Every now and again, you will encounter issues with your fishing reel and will need it spooled with line again. No matter how much love you give it, general wear and tear will lead to you to needing some help.
This is where it’s easy to get stumped.
You have your broken reel. You know it needs to be spooled. But where do you take your fishing reel to get it spooled? And how do you get it done without spending a crazy amount of money?
You can get a fishing reel spooled at most big box sporting goods stores like Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s. You can also visit local tackle shops to get the job done. In general, expect to only pay for the new fishing line since most shops spool a reel for free, even if you bring in your line.
If you want a challenge, you can learn how to do it yourself. If you’d rather find someone to do it for you, read on.
Where can I get my fishing reel spooled with line?
Spooling a fishing reel can take time and training that you may not have. When finding someone else to get the job done, you need to know where to look. Fortunately, you can explore many options and find someone to spool your fishing line in no time. This way you can get back out on the water as quickly as possible.
The most common places you can get your reel spooled include:
- Big box sporting goods stores
- Local bait and tackle shops
- A savvy friend or family member
- Someone on Craigslist or Marketplace
- At home with a spooling station
Sporting Goods Stores
The big box sporting goods stores tend to be everyone’s first pick when it comes down to getting gear repaired or buying your first-ever rod and reel. They have the best reels, help you pick out the right reel for you, and will take care of the rest for you.
These big stores have pros and cons, just like anywhere else. Your quality of service is typically up in the air, but you know you can find what you’re looking for 99% of the time.
Generally, when you buy a new setup, you can get your reel spooled wherever you buy that new reel. That way, you can choose your line and have it ready to go the moment you walk out of the store. While that’s not always the case, you’ll find a lot of places that will have full service.
I called each of these box stores at various locations to get a quick quote on the prices for having your fishing reel spooled. It turns out that most big box stores will spool your reel for free if you bring your own line. Otherwise, you only need to pay for the line rather than the labor for spooling the reel.
You may also show up to one of the bigger shops and find out they don’t have the services you’re looking for. If you want to get your fishing reel spooled, head out to any of the following big box stores.
Cabela’s is going to be the go-to for a large number of anglers out there. They have just about everything you could be looking for and have an excellent reputation for service. If you bring your line in, you can have your reel spooled at no cost.
They’ll spool any reel you buy there for free, with the line typically coming complimentary as well.
Bass Pro Shops
Since Bass Pro and Cabela’s merged into a single company back in 2017, there should be no surprise that they offer similar deals. Bass Pro Shops also will spool a reel for free but will charge for the line if you don’t bring it with you.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods turned out to be the outlier in the big box store department. While it depended on the weight of the line and the reel, the fishing department told me it would cost around $5 in labor to have your reel spooled.
When put up against all other stores that do it for free, it may not be the best place to have it done.
Sportsman’s Warehouse is another hugely popular shop for those who want to bring in more fish. The shop follows the same trend as most other big box stores and doesn’t charge for the labor to spool a reel.
You pay by the foot for the line, and that price will change depending on the line you choose. But no matter what, you don’t need to pay to get it onto the reel.
According to the department worker I spoke with, it’s cheaper to buy the line while having it spooled than to buy it separately and do it yourself.
At Academy Sports, there’s a similar expense. You’re going to pay for the line to put on the reel, but you aren’t going to pay for the labor. If you buy your new reel in-store, you can choose from their spools of bulk line without an additional charge.
The line comes for a small fee if you’re bringing your own reel, which can be a pretty good deal.
Bait and Tackle Shops
Smaller bait and tackle shops that you will find in popular fishing areas are, not surprisingly, similar to the bigger stores. When I called a few local shops near me, they had the same response as all of the bigger shops, with way less time spent on hold.
They need to keep up with their massive competitors’ services, so they will spool a reel for free. If you’re looking for where to spool your fishing reel, always choose a small and local shop if you have the choice. Bringing these services locally will help keep the small-town economy alive and well.
Working with Friends
Fishing is often more of a community activity than an individual one. When you go out with all of your buddies or even by yourself, you have a great opportunity to meet more people who love to fish as much as you do.
Once you build a strong fishing community, you’ll likely have friends who like to spool their reels rather than bring them into stores. When you find a good group of friends like this, you can ask them to spool reels for you. Better yet, ask them to teach you how to do it yourself.
Marketplace or Craigslist
Social media and internet resources are some other great places to turn when looking for someone to help spool your fishing reel. You can look on Facebook Marketplace to see if there’s already someone offering the service. You can put out an ad asking for someone to help you.
If someone near you has their own spooling station, they’ll likely be willing to do it for a low cost, or even help you learn how to do it on your own.
Spooling a Reel at Home
Your final option is to do it yourself. While this can be interesting for some, others don’t want to do the work on their own. This is where it really comes down to personal preference.
For the most part, it’s pretty easy to spool your fishing reel at home. You can buy a pretty decent spooling station for $30 and it won’t take too long to do the work. But again, it’s up to your own preference. Sometimes it’s easier to just bring it into a shop and have it finished in no time.
How much does it cost to spool a fishing reel?
In general, spooling a fishing reel is pretty cheap. If you bring your reel into a shop, you can choose from their bulk spools of line that they get at a much cheaper price.
If you spool your fishing reel at home, you have to buy a box of 300 yards of line or more. You don’t always need that much line, so sometimes it’s not worth buying.
As we discussed earlier, almost every shop doesn’t charge for labor to spool a fishing reel. While there are a few exceptions, you probably shouldn’t be paying for it if you don’t have to. When you buy the reel at the shop, you often won’t need to pay for the line either and the service is typically included.
If you’re re-spooling a reel, you should only be paying for the line. If you choose a cheap mono line over a more expensive fluorocarbon or a nice braided line, you are looking at a small price shift overall. You can buy it by the foot at the shop when you get it spooled rather than buying a box of line, which typically costs more.