With modern high strength, small diameter lines, spinning and bait casting reels can hold a tremendous amount of line. I usually spool up about half capacity with an inexpensive monofilament then fill up with the better line. That gives me much more good line than my longest cast, plus plenty for retying, etc. And then there's all that line I'll never use.

In freshwater fishing, why do these reels still have so much excess capacity?

Are any manufacturers now making lower capacity reels that are not ultralights or similar?

1 Answer 1


It's not something I've ever considered before, but it's a good question. A few possible answers I guess.

  1. If there's a decent amount of depth from the lip of the spool to the line, there's less risk of bird-nesting. If you spool to the lip of the rim, it's easy for line to spool off when you don't want it to, and get caught up.
  2. It's also convenient. If you had a spool that only held 100m of line, and you lost your rig 20m out (lets assume your tip had a damaged eye, or you got stuck in a tree and had to cut the whole rig), you're left with ~80m. Do that 2 or 3 times, and you severely reduce your casting distance on further trips. You'll find yourself re-spooling more often than you might like.
  3. The manufacturer doesn't know what line you're going to use, if you put some 40lb line on there's it's going to be quite thick compared to 10lb line.
  4. If you're using the reel for carp fishing, you can easily cast 150-200yds with a heavy ledger rig attached.

Note - I don't know if it's still the case, but Diawa reels used to come with a shallow and a deep spool, so you could use the shallow spool for float fishing on a lighter mono.

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