Is Braided Line Good For Spinning Reels? (Explained)


by Robert Ceran

If you’re thinking of spooling braided line onto your spinning reel, you might be worried about the reports you’ve heard that it tends to slip on the aluminum surface of spinning reel spools.

Braid slippage is a real problem with spinning reels. When it happens, the entire spool of line starts rotating around the spool, making it impossible to retrieve line by turning the handle.

And as you can imagine, this is a real pain if you’re fighting a big fish.

So is braided line good for spinning reels? The answer is yes – if you make sure to spool your reel with a suitable backing.

Let’s dive into the details, and discuss how to do this correctly, and what the advantages of using braided line are.

Can you use braided line on a spinning reel?

Yes, you can absolutely use braided line on a spinning reel, but make sure to avoid slippage on the spool. You can achieve this by spooling a monofilament backing, or by using a tape backing on the spool arbor.

Some anglers also rely on braid ready spinning reels, and tie their line directly to the spool of these reels.

And while this does work quite well most of the time, it doesn’t prevent braid slippage completely, which is why experienced anglers prefer to use a backing.

How do you keep braided line from spinning on the reel?

The best way to keep braided line from slipping on your spinning reel is by using a monofilament backing.

Monofilament does not have any problems with slippage and sticks firmly to the aluminum surface of the spool, and thus can be tied directly to it with an arbor knot.

Another way to achieve the same result is by putting electrical tape on the spool arbor, since this provides a surface with enough grip to avoid slippage.

Finally, you can also use a braid ready spinning reel, which comes with a rough surface on the spool arbor designed to provide more grip.

Should you use backing with braided line?

Yes – using a monofilament backing is the most effective way to avoid braid slipping on your spinning reel, as mono doesn’t slip at all on the surface of the spool.

It also comes with the additional benefit that mono is considerably cheaper, which means you end up saving money by filling only the top half or your spool with expensive braid. 

Another advantage of using a mono backing is that you can keep the same backing on your reel for many years, as you’ll never actually use that part of your line.

All you need to do is respool the main line every year or two, and you’re good to go.

How much backing do you need for braided line?

You should use about 50 to 100 yards of monofilament backing on your reel, depending on reel size and line capacity. You’ll want to leave enough space to spool at least 100 yards of braid on top of the backing, filling the reel within 1/8 of an inch of the spool rim.

Tape backing for braided line

A simple way to make your spinning reel braid ready is by putting a piece of electrical tape around the spool arbor.

The electrical tape sticks tightly to the spool with its adhesive surface, while the outer surface of the tape provides enough grip to avoid line slippage.

f you choose to use this method, you can tie your braided line directly to the spool, and don’t need a backing.

The only disadvantage of this method is that the adhesive substance of the electrical tape can break down over time (though this usually takes years).

As a result the tape can lose its grip, and start rotating around the spool together with the line. When this happens, you need to exchange the old tape with a new one.

For more information on how to keep your reel functioning at its best, check out our article on spinning reel maintenance.

What is a braid ready spinning reel?

A braid ready spinning reel comes with a spool designed to prevent line slippage.

Usually this consists of horizontal grooves in the arbor of the spool, making the surface less smooth, and preventing slippage by increasing friction with the braided line.

In addition to the grooves on the surface, some reels also come with a rubber band on the spool arbor, which provides additional grip for the line.

For example, most Penn reels have this rubber band (see photo of Penn Battle II below).

While the majority of spinning reels nowadays come with a braid ready spool, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t avoid line slippage 100% (especially if you’re fighting big fish).

Because of this, many anglers prefer to use a backing even if they’re using a braid-ready spool.

How do you know when a reel is braid ready?

You can tell if a reel is braid ready by looking at the surface of the spool arbor. If there are regularly spaced grooves in the surface, that means it’s designed to prevent line slippage.

If there’s a rubber ring in addition to the grooves, that’s even better, as this provides additional grip.

Braid vs mono – which one is better for spinning reels?

While you can definitely spool monofilament as your main line on a spinning reel, braid comes with several advantages that makes it a better choice for many fishing applications:

Advantages of braid over mono

  • Braid has almost no stretch, which gives you a lot more sensitivity in order to feel what’s going on with your lure or bait in the water, making it ideal for finesse tactics with a light spinning rod setup. In addition, the lack of elasticity helps for setting the hook better, especially when you hook a fish at a distance of 15 feet or more.
  • Braid gets twisted much less, as it has no memory, and as a result doesn’t get twisted as easily as mono.
  • Braid has a smaller diameter, which allows you to spool stronger line when it’s necessary, even on a small spinning reel. 
  • Braid lasts longer than mono: it can last for years without having to be changed (unlike mono, which degrades when exposed to the UV rays of sunlight, and needs to be changed more often). 

Advantages of mono over braid

  • Monofilament is a lot cheaper, and so might be a better choice if you’re a beginner and not sure how committed you are to fishing as a hobby.
  • Mono doesn’t require using a backing on a spinning reel. You can tie it directly to the spool, which makes it a lot easier to spool.
  • Mono doesn’t require using a leader. Since monofilament has relatively low visibility in the water, you can tie it directly to your lure or rig, while a braided main line should be used with a fluorocarbon leader to avoid spooking the fish.

All in all, we recommend using monofilament for a beginner, since it’s cheaper and easier to use, while braid comes with additional advantages if you’re a more advanced angler.