Reels - spare spools are a good option

Shimano butrunner 4000D and Daiwa Sol 3500 plus 5 additional spoolsIt’s about the softbait trip that turns into a serious stray-lining session. It’s also about those times when you wish you’d bought a different weight of braid because your buddy is absolutely nailing them beside you and you haven’t got that lineweight. It's also about having options when you’re on the water and the game changes – are you prepared?

To cover all situations you’re likely to encounter in a day out, the solution is either to take a trailer load of kit or invest in a few spare spools for your favourite reels. With a few spare spools then it’s a relatively easy task to mix and match with a couple of rods that are good enough to cover a range of fishing options.

Shimano 4000D Baitrunner and a solid 6kg Rangitoto Channel snapper

The Shimano 4000D Baitrunner

I recently had the chance to use a demo Shimano 4000D Baitrunner with two spare spools. The reel proved itself on several occasions to be a versatile and very nice piece of kit. There's no doubt that having the baitrunner functionality for stray-lining is an important consideration when you’re deciding what spinning reel you’re going to buy. The three spools were loaded with two weights of Suffix braid, 10 and 20lb, and a spool of 6kg mono.

On a recent snapper trip in the Hauraki Gulf I took the baitrunner and 2 rods and as it happened we came across some good sign on the sounder. We caught some good string-pulling snapper on softbaits and a bit later decided to anchor and berley up.

In no time at all, the spool of braid was switched to 6kg mono, I swapped the rods and had the ideal set-up for the rest of the afternoon. On a subsequent trip the 4000D Baitrunner proved itself on a solid 16kg kingfish and 20lb braid. The 4000D easily handles a wide range of fish sizes and so is an ideal candidate for the extra spool strategy!

Quite simply, with both a light softbait rod and a slightly heavier spinning rod to match the 4000D, you’ve most fishing options covered. Spare spools are available for most other spinning reels but some overhead reels are more complicated or it’s not possible to change them. There’s a few other reasons why spare spools are worth considering.

Bust-offs and snags.

Overhead reels may not have removable spools - this Daiwa Luna is easy to changeBroken line due to snags, being reefed by a big fish, or line failure are a reality. A spare spool is more than useful if it’s a hot bite and you want to get back in the water as quickly as possible. If you have a similar lineweight on another spool you’re away again in no time – most spools can be changed in a jiffy – particularly spinning reels.

It also means you can tie those critical braid/fluorocarbon knots carefully from the comfort of your couch rather than under pressure and in less than ideal conditions. If you’re drift-fishing softbaits and your jighead gets snagged, then it’s worth motoring back along the direction of your drift. Try to free the jighead from the opposite angle, more often than not you’ll find it works.

Light tackle.

Light tackle fishing - hooked up to a club record kingfish on 4kgFishing lighter lines and matching the lineweight to the species you’re targeting is a great challenge and can often produce better results. Thinner diameter lines tend to provide less resistance and sink faster. They are likely to work better when the fish are more fussy or easily spooked like bigger snapper.

Having a couple of spare spools of different lineweights enables you to select the best lineweight for the situation. I use a Duel Speedy 12 and have spools with lineweights from 2kg to 8kg for light tackle fishing. It’s worth considering spooling up with IGFA rated line then in the event you hook and land a record (club, national or even a world record) you’re in with a chance.

It’s a little more expensive but it also means you can set your drags accurately for the appropriate lineweight. Make sure each spool is clearly and indelibly marked with the lineweight or you have some way of knowing which is which as for instance, 3 and 4kg mono look very similar as do many weights of braid depending on the brand. (pic of milk bottles)

Reel Maintenance.

Shimano Baitrunner 4000D with spare spoolsA well maintained reel is less likely to fail when you really want the drags to be working smoothly, and everything in tip top shape.

Multiple spools for a few reels means it’s more affordable to keep them in pristine working order, rather than having stacks of reels done regularly.


Multiple spools also help when you’re heading away on that next fishing adventure. Whether it’s a local, national or overseas trip, less is certainly more when you’re travelling.

Some of the new three piece rods look like the business if you are travelling internationally. The Shimano Ian Miller special is a rod with a rapidly growing reputation for quality.

The only downside to having multiple spools is the cost and it’s fair to say $80-$100 a spool for a $300 reel is rather high.  If you are able to afford an extra spool or two, the benefits are definitely apparent and it's still cheaper than another reel. There’s no point having heaps gear sitting around that you don’t use but extra spools will give you some great options.

  An original article written for The Fishing Website - Ltd 

By Grant Blair 2011 
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

Copyright Ltd. All rights reserved.


Rate this

Average Rating (13 votes)

Fishing bite times

Major Bites

Minor Bites

Major Bites

Minor Bites

  • Fishing Reports, News & Specials
  • Leave this field empty