a raphala knot for the lure . What would the disadvantage of that be versus running 7 ft of fluro on the main line , then the swivel and then the lure

    1. If you tie your Fluro directly to your Lure, without using a Swivel, then there are good chances of getting kinks in your main line due to twist of the line. Swivel would prevent twist in your line and prevent wind knots and subsequent hassles to bird's nest.


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